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Matahari Bar and Grill-Review


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Matahari Bar and Grill-Review

Splendid Wine Snob | Jul 20, 2007 08:17 AM

I want to start by thanking the chowhounders that have recommended this place, particularly Vorpal. I had been meaning to try it for some time and had that opportunity yesterday evening.

I am by no means an expert in South East Asian cuisine, but the wonderful freshness of it's flavours have always excited me. I was quite anxious to try this place having some knowledge of the ethnic combination of Malaysian cuisine; it's Thai, Indian, Chinese and Peranakan (Nyonya) influences.

The atmosphere and decor is quite lovely and minimalist. There are large green comfortable banquets with soft, warm lighting (not "yellowed" like in so many restaurants in this city-ughh!). I felt immediately comfortable walking in. The one negative aspect was that there was no host at the door, but we led ourselves to a table where our dining companion was already seated.

We started with a juicy chicken satay and a wonderful peanut sauce, the shrimp wontons and some veggie spring rolls. The peanut sauce was perfect in texture-not too reduced, not too peanuty, with a nice kick at the end. The wontons were perfectly cooked and not overly greasy. I would have appreciated better quality shrimp (rather than the popcorn version) but the price point was appropriate for what it was. I did not try the spring rolls but my dining companion said they were lovely.

For mains, we had the Matahari grilled vegetables, the Tofu Goreng and the Sayur Lodeh. All mains were extremely fresh, the vegetables perfectly grilled, with wonderful subtle aromas and flavours. The curry sauce with the Sayur Lodeh was complex without being overbearing or too greasy. We also had some sides of rice and nicely grilled roti.

For dessert, I had the Pandan crepe, which I was not a fan of. It's not that it was bad-I did not like the texture of the sugar/coconut filling. Just my personal taste. My companion had the mango sorbet, which was amazing-rich and deliciously fresh.

The wine list was predictable, and safe, but extremely reasonably priced with no obvious rip-offs. My friend and I shared a half liter of Delheim Gewurztraminer (Stellenbosch, South Africa) which accompanied the meal perfectly.

In all, the total (before tip) was $133.

In terms of the service, as others have reported, it was generally slow. Somehow, this didn't bother me, as it was so genuine. No artifice or pretence whatsover, which is rare in this city. So, if you are in a rush, this is not the place for you.

Overall, an excellent experience, I feel that it's quite the hidden gem, perhaps no longer. I will definitely return.

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