Zinc is the mother of all Mediterranean flavours in Sarawak and, just celebrating six years, it is still going strong. An open terrace with a double fronted bar, it is the ideal spot for a soothing glass of wine at sunset. An elegant yet quirky interior of open brickwork and enormous belian beams, it is the ideal spot for a refined dinner a deux. A private room upstairs dominated by the city’s longest dining table, it is the ideal spot for family groups and select parties for friends. Ambience aside, Zinc is a foodies’ paradise. These are people who prioritise quality and you get what you pay for. The bread is baked in house, the perfect accompaniment to lashings of olive oil and an array of sumptuous toppings: plump prawns swimming in garlic, tangy olives, fine cheeses and paper thin meat platters. Even a simple topping of tomato puree does the trick. Rabbit, snails, meaty mains, paella and plenty of pizzas round out the menu. You can even get a decent Negroni to round off your meal. All this ensures a dedicated crowd, looking for a little drop of luxury in laid-back Kuching style. So, sink straight into the Med at Zinc.
38 TABUAN ROAD
OPEN 6PM TO 12AM
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LA BOCA RIA
A new kid on the block, La Boca Ria is tapping into the trend for Mediterranean food around Kuching, arguably kickstarted by Zinc. Open for lunch instead, you can now eat the Med all day round. La Boca Ria does it beautifully. It looks beautiful: the best mix of local design with Spanish flavour as antique Asian carved wood panels and salvaged wrought iron combine with colourful posters of Iberian destinations. It tastes beautiful: a full range of imported meats with a classic potato tortilla for breakfast, a plump pork burger for lunch, moist cakes and pastries with coffee and a silky, cinnamon-scented Crema Catalan for any time of the day. It is a cosy little café for the hipster coffeeshop crowd that punches well above its weight as a full-fledged restaurant. The owner has a Spanish husband, so authenticity is high. But test the Maitre-D’, who has an uncanny ability to remember an order, no matter the months that have passed by. In the end, Spanish culture and Malaysian are pretty similar, despite the distance. Fiestas, family and laid-back fun. La Boca Ria will certainly bring a smile to your lips and your stomach.
43B TABUAN ROAD
OPEN 9AM TO 5PM
Pizza Balkanico has moved again but, with such a loyal clientele, the focus of town has moved with it. A once deserted back alley behind Bishopsgate is now thrumming with life out the back of the new Fairland Hidden bar, mostly down to the presence of this pizza. The lightest, crispiest crust laden with copious goodies and oozing with unctuous oils of fragrant green herbs: order one more than you think you will want. Once the takeaway trade gets going, you won’t get another one fast. Alex, the Balkanico owner of the name, is the Hulk, brooding and bearded. But don’t let appearances fool you. He has the lightest touch and the softest heart. He can create a pizza in mere minutes, the process down pat. Lucky for him as he can serve hundreds in an evening. The orders just keep on coming to his container, making it one of the most affordable pizzas in Kuching. Currently nothing beats this back alley for a beer and a slice or else, in times of covid, enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. There is no better than this Balkanico.
BEHIND FAIRLAND HIDDEN BAR
OPEN 4PM TO 10PM
The Junk is the mother of all outlets in Kuching. Restaurant, bar, club, live music venue, it is a warren of spaces tunneled out of four adjacent shophouses in a row of entertainment outlets where Junk was the pioneer. Its décor is a labour of love, filled with memorabilia collected over a lifetime so there is always something to look at even if you are not kept busy observing the crowd. Friday and Saturday nights are perpetually rammed to the rafters and there is something for everyone’s taste from local bands to lively DJ. Originally a restaurant, it is still a firm favourite for birthdays and special occasions or even just a mid-week slice of stone-baked pizza. Portions are enormous so prepare to share (and split the price) and then sit back and enjoy the atmosphere that is uniquely Junk.
80 WAYANG STREET
OPEN DAILY FROM 6PM EXCEPT TUESDAYS
LOCAL STREET FOOD
SNACKS & SWEETS
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