OKLAVA: WHAT IS IT?
Oklava opened with great fanfare in 2015, and justly so: chef patron Selin Kiazim was snapped up by fusion maestro Peter Gordon immediately after graduating from college. She spent her formative years with him at The Providores, though this is the first time she’s in charge of her own restaurant.
The food is inspired by Kiazim’s Turkish-Cypriot heritage. That said, there are fusion influences from her time with Gordon, and the Mediterranean-style venue itself is gorgeous.
OKLAVA: WHAT TO ORDER?
The signature dish is succulent hunks of lamb breast glazed with pomegranate molasses. But we’re going to go against the grain and vouch for the marinated octopus and ricotta pide (a freshly baked boat-shaped bread) with pickled caper shoots, olives and honey as the dish you’ve just go to try.
This is Turkish restaurant so you’d be mad not to try a kebab, but the veggie-forward sides are absolutely banging. Case in point is the sour cherry barley topped with curls of crispy kale, if you’re lucky enough to see it on the menu.
The drinks come from Laura Christie, Kiazim’s business partner (also behind Highbury favourite Linden Stores, RIP). There’s a definite Middle Eastern focus with bottles from Turkey, Armenia and Georgia. This extends to the cocktail list, where you’ll find a cherry and mastiha sour or a sumac and pomegranate martini.
OKLAVA: HOW SUSTAINABLE IS IT?
Meat, as much as possible, is supplied by regenerative farming extraordinaire Phillip Warren. Fish comes from sustainable Cornish suppliers Wild Harbour, who even use biodegradable seaweed packaging. Veg comes from the vaunted Natoora; and the kitchen strives to have as little food waste as possible.