“ Address: 104 Tanners Lane / Ilford / Essex / IG6 1QE „
~~~~CAFÉ AT 104~~~~ My husband and I had walked past Café At 104 and we had parked our car outside it many times but hadn't ventured in. I don't really know why this is except perhaps we had thought of it as a café and we don't very often eat at cafés. But I have recently tried more cafés as I think some of them offer good value and extensive menus. On bonfire night last year we had parked our car near to this café as we were on our way to a local firework display in a nearby park. We had to pass the café both on the way there and when returning to our car. On the first time that we passed here it was dark and cold outside and so I couldn't help but notice how cosy it looked inside with candles flickering on small tables. I was surprised at the look of the interior (viewed from outside) as I had thought it was just a café that opened during the daytime hours. On the way back to the car when the fireworks display had finished, I drew my husband's attention to the café as we passed by. He agreed that it certainly didn't have the appearance of a café but looked more like a small and intimate restaurant. It made an impression and so we decided that we would have an evening meal here now that we realised that it existed as a restaurant and wasn't just a café. But Café At 104 was forgotten for a while until a few weeks later a flyer was posted through our letterbox. I had a read of this and saw that the menu was printed upon the leaflet with prices supplied and I thought it looked quite good and reasonably priced. Café At 104 is in fact a Turkish restaurant in the evening and a café during the day. We have now tried it as both a restaurant and a couple of times as a café when we ate breakfast here. DINNER AT 104 We first ate at the restaurant early this year. In fact it was just after New Year. I think my husband and I had gone out quite late in the day to have a look at the sales and thinking that we might eat out somewhere after a leisurely look around. By the time that we had had enough of the shopping trip (well when I had really as hubby isn't such a keen shopper) we were both feeling hungry. It was time to think of what and where to eat. We knew there would only be the two of us home for the evening and so this made it an ideal evening to stay out for a while and find somewhere to eat. Although we had had the thought of dining out in mind, as usual we were undecided on where to go until I remembered Café At 104 and suggested that we give it a try. It wasn't a busy time. You know what it's like in early January when things go slow and are quiet. Many people at this time of year have overspent at Christmas and the New Year's celebrations. Some have overeaten so tend to stay at home in the warm but we thought we would treat ourselves to a meal. RESTAURANT MENU (EVENING) The evening menu is typically a Turkish one and appealing. It seemed to me, to be typical, and good, Turkish cuisine with food freshly cooked. Examples from the main menu: Lamb Beyti Minced lamb, seasoned with garlic & herbs grilled on a skewer (£8.00) 104 Mixed Kebab:Lamb shish, lamb chops, adana kofta, chicken wings & chicken shish (£11.50) A couple of examples of specials at 104 are: Lamb Shank, slow oven cooked tender lamb on the bone served with potatoes, celery & carrot in a tomato sauce (£11.25) Chicken Guvec, small cubes of chicken breast freshly cooked in our clay pot with tomatoes sweet peppers, onions, garlic & parsley (£9.50) OUR CHOICES STARTERS We both decided to have a starter. My husband was quite undecided as there were a few starters that he was interested in trying but he chose the spicy prawns which is prawns cooked in garlic, butter and herbs (£4.95). My husband said that the prawns were spicy and he was glad that he had chosen this delicious starter. I chose charcoal grilled halloumi cheese and this was served with olives and tomatoes. I enjoyed my starter of 'squeaky' cheese. MAIN COURSES There are many main courses, most being meat options but there are also several vegetarian and fish dishes. For his main course my husband chose an Adana kofte. This is a dish consisting of mildly spiced and tender marinated minced lamb, cooked with herbs (£9.25). My husband thoroughly enjoyed this meal. He said the meat was succulent and very tasty and the sauce was rich and of a thick consistency. His meal was served with rice and salad and bread. For my main course I opted for a vegetarian kebab although I think meat eaters too would enjoy this choice. The kebab was served on a skewer and it consisted of grilled aubergine, mushroom, onions, courgettes and peppers. This was also served with salad, rice and bread. I enjoyed this kebab; it was tasty and well cooked. I appreciated being served with a vegetarian meal where I felt that thought and care had gone into its creation. We were given a basket of bread with our meal and were told to just ask if we wanted more. My husband had a small bottle of Corona lager and I had a glass of house red wine. VEGETARIAN I was pleased that there were several vegetarian options on the restaurant menu and I thought that these were appealing. I enjoyed my choice of the vegetarian kebab and if I hadn't chosen this I would probably have gone for the vegetarian moussaka which consists of layers of aubergine, courgettes & potatoes topped with cheese sauce (£7.50). Other choices suitable for vegetarians were falafel (chickpeas with dried broad beans flavoured with coriander, garlic, onions served with hummus) and aubergine stuffed with onions, tomato & green peppers served in a special sauce . The four main veggie options are priced at £7.50. There are also wraps and salads suitable for vegetarians. AMBIENCE The atmosphere within Café At 104 is very different when experienced as a restaurant as opposed to a café. When in café mode it is often bustling with a very wide choice of meals being on offer, whereas in the evening things are far more relaxed and cosy, although informal. Tables are covered in linen tablecloths with cutlery laid out. Naturally it's smarter too. In the evening I would best describe the restaurant as intimate and relaxed. When we ate here it was a quiet time being only a few days into the New Year. When we entered the restaurant there were only a few tables already taken and so there were many tables still free. As the evening wore on more diners appeared but it wasn't bustling. As this restaurant isn't huge it felt cosy inside. The tables (various sizes) were dressed and candles were upon them. As this was the Christmas season festive decorations were to be seen. Popular music played quietly in the background. The menu for the evening isn't as extensive as the café menu but it is still, in my opinion, a good one. There is limited outside dining at the front of the restaurant for al-fresco dining. SERVICE WE found the service to be friendly and good with the manager well able and willing to explain and recommend menu options. I would say service leaned to the informal side which felt right for this establishment. But I felt that good service was a high priority for the management here. VALUE We both felt that we received good value for money at Café at 104. I would definitely say that we both received nicely cooked, tasty and well-presented meals in this restaurant. The atmosphere was pleasant and we both felt that our meals were worth the price paid. The bill came to £34.70 which we thought was a reasonable price for an enjoyable meal. BREAKFAST AT 104 (CAFÉ MENU-DAYTIME) I have eaten breakfast here a couple of times now and have been happy with the service, food and the value. The last time that I ate breakfast at Café At 104 I opted for a vegetarian breakfast which really was a 'normal' breakfast without meat but had egg, some extra portions and a hash brown. My other half chose a fried English breakfast and he enjoyed this. Breakfasts come with a drink such as tea or coffee and we both chose to have a mug of tea. The menu for daytime meals is very good, I think, with choices ranging from omelettes, burgers, salads, wraps, jacket potatoes with various fillings and much more. And all day breakfast! ACCESSIBILITY I would advise before visiting Café At 104 to enquire with the management on accessibility issues. The restaurant/café is on ground level and no stairs need to be climbed. However, it isn't the most spacious restaurant in terms of space between tables. I would think that there are good and bad times to visit in terms of access. I am not sure how quite how accessible the toilet is for wheelchair users and so would suggest again gaining valuable information from the management before a possible visit. TAKE AWAY Café At 104 offers a take away service and free delivery is available on orders of over £10.00. Delivery is not available for orders costing less than £10.00. OVERALL My husband and I both enjoyed our meal in this restaurant and our breakfast in the café. I think for anyone liking or wanting to sample Turkish cuisine then it is recommendable. OPENING HOURS Monday 07:00 AM -- 11:00 PM Tuesday 07:00 AM -- 11:00 PM Wednesday 07:00 AM -- 11:00 PM Thursday 07:00 AM -- 11:00 PM Friday 07:00 AM -- 11:00 PM Saturday 07:00 AM -- 11:00 PM Sunday 09:00 AM -- 11:00 PM (RESTAURANT 05:00 PM--11:00 PM) LOCATION Café At 104 is situated close to Barkingside High Street in Essex. There are a few parking spaces directly outside but these are in high demand during the daytime. A Sainsbury's store and car park is just a few paces away. Barkingside underground station is close by and the area is well served by buses. ADDRESS: 104 Tanners Lane, Barkingside, Essex IG6 1QE FURTHER DETAILS Café At 104 even when in its restaurant mode suggests casual dress for casual dining.