Oklava

Turkish·
££££
·
Silver Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Oklava

Silver Award

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).

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Turkish
Ambience
Cosy, Lively
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Counter dining, Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Dates, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Oklava

A joint venture between Laura Christie and Selin Kiazim, Turkish-Cypriot restaurant Oklava has been a success since the second it opened. Perhaps it’s something to do with the menu of gutsy Ottoman-style dishes coupled with warm and welcoming service. The duo is certainly not short on talent anyway. Selin runs the kitchen and designs the menus, while Laura heads up front of house and the ever-expanding wine list.

Formerly a Great British Menu winner, Selin knows how to create impactful plates of food that people really want to eat and - crucially – share with those they love. There’s a choice between a full tasting menu and an a la carte, depending on preference. The tasting menu comes in at a reasonable £52 per head, with a wine pairing setting you back a further £35. For the quality of the food and drink on offer, dining for well under £100 here represents fantastic value for money. There’s no service either as the pair are passionate about paying their staff enough to eliminate the need for tips.

Popular plates from the tasting menu include grilled hellim with honey, oregano and lemon; tarama with crispy potato and pickled turnips; and a Seftali kebab with lavash and lemon. Much of the menu is cooked over the grill to get that earthy, chargrilled flavour so intrinsically associated with Turkish cuisine. Desserts might include Künefe (a sweet spun pastry dish) loaded up with clotted cream and pistachios.

The drinks list includes fragrant cocktails and interesting sparkling wines. Bottles of the latter range between £50-85 while whites, pinks and reds can come in carafes so start at a very reasonable £24.

The best seats in the house are at the counter, where you can watch the chefs work their magic. Elsewhere – in the bright, pared back space – there is a collection of classic tables and chairs more suited to larger groups.


FAQs

Who is the head chef at Oklava?

Selin Kiazim is the chef proprietor at Oklava in London

Helpful? 0

Can you book Oklava?

Yes, Oklava takes bookings online.

Helpful? 0

Are there vegetarian options at Oklava?

Yes, there are always some plant-based dishes but we'd advise noting your dietary requirements at the time of booking to ensure there's enough choice on your visit.

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Location

74 Luke Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4PY

020 7729 3032

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 12:00-15:00
Thu 12:00-15:00
Fri 12:00-15:00
Sat 12:00-15:00
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 17:30-22:00
Wed 17:30-22:00
Thu 17:30-22:00
Fri 17:30-22:00
Sat 17:30-22:00
Sun Closed

Reviews

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8 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Anon

26 July 2019  
Amazing food in a very relaxed setting. No pretense, all focus on the food and good service.

Lloyd S

30 January 2019  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4.5
A Real Turkish Treat

This was our third visit to Oklava yet unbelievably we didn't realise it had been over a year since the last time. Anyway we were so glad to be back as once again we enjoyed a fabulous dining experience. It's such a fantastic little restaurant serving the very best Modern Turkish cuisine. The restaurant itself is set in the hip and trendy Shoreditch area where there are now many great places to eat and with the fact that the area is only a five minute walk from Liverpool Street station is a big plus. As I said this was yet another fantastic visit which starts as soon as you arrive as the aromas from the open kitchen hits you straight away. The other reason is that the staff are so friendly giving the restaurant a lovely cosy and relaxed atmosphere. Once seated we looked around and noticed there seemed to be a bit more space between the tables especially along the wall. The menu was as we remembered from our last visit with the added extra of now having a Tasting Menu giving you the opportunity to sample more of their great dishes. On this occasion we decided to choose our own dishes as there was a lot of new ones to try. We started with some amazing Baharat Spiced Bread & Medjool Date Butter which was absolute heaven. This was followed by a big favourite the Grilled Hellim , Lemon , Honey & Oregano. We then enjoyed the fabulous Grilled Cypriot Pastirma on Toast something which I could eat all day Our next dish was definitely the highlight a truly amazing Chilli Roast Cauliflower , Red Onion , Parsley & Pistachios this dish was so flavoursome. This was followed by a delicious Black Sea Cheese Pide , Soft Egg , Caramelised Onion & Za'atar Butter where you have to split the egg and spread the yolk over the bread. This was accompanied by a delightful salad It was now time for two more amazing dishes before desserts. The first being a Duck & Cherry Filo Pie with Sour Shallots & Pistachios this dish was a real treat. Then to finish our savoury courses was a stunning Bavette Steak , Cured Beef Fat & Smoked Ezme. We then needed a nice rest before moving on to desserts and what was nice was that the waitress said that's fine and just let them know when we were ready. They offered a choice of three desserts one being the Kinefe which we have had on our previous visits so on this occasion we decided to try the other two. The first being a delightful Bay Ice Cream with Chestnuts and the other was a heavenly Warm Rice Pudding with Wild Pear Ice Cream & Sorbet , Hazelnut & Caramelised White Chocolate Crumble We finished with a nice pot of Turkish Tea to round of yet another fabulous lunch at Oklava. Although there are many restaurants in the area I would have to say a visit to this restaurant is a must. With amazing food created by the extremely talented chef Selin Kiazim and the friendly service you will be disappointed if you miss out. So yes I would highly recommend and I for one will certainly be looking forward to returning soon.

Lloyd S

02 July 2017  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Amazing Turkish Restaurant
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.

Anon

09 May 2017  
Fantastic service, food is incredible and the atmosphere is warm and friendly yet still elegant!

Rose H

07 May 2017  
Vibrant flavours presented with a truly unique lightness of touch, great space and design, brilliant service and atmosphere.

Stefanie O

04 May 2017  
Not a single thing to fault at this restaurant, except that I want to eat everything on the menu which is a problem for my stomach. Great flavours, consistently good food, very interesting wine selection, and lovely service. Sitting at the counter area is great if you're just two, so you can watch Shoreditch go by or, if you're lucky to have good seats, watch the restaurant's kitchen workings. The cosy space and buzzy ambiance occasionally make the restaurant a tad loud, but it's worth it.

Roberto B

02 June 2016  
Great modern take on Turkish food and fantastic ambience, definitely the best new opening of the past year!

Vi Vian

21 February 2016  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 3
A proper Turkish feast
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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