Food Friday: James Brooke Bistro & Cafe, Kuching
A double post today – I spoil you, I know. But I wasn’t organised to get my last post up before today, and I felt I had to give you a sense of Kuching’s waterfront before telling you about James Brooke bistro, a pavilion-style, open-sided restaurant which overlooks the river from the Chinese History Museum end of Jalan Bazaar.
After spending two days eating in Singapore’s – tasty, but not hugely relaxing – hawker centres, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at a ‘proper’ restaurant. In my last post, you might have got an idea of how electric Kuching’s waterfront promenade is, especially after dark. So a restaurant overlooking it – close enough to observe some of the hustle and bustle, but set back enough to feel out-of-the-way – was immediately appealing.
The restaurant’s decor itself was equally attractive. The tables are surrounded by plants and an array of what looked like traditional crafts pieces, big and small.
Although you’ll probably find more authentic recipes in some of the city’s hawker centres, James Brooke bistro offers a Malaysian menu featuring typical rice and noodle dishes – which come as generous portions. These include their ‘special’, a Wild Borneo Laksa, as well as the traditional Sarawak Laksa; I can highly recommend the latter – rich, creamy and slightly spicy, but not overpoweringly so.
(There are also more Western-style food options on offer, but these were more expensive. But as we both tried the – excellent – Malay dishes, I’m afraid I can’t offer an opinion on these.)
Although the restaurant was relatively busy, it wasn’t full. So we could eat and drink at a leisurely pace, enjoying the flavours in our food and drink and taking in the sites around us.
From memory, two main courses, a lime juice (the obsession continued…) and a beer came to about £10 – so while not cheap for Asia, it’s certainly good value for us Westerners.
If you don’t mind being a bit of a tourist (most of our fellow diners were also clearly holidaymakers. Or should that be ‘travellers’?), James Brooke bistro is the perfect place to try some Malay dishes while soaking up the magical Kuching nighttime.
PS. Wandering about the name? Find out more about James Brooke here
James Brooke Bistro & Cafe
Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuching – at the end of the waterfront promenade
Phone: 0145204007 (no website)
Booking: I’m not sure if it’s an option, but it didn’t seem to be necessary
First interior photo, Sarawak Laksa: Necessary Indulgences
Exterior shot: Emre Bennett on Flickr
Second interior shot: Asia for Visitors