Chinahouse at the Old Courthouse

Chinahouse at the Old Courthouse

by Irene Chan

A regal structure in the landscape of Old Kuching, the Old Courthouse complex is a familiar sight for locals and tourist alike. A State Heritage Complex from the colonial era, the Old Courthouse has undergone extensive conservation work since many years ago. However, the complex has always felt under-utilised until earlier this year.

Since March 2016, the entire complex has been converted into the sister establishment of Chinahouse Penang, brain-child of Narelle McMurtrie, who is also responsible for the conception of the famed Bon Ton Resort. Chinahouse Kuching is unique for being the only establishment in Malaysia to be set up in a historical gem.

The concept is similar to the one in Penang, and Narelle’s signature of using antiques and found objects is palpable in the décor of the entire complex. There is the casual café serving light meals and over 20 different types of cakes – set atop the same wooden table as in the Penang branch, with a replica of a painting done by Ernest Zacharevic behind the cake display – and also a restaurant that offers more substantial meals.

The establishment also positions itself as a one-stop hub for various events and activities, with a focus on creative and social events. The eleven buildings of the complex house dining rooms, reading areas, event spaces, an art gallery, a dedicated area for art and retails merchandise, recital hall, and a courtyard with a water feature and lush greenery.

From live music performances by local artistes, to poetry slams, to social consciousness events, there is always something for everyone at Chinahouse Kuching. Current and upcoming events of note include an International Music Festival (18 November – 18 December), Cakar Live Studio Exhibition by 9Lives (1-15 December), and Mampu Art Market (16-18 December).

For more updates, follow Facebook and Instagram . Enquiries and reservations may be directed to +6082-417601 or

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