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74 Luke Street
Lauded as a “great modern take on Turkish food”, cosy Oklava takes its culinary inspiration from chef Selin Kiazim’s native roots. Sophisticated small plates are the order of the day, from complementary bread with Medjool date butter or nibbles of chilli-roast cauliflower studded with “jewels of pistachio” to meaty braised octopus with ricotta, green olives, honey and “tangy” pickled caper shoots or well-seasoned char-grilled chicken with Kayseri pastirma dressing and thyme. We also rate the herb-flecked lahmacun (Turkish ‘pizza’) and the crispy pomegranate-glazed lamb breast with yoghurt, although desserts such as a rather unimaginative peach and vanilla borek with hot white chocolate and poached peach can let the side down. Prices are affordable, friendly staff are happy to guide novices through the menu, and the well-curated wine list features some “very interesting” Turkish tipples. Also check out innovative cocktails such as Smoky Mangal (Cypriot brandy, charcoal syrup, lemon and bitters).
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
Best Middle Eastern
74 Luke Street
Liverpool Street Station 327m
Old Street Station 427m
Liverpool Street 698m
The Brewery 782m
Tues-Sat 12N-3pm (Sat 11am-4pm) 5.30-10.30pm Sun 11am-4pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
The easiest way to start is to say that this is the best Turkish meal I've ever eaten the flavours of each course were amazing. This little restaurant set in the streets of shoreditch was a real delight with a fantastic menu created by chef Selin Kiazim. When we looked at the menu believe me we just wanted to try everything but in the end we went with the recommendations of our excellent & friendly waitress and so glad we did as they were fantastic choices. They also have a great selection of wine and most also seem to be by the glass aswell plus a great Izmir Beer . The restaurant has an opened kitchen so you can smell the amazing flavours before they reach the table. Well I suppose I better get to the food which started with a delicious Baharat Spiced Bread & Date Butter before the amazing Pastirma Sausage & Grilled Hellim this was followed by the most stunning Flatbread which included Octopus , Ricotta & Caper Leaves then a fantastic Aubergine dish. Then came the mains of Crispy Pomegranate Glazed Lamb & Seftali Kebab just food heaven . But do leave room for dessert as you don't want to miss out on those one was a Kinefe a Crispy Kadayif & Cheese Pastry & the other a stunning Chocolate! Prune & Cardamom Delice matched with a delightful Turkish dessert wine. I definitely can't wait to return and I would highly recommend a visit as the food , service and general friendliness of the place makes it a real pleasure.
Food + drink: 4
We started on the complimentary bread and medjool date butter which was delicious. These are also available in Selfridges.
chilli roast cauliflower, red onion, parsley & pistachio £7.00 – wow, if cauliflower was served like this each time, I would eat it all day long. It was such a picture with a strong toasted red with jewels of pistachio scattered around and crowned off with shavings of red onion. Just for a moment I had a crazy vivid childish imagination of these cauliflowers coming to life, growing legs and started invading the restaurant. Madness! But, back to reality it had such a nice nutty combination from both the roasted cauliflower and pistachio. A gentle kick of chilli at the end, it was proper comfort food.
braised octopus, ricotta, green olives, honey, pickled caper shoots and thyme £14.00 – individually the ingredients were brilliant – meaty octopus (not chewy), tangy pickled caper shoots and thyme, sweet honey, crispy thin bread – and they all came together in a mouthful of flavours. Served up with fresh salad, I enjoyed it very much. The ricotta, I carefully avoided.
charcoal grilled prawns, fennel seed, chilli and garlic £12.00 – nice big prawns but I did think that for four of them it was a little dear.
crispy pomegranate glazed lamb breast and yoghurt £9.50 – this dish was the star. Crispy on the outside but succulent and moist with a subtle lamb flavour, flavoured with the pomegranate glaze which was slightly sweet and bitter. There were only four small cubes of the lamb and I took my own time to savour this dish very slowly, hoping to prolong the taste.
The presentation and style of the food were very sophisticated and portions of food were on the small side. We were advised to order a starter each and two more dishes per person for a proper meal. The dishes were served as and when it was ready so the distinction of starter and main dishes makes one wonder what was that all about. It could have been explained in much simpler words, three dishes per person.
What I did not mention earlier here was that Oklava serves very interesting Turkish wines. I had the opportunity to taste them at a wine event before and was impressed by these New World wines. My favourite was the Turkish sparkling wine at £60.00 bottle. I was tempted.
I just wondered if there was any restaurant that I had returned for a second meal in the last 12 months. Not to my godawful memory, but I certainly and must make it back to Oklava again.
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