I can’t think of many places in London that takes Turkish food and give it a modern twist, so it is a breath of fresh air to see Oklava deliver just that.
The restaurant is tucked away just behind Great Eastern Street on Luke Street and if you get easily lost like me, google map it. I turned up late to my booking but thankfully the team were gracious enough to let me keep my table.
It’s an impressive looking place and has a lovely laid back feel to it. Polished furnishings and a decent size open kitchen dominates the area. Not only that a charcoal grill takes centre stage with a open wood oven just beside it drawing hungry diners in.
If you’re one of these people that won’t go near Turkish food because of the stigma of kebabs, then I definitely would say you need to visit Oklava because this restaurant will change your mind and even more so blow you away with their take on the cuisine.
There is so much more to Turkish food than just your humble kebab and what impresses me about Oklava is that they showcase fresh, vibrant food and really get the best out of the ingredients they have.
The food itself is perfect for sharing and the staff (who are very welcoming and friendly) are on hand to recommend what is on offer.
Of the snacks, the halloumi is a great way to start proceedings. Its a very plain cheese but the restaurant give it a makeover coating it with a drizzle of lemon, sweet honey and fresh oregano.
The grilled sausage packs a bit of heat and spice but the courgette, feta and mint fritters are a real highlight. I highly recommend those bad boys.
Almost like a risotto, the pearl barley is creamy and delicious but the only hindrance was that I couldn’t quite get where the sour cherries came from.
The baked lamb fat potatoes is a clear winner in my eyes. Soft and fell apart at the slightest touch of the fork, the potatoes are accompanied by a huge duck egg, cooked to perfection with the yolk oozing out and mopped up with the halloumi cheese beside it.
The flat breads are to die for as they’re homemade on site and the use of the fire wood oven really makes that dish a little bit more special. The hot, melted, gooey cheese with the charred leeks got devoured in no time. And for the salad, crisp, fresh and coated with a healthy amount of dressing.
I love my spice and the lamb koftes don’t hold back on it. Pick the wrap up and just tuck in to those beauties and the yoghurt is the perfect accompaniment to cool things down, although the fennel unfortunately didn’t come through.
Oklava was only lacking in a few things but all in all I had a very pleasant experience and the food was more than worth the money. It’s great to see that Turkish food has been given a lift and refined in a modern way. For anyone who wants more than just a kebab, Oklava is the one. From start to finish, you’re in for a treat.