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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

40 B4 40-Matahari

No. 25: Matahari, Guildford

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My wife had a ‘girlie weekend’ in Milford on Sea last week, and apparently the three girls thought it was great fun doing nails, playing with hair and watching films. They even managed to squeeze in fish & chips from Mr Pink’s on Friday, Saturday lunch at La Perle, and Sunday lunch at The Marine.

I and the dogs, had in the meantime been banished to our place in Guildford, under instructions to 'behave like a grown up', and to eat a list of lovingly pre-prepared food.
Naturally, all of my wife’s instructions were forgotten as soon as she left, as I ordered a curry that lasted two days, left all the lights on, kept the toilet seat up and didn't put anything in the dishwasher.  On returning from seeing the new James Bond film with Matthew, my son, I proceeded to spend the Saturday evening running around in my pants, and jumping on the settee as I chased the dogs pretending they were the baddies.
When the girls returned from Milford, our mate also cadged a lift for a flying visit. For the purpose of this story, and anonymity from village friends of his pregnant wife, he will be known as ‘X’.
When they arrived early Sunday evening we had a couple of civilised beers whilst deciding where to eat for the evening. Having ‘X’ as our guest, the Matahari, our favourite Guildford restaurant was quickly decided upon. The Matahari's 'Fusion-Cuisine' is both unique and distinctive, with an emphasis on Malaysian cookery, beautifully blended with Thai, Chinese, Japanese sushi, and other exotic arrays of delicacies with South-East Asian influence.
Before going to eat, the three of us had another swift beer in Pews Bar, one the last remaining original public houses of Guildford. The old building has great bulging 17c walls, a narrow undulating staircase for the brave wanting to visit the toilet, and a cobbled alleyway leading to one of the many hidden courtyards in the town.
We were soon across the road in Matahari. Set in one of Guildford’s oldest buildings the two floor restaurant is quirky, with low beams, wavy wooden floors, and great charm. Our friendly waiter greeted me by name, which made my wife rightly suspicious that I visited even more times than she knew.
It did not take long to make our choices, and we were soon tucking into the Platter of Mixed Starters, accompanied with the first of a few bottles of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais. We had avoided the Japanese options, as cold fish and rice really isn’t what I consider a pleasure. The Onion Baby Ribs were simply outstanding, The Salt & Pepper Squid, and Chicken Satay mouthwatering, all enjoyed with Mini Vegetable 'Popiah' which added a bit of crunch and spice with the chilli dip.
As we gabbled on about seaside village life our banquet of main course arrived. Mongolian Chicken, tender chicken cooked in a very tasty & creamy slightly spicy black pepper peanut buttery sauce, Sizzling Vietnamese Sesame Pork, served sizzling hot, with a tantalizing Vietnamese sauce, topped with a dash of cream, Chef’s Special Claypot Coriander Beef Curry, tender beef slices marinated with spices & wrapped in lotus leave, served in a simmering claypot of creamy coconut & coriander flavoured curry, Fried Rice with Egg, and Spicy Vegetarian Rice Noodles, spicy rice noodles fried with beansprouts, Chinese leaves, pepper strips, mushrooms baby corns, eggs & onions, garnished with crispy shallots.
As we smiled and ate, ‘X’ overheard the next table talking about ‘vajazzle’s’.  Innocently he asked what they were, and quick as flash, my embarrassed wife changed the conversation. When ‘X’ asked the waiters they were niether able to understand or help him.
My wife had been in a playful mood all evening and was by now engaged in a text conversation on her mobile phone. Soon this became very surreal, as the mobile conversation became five way. We were communicating ridiculous one liners with an old friend, Dave, who was in The King’s Head having a friendly drink with Nikki, who had just returned from Milford with my wife. Dave had obviously enjoyed most of his day in the pub, having been left to fend for himself with his girlfriend in Turkey on business.
For sweet we ordered ‘Goreng Pisang’, deep-fried banana balls in batter, trickled with honey syrup, served with ice-cream. As she was not eating this, my wife was busy describing our pudding to Dave by text.   He in turn wanted some, and a rendezvous was agreed at The White House by the river Wey.   Sensibly, Nikki poured Dave in a taxi and went home.
At The White House, ‘X’ was still on a quest to find the meaning of his new word, which I have to say is not the best way to introduce yourself to the barman.  We were doing our best to ignore him.
Dave now with us, was devestated that the promised ‘Goreng Pisang’ was nowhere to be seen, it had been eaten by us instead.  In no time Dave was busy recalling his day's events, and 'X' was still slightly bemused and dazzled by the bright lights of the town.  The conversation turned to even more drivel as our table worked our way through a weird selection of mulled wine, Bailey’s and Guinness. 
In the cab home my wife for some inexplicable reason thought it was fun to pinch Dave’s bingo wings constantly, he of course screamed like a girl and shoot up his path when thankfully released from the dangerous& painful confines of the taxi.
Once back, the home bar was open, and a rather pleasant Janneau VSOP brandy was enjoyed with coffee before putting another fun night to bed.
Footnote: Breakfast next morning was enjoyed at Cote Bistro, Guildford. Amazingly, for a chain they offered a fabulous choice and the quality was unexpectedly high. So high in fact, it had to be one of the best Full English’s I can recall for quite a time. The daytime & evening menus are also full of a wide variety of French classics at pretty good prices. As they have many restaurants around the country, could be one worth trying out.

If you are wondering what the 40 B4 40 Dining Challenge is all about, please click here and all will be explained.


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