Optimistically Cautious

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pan-Asian Goodness: Matahari

High Street is home to many untapped culinary adventures, at least for me. So I took a step in the right direction when May and I dined in Matahari (10108B - 124 Street) this evening.

Being early on a Tuesday, we were surprised that there were three tables of patrons already seated when we entered the restaurant. The decor is simple and soothing, with light green walls and a functioning koi pond in the centre of the dining room. Oddly-designed square booths line the main seating area, that would hypothetically fit six persons, but for ease of exit and entry could likely only comfortably fit four.

Spouting a "pan-Asian" menu, I expected watered-down cuisine heavily influenced by the Western majority, but I was pleasantly surprised. There were a few dishes (Singapore Laksa and Malaysian Rendang, to name a few) that I'd want my Mum to sample to determine the level of authenticity. Despite the many tempting options, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have their tofu Pad Thai (stir fried flat rice noodles with chives, egg, pickled radish, and bean sprouts in a tangy tamarind sauce topped with ground peanuts). May selected the Kerala Noodles (Indian stir fried vermicelli with peas, onion, egg, curry leaves, carrots, red bell pepper, in a tomato and soy-based sauce topped with cashew nuts and coriander). I also ordered a plate of Thai Curry Puffs to start.

The food took a little longer than I would have liked (not having eaten anything since lunch), so I was more than hungry by the time our appetizer reached us. But they were worth it - the puff pastry was flaky, filled with spiced beef with just the right amount of heat. The oyster sauce for dipping was a sweet accompaniment to the dish. The serving, however, was on the small side for the $4.95 price tag.

Our entrees arrived soon after, and I found the portions to be quite generous (I had enough left over for a good sized lunch the next day)! I had asked for mild seasoning, and it was exactly that. The chives and radish provided a nice crunch, while the tofu rounded out the dish quite nicely. I would consider Bua Thai's version slightly better, but Matahari's is less greasy and lighter overall.

I'd recommend Matahari, and will be back myself, perhaps once I've visited their neighbours.

Extensive menu

Thai Curry Puffs

Pad Thai

Kerala Noodles

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