As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. But when in Kuching, where can you eat pizza like the Romans do? Restaurants offering so-called Western fare have been around for ages, but pizza is the latest trend doing the rounds, despite the Asians’ uncertain relationship with cheese.
Pricey it may be, but it seems to be the pick of the day. So whether you like the tropical Hawaiian or the more traditionally orang puteh pizzas, where can you go for your evening slice?
Beccari’s – Jalan Tun Haji Openg
|Beccari’s is perhaps the Nonno (that’s Italian for grandfather!) of the Italian restaurants in Kuching. Situated in the Merdeka Palace hotel with a mock-palazzo feel of frescoes and pseudo-stucco, the décor is Malaysian Mediterranean. But the food is true high-end Italian. You can choose from an array of Italian flavours from pastas to salads to meaty mains but the pizza is the most often talked about. At one stage, they flew in a chef from Italy to teach techniques. Have the standards fallen? There’s always talk; but it is still pretty tasty! But mamma mia, just wait for the bill!|
Tom’s Pizza, Coffee Talk – Jalan Song
|From high end to hawker, pizza is certainly getting around. The older brother to the younger son in Green Heights, this pizza stall is a big draw in this already popular kopitiam – evidence the five staff and the stream of takeaway boxes leaving the premises. There are some unusual flavours on offer, from Christmas(!) to Wild Mushroom, each given a bit of added oomph by the addition of a sprinkling of parmesan. While it may seem pretty odd eating a pizza in a coffeeshop setting, it makes it a uniquely Kuching experience and it means that everyone can order something different. If so, get ready to fight off the others because this pizza is really too tasty to share. But don’t worry, you can always have a secret midnight snack at home because Tom’s delivers!|
Osome – Jalan Datuk Tawi Sli
|Wood-fired pizza; that’s what it says on the slightly cryptic and slightly intriguing sign (Osome? Awesome? Oh, so me?) – necessary to draw in the customers into this somewhat out of the way location in the shadow of Ciak Pa Boi. Inside, there is a slightly cryptic Japanese feel to the décor which is big on reclaimed wood, but the big dome of the eponymous oven dominates. The menu is substantial and quirkily shaped like a pizza, or perhaps it’s the silhouette of the oven itself. Regulars rave about the desserts, especially the panna cotta in a pot. But oh my, that’s some pizza!|
Zinc – Jalan Tabuan
|Newly opened, Zinc is decidedly swish. Exposed brick walls instead of an exposed brick oven, and gigantic belian beams, the concept is Mediterranean bistro in a traditional Chinese shophouse. Definitely not for the halal of heart, Zinc has a passion for pork and really some of the best babi in the business – we are talking whole legs of Jamon Serrano straight from Spain suspended from the ceiling. You can wash these down with some unusual cocktails, even some made with tuak. The pizza here is bite-sized but supremely satisfying – the crispiest base amongst all the crispy bases on offer. And the profiteroles ain’t half bad either- enjoy them on the terrazzo in traditional Italian style. Side order of snails anyone?|
Big Oven – Jalan Keretapi
|Once again, it’s all in the name. The oven is big and brick in an open plan kitchen where you can see the chefs going about their business. The rest of the décor is so pared down as to be almost non-existent but Big Oven actually does Western food well with a range of dishes beyond the ubiquitous chicken chop range. The salads are stand-outs in the Kuching market, but the pizza is the real draw. Served on wooden chopping boards, also ubiquitous in the pizza presentation game, there is a wide-range of flavours on a crispy, brick-oven, thin-crust base, including a decidedly dairy, Quattro Formaggi! So, for your big night out, consider the Big Oven.|
Junk – Jalan Wayang
|Junk deserves a mention despite having been mentioned in these pages before. A pizza pioneer on the Kuching scene, Junk has been offering late night slices to the backstage regulars for quite some time. Rightly so as their pizza is, frankly, delicious. Thin-crust with plenty of topping, eaten in the wonderful ambience that is Junk – there is a reason that this place has stood the test of time in the fickle Kuching market.|
Bella Italia – Jalan Lapangan Terbang
|The name might be beautiful Italy but the owners are Bosnia’s best. According to Kuching gossip, they were reputedly given a home here at the height of the Yugoslavian conflict by the late Laila Taib, and some of the families have stayed and made it their home though, when it comes to food, they hark back to their former home (or that of their former neighbours at least). The location is decidedly uninspiring, tucked at the back of RH plaza, and the décor a bit bygone bistro rather than bella Italia, but the food is still worth the trip. Other Italian favourites are on offer here, with the pastas probably just pipping pizzas at the taste post, but they are worth a try nonetheless. Bella Bosnia!|