Bunga Raya, CR7 6AW
Bunga Raya was a Malaysian restaurant and bar in Thornton Heath. It has now closed. As of January 2018, there's a sign up photo saying that a tapas bar and restaurant called Taperia will be opening there soon.
The information below is retained for historical purposes.
Note: We're not sure if this is still open. As of September 2017 we haven't seen it open for a while, and the phone number seems to have been disconnected.
Entry is into a bar area (it's fine to come in just for a drink), leading on to a larger restaurant area at the back. The restaurant decor is fairly casual photo. Chinese lanterns with Tiger beer branding hang from the ceiling, though the actual lighting is provided by recessed spotlights.
Kake has tried their food twice now, both as a takeaway delivery and as eat-in.
A takeaway delivery in June 2014 arrived quickly and the driver was friendly. Popiah (vegetable spring rolls; £3.20 for six) were crisp and greaseless, and came on a bed of crispy fried noodles which again had no excess greasiness. Kari ayam (chicken and potato curry; £5) was rich without being cloying. The chicken was on the bone and had plenty of flavour, and the potatoes had soaked up all the flavours very well.
Nasi lemak (coconut rice with roasted anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, boiled egg, and sambal; £6) was pretty good too. The rice was very slightly too al dente for my taste, but it had a good coconut flavour. The roasted anchovies were beautifully crisp, and the peanuts were large and nicely roasted. The sambal wasn't particularly spicy, but had a good savoury flavour. The boiled egg was done well, too, with no nasty dark ring around the yolk.
An in-person visit on a Sunday evening in February 2015 (in the company of bob) also went well. We'd hoped to get the buffet, but it turned out to be lunchtime-only on Sundays. Instead, we were offered (and accepted) the option of a £13.50/head "set meal" in which we could order as much as we wanted from the menu with the exception of crab dishes.
We started with prawn and lamb satay photo. The prawns were underdone to bob's taste, but Kake thought they were fine. The lamb was very tender, to the point where we initially mistook it for having been minced. The peanut sauce was a little too sweet for Kake, and bob would have preferred more seasoning. Overall, though, it was pretty good. Murtabak (minced beef stuffed inside a roti) photo was too rich for Kake's taste, though bob enjoyed it.
Kari kambing (mutton and potato curry) photo was very good, with plenty of flavour; the lamb was nicely tender and the potatoes had a great texture (though bob was less keen on the potatoes than Kake). Aubergine with dried shrimp paste photo wasn't bad; the sauce had a lovely flavour but didn't seem to have penetrated into the aubergine itself, which was subsequently a little bland.
Arriving a little before 6pm on this Sunday evening, we were the only diners until around 7pm, when a few more turned up, but there were several people in the bar throughout our visit. Music was playing, not too loud. Service was good; friendly and informative without being pushy.
Kake's verdict: I'll definitely order takeaway from here again, and I plan to try and catch their buffet at some point too.
Accessibility: Step-free to get in, and step-free to the toilets, though the corridor to the toilets is a little narrow.