I regularly visit a friend in Epping for lunch, and she tries to find somewhere different each time. On my last visit, she’d chosen Forest Bar and Kitchen, conveniently located on Epping High Street.
It was a small place, and mid-week was very quiet, so even at 1pm we had a choice of tables. We opted to sit in the window so she could see what was happening inside, whilst I could look out.
The restaurant serves Mediterranean food, with an extensive range of hot and cold mezze style dishes and grills, including seafood and vegetarian.
However, there was a lunch time special (Monday to Friday 12pm to 3pm) which offered a great value two course meal for £13.
We chose a bottle of Turkish Cankaya white wine (£19.50) and whilst we were looking at the menu, we were presented with complimentary crisp pitta squares and creamy and spicy tomato dips.
From an albeit limited range of dishes I chose taramasalata to start which was served with thin fingers of toasted pitta bread. There was a slight misunderstanding with my friend’s dish for obvious reasons: she thought she’d ordered sucuk (char grilled spicy sausage) but was served saksuka (fried aubergines and peppers in a tomato sauce). Having pointed out the misunderstanding, some restaurants might have quickly rustled up a complimentary order of the correct dish, but nothing was forthcoming. However, both were fine, and we shared.
For mains we chose chicken shish and adana kofte (minced lamb) and both opted for a mix of bulgur and rice and salad. Having asked if there was any spicy sauce, we were given a small dish of chilli flakes. Both dishes had great flavours and portion sizes were spot on.
Turkish tea was included and automatically served at just the right moment. In fact the service throughout was generally really good with the waiter unobtrusively keeping our wine topped up.
Whilst we like trying new places, when we run out of options, this is definitely one I’d return to.
As well as the good value lunch, they also have happy hour cocktails on Wednesday and Thursday from 3pm to 6pm, when two drinks are £13.