It’s interesting when you go to a new restaurant that has taken the place of a very well known one – and that’s what’s happened here. 108 Golborne Road was at one point 108 Garage, a neighbourhood favourite, so The Counter had big shoes to fill. Luckily though, although different to 108 Garage, the neighbourhood spirit is still here, and this restaurant is starting to make its own mark.
Warm woods, wicker and vintage leather (vibes) create a warm dining room, with the focal point being the open kitchen with charcoal-fired mangal oven, and wraparound counter. Start at the Golborne Deli and Wine Store next door for a curbside drink, and head here for dinner. This is a great road to have a bit of a neighbourhood crawl.
The Food and Drink
The chef here, Kemal Demirasal, is a celebrated chef in Turkey; his restaurant Alancha, now closed, was listed as one of the best restaurants in the Middle East by the World’s Best Discovery Series. The Counter, an ‘ocakbasi’ restaurant, which means ‘fireside’ or ‘stand by the grill’, brings south eastern Turkish cuisine, with carefully sourced ingredients, to the laidback dining room environment he’s created. Creative combinations, like babaganoush with chocolate dukkah, dill oil and rose, and head cheese with tongue, brain, parsley, tomato and mint, instantly make this menu stand out. Memorable dishes include well-executed sides like shoestring fries with tomato sauce and yogurt, hummus with dates and grilled pine nuts, and they have a large selection of grilled meats/ kebabs.
They have an extensive selection of wines from Turkey (and quite a few from Greece) and use a variety of different, flavourful oils – paprika, dill, tarragon, truffle.