According to The Times’ Giles Coren, Selin Kiazim’s Turkish-Cypriot influenced food “has the potential to change lives”. Diners can find out for themselves as Selin Kiazim opens her first restaurant Oklava, on Luke Street EC2 in November 2015.
Oklava (meaning ‘rolling pin’ in Turkish) opening for lunch and dinner, and for brunch at the weekends, where Selin will wow her customers with big, hearty spreads and relaxed eating.
Opening Oklava is a huge break for the girl who was born in North London into a Turkish Cypriot family, where she was brought up on her mother’s traditional Turkish cooking. At the age of ten, Selin developed a strong nose for good food and took herself to catering college as soon as she could. A stint with Peter Gordon at The Providores led her into a senior chef role at Kopapa and she has never looked back.
Selin’s style of cooking is fresh, vibrant, and simple, using good quality ingredients and fresh herbs and spices to let the food do the talking. Oklava will be bright, modern, and buzzy, reflecting bustling eating times as a child. She’ll be in a good company, flanked by Nick Mattinson as Sous Chef (Bistro Bruno Loubet) and Matt Bushnall as Assistant Manager (8, Hoxton Square).
Her business partner and GM is Laura Christie, formerly in Operations at the Salt Yard Group. Laura’s passion is the love and understanding of Turkish wines, so she’s very much at the helm of the mostly indigenous wine list at Oklava. Selin and Laura met whilst Selin did a one-night residency at Ember Yard – and they have never looked back.
Selin’s menu at Oklava will change on a regular basis to suit the seasons, but diehard fans will not be disappointed. Making appearances will be her now famous House-made bread & Medjool date butter*, alongside treats such as Çemen glazed lamb cutlets, Sour cherry pearl barley with crispy kale, yoghurt, chilli butter & sheep’s cheese and Pistachio sponge, caramelised white chocolate, barbeque quince and filo shards.
Weekend brunches will involve a table full of sharing bowls and baskets – breads, jams, olives, pastirma and eggs. “A true feast”, says Selin. Eggs will very much be on the menu – in her Brown Shrimp Kaygana (omelette), Pastirma with Broken Eggs and Spicy Tomato – and for sharing, there’s the ‘Oklava Brunch’: Bread selection, cheeses, pastries, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, Medjool date butter, jams, house kaymak, honey, marinated olives, pastirma with fried eggs, menemen, seasonal & dried fruits.
Selin says of the opening,
“This truly is a dream come true. I’ve dreamt of this day for years and I am so happy and proud that my time in the sun has come. I can’t wait to show people how exciting modern Turkish food can be.”
Selin’s big break came with a 6-month residency at Trip Kitchen in Haggerston, where her cooking was widely acclaimed. She has hosted various sell-out pop-ups and residencies. Grace Dent, writing in the Evening Standard, said her cooking was ‘some of the best I’ve tasted this year’.
74 Luke Street