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.