Sunday, 5 June 2016


Turkish Delight

Chicken & Garlic Köfte and Braised Octopus, Ricotta pides

When you think of Turkish cuisine, all too often you would just think of kebabs eaten at the end of a drunken night out. Launched in 2015, Oklava is a small Turkish restaurant in Shoreditch that aims to take the reputation of Turkish cuisine to a higher level. I was keen to understand what that would mean as the cuisine is known for its robust and powerful flavours, so it was going to be interesting to see how it would delivered in a more elegant and dedicated manner. 
The dishes are meze sizes so it is best to order two to three dishes per person to share, you can almost treat it like tapas. 

Chilli-Garlic Chicken, Za’atar Crumb & Lime Mayo
Lamb Chops, Date Molasses & Urfa Chilli Mayo

The crispy pomegranate glazed lamb breast is a must-try dish for any serious lamb lovers, the meat was as moist as you can get and it had a lovely contrast from the coolness of the yoghurt. The chilli garlic chicken is a contender for chicken dish of the year, the hot and nutty rub of Za’atar crumb added an interesting texture, as well as plenty of aromatic tastes to the tender chicken. The lamb chops was another solid plate of cooking, it had a rich and powerful flavours from the date molasses as a perfect seasoning. 
 Pomegranate Glazed Lamb Breast & Yoghurt
Seftali Kebab, Red Onion Salad & Lemon
Baked Lamb Fat Potatoes, Hellim, Fried Duck Egg & Sherry Vinegar Caramel

The chicken and garlic köfte flatbread was one of the best dishes of the night; the smoked salsa worked exceptionally well with the roasted chilli yoghurt: smoky, rich, nutty, spicy…The dish held so many bold and powerful flavours, but somehow they all blended in so well together. Less impressive was the braised octopus flatbread; the ricotta clashed strongly against the green olives and pickled caper shoots, which left the octopus as an isolated element of the dish. The standard of the desserts at Oklava was also high; the spiced rice pudding is far less creamy than others l have tried with just a hint of sweetness. The tropical combination of rum jelly, pineapple and lime offered sharpness and sourness to offset the thickness of the rice pudding.

Chocolate, Prune & Cardamom Delice
Trileçe Cake with filo Ice Cream Sandwich
Spiced Rice Pudding Brûlée

All in all, it was a very impressive menu. In fact I did not expect the dinner would be of such a high quality. There was not one bad dish and even the wine (a Turkish wine) was spectacular and matched well with our selection of dishes. Oklava offered us a Turkish cooking like we have never experienced before and took it to the next level, both in terms of taste and refinement. However it does comes at a cost as the dishes are generally tiny and priced around the tenner mark. One issue I did had with Oklava is that it required my credit card for my booking; I am happy to do that for a fine dining restaurant, but it was rather odd for such a casual and informal restaurant, not to mention our table had a two hours turnaround time. Having say that, there aren't any other restaurants in London doing anywhere similar to Oklava right now and it’s well worth a visit if you want to experience Turkish cuisine at a more sophisticated level.

Food 4/5

What I paid: 

£35 per head with 1 glass of wine

Average cost without drinks and services:


74 Luke St, London EC2A 4PY

Oklava Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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