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Matahari, Hither Green
THE Matahari Restaurant next to Hither Green station really is a hidden gem.
We decided to ignore the lengthy list of Chinese dishes to try out the feast of traditional Malaysian cuisine on offer - all at extremely good prices.
But cheap food is one thing, quality another.
The Matahari has both.
We went for Rendang Lembu (Beef) at £5, Sambal Udang (Prawn) at £5.50, mixed meat with beancurd in clay pot (beancurd, vegetables, chicken, beef, lamb and roast pork) at £6, accompanied with some addictively tasty coconut rice at £3.50.
Apparently the magic behind the recipes originates from the owner's grandmother, ensuring a comprehensive menu of authentic dishes.
The rendang dishes come in a thick but mild Malaysian curry sauce packed with nutty coconut flavour, while the slow-cooked beef was so tender it easily fell apart.
Not too dissimilar was the sambal selection, distinguished by a flavourful kick of chilli.
There was a generous helping of prawns, both tender and sweet but with perhaps too much oil.
Any order would be incomplete without sampling one of the clay pot dishes, which are cooked in fresh ginger and wine.
The mixed meat came with a variety of tasty vegetables and some substantial pieces of tofu that could have been mistaken for meat.
Customer service could not be faulted.
My food was ready within 20 minutes of ringing in my order.
The man in the restaurant was one of the friendliest I have come across at a takeaway, and even addressed me by my first name.
They say Malaysia is truly Asia, but Hither Green is the place to go for some truly tasty Malaysian cuisine.
FOOD ***** The coconut was divine, each dishes was brimming in flavour.
SERVICE ***** Top notch, friendly, courtesy and eager to engage in conversation.
INTERIOR/DECOR *** Clean, tidy and with traditional Malaysian decor. A section for eating in too.
THE MATAHARI RESTAURANT
75 SPRINGBANK ROAD
TEL 020 8695 8823