OKLAVA is a contemporary Turkish restaurant jointly operated by Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie. In Turkish an ‘oklava’ is a traditional rolling pin which is used to make breads, pastries and pides all of which feature on our menu alongside Selin’s modern take on Turkish-Cypriot fare. Our open kitchen act as a theatre stage where guests can sit around the bar and spectate as the chefs use a stone oven and real charcoal grill, known as a mangal in Turkish to prepare their meals.
The food is complemented by a wine list focussed on wines of Turkey. The ethos of the list is that wines are selected for their quality first and geographical origin second, we are proud to be showcasing some fantastic wines from the most exciting producers of one of the oldest wine growing regions of the world.
Of course no good restaurant is complete without great staff. We hope to deliver relaxed and friendly but knowledgeable service to enable guests to feel at home and informed about the food and drink selection. Selin and Laura are extremely passionate about the hospitality sector being a professional, fair and rewarding industry to work in and place the highest importance on staff welfare and training. Please see our section on tipping policy should you have any queries on how we allocate service charge.
Both Laura and Selin are inspired by the London restaurant scene, flavours from travels and from fellow chefs and restaurateurs. The aim of Oklava is to push traditional boundaries and pull Turkish cuisine out of the kebab shop and onto the London restaurant scene.
Meet The Team
Selin developed her love of cooking at an early age and her food takes inspiration from her Turkish-Cypriot heritage, focused around communal eating and encouraging conversations about food by sharing dishes between diners. Selin has worked for acclaimed chef Peter Gordon at The Providores, Marylebone, later becoming head-chef at Kopapa, Covent Garden before taking up residency at Trip Kitchen, Haggerston.
Laura has worked previously for Salt Yard Group looking after front of house, day to day operations and all things drinks related. The two met via Selin’s guest Chef appearance at the latest restaurant from Salt Yard Group, Ember Yard. Selin’s food and vision for Oklava worked perfectly with the middle Eastern wine and ideas Laura had for her own future project and they have worked together ever since.
Laura is joined front of house by Matt Bushnell, Matt was a late starter in the hospitality industry having escaped his desk job in 2013 to pursue an ambition of one day opening his own restaurant. Deciding to get some on the job experience, he came to meet Laura whilst working at Salt Yard Group’s Covent Garden based restaurant Opera Tavern. A stint at 8 Hoxton Square followed before deciding to join the opening team at Oklava.
Selin’s right hand man in the kitchen is Nick Mattinson. Nick had a more conventional route into the kitchen having studied at Carshalton College before working with acclaimed chefs Pierre Koffman, Sam Harris and Bruno Loubet. He met Selin during her time as Head Chef at Peter Gordon’s Kopapa and was an obvious choice when it came to recruiting the kitchen for Oklava.
Oklava seeks to make tipping as fair and transparent as possible.
We add an optional 12.5% service charge to all bills at Oklava all of which is transferred into a service charge fund, excluding the fee that the credit card provider charges to process each card payment. No deductions are made by Oklava, such as for damages, admin etc.
All employees are paid above the UK national living wage by the company in addition to income from service charge. Service charge paid by card is divided amongst all staff in line with their pay grade and skill level/career progression to ensure a consistent liveable wage irrespective of traditionally quieter periods in the restaurant industry. This decision was made in consultation with our staff to enable them to be able to more accurately predict their wage and avoid extremes in income, as is common in industries outside of hospitality.
Payments made from the service charge are published to staff on a monthly basis to ensure transparency and any surplus in the account is paid out in bonus form every 3 months.
Any additional tip left by a customer is considered to be at the discretion of the individual server who can keep or distribute it to other team members as they see fit. The company has no involvement in this process and does not make any kind of deduction whatsoever.
TURNER AND GEORGE
Turner & George take great care in sourcing all their meat and poultry from small, independent farms. Every piece of meat has been raised naturally, lived the best of lives and is completely hormone, antibiotic and cruelty-free.
They choose the finest, naturally reared meat from British native, traditional and rare breeds and dry-age on the bone. The result is a melting succulence and deep, distinct flavour.
MR OLIVE OIL
We’ve searched high and low for the best olive oil outside of Turkey. We found it, just round the corner in an electrical supply shop in London’s Clerkenwell. Widely celebrated as the ‘best olive oil in England’, Mehmet Murat sells wonderful, intensely fruity oil from his family’s olive groves in Cyprus and south-west Turkey. As well as his olive oil, we buy wild oregano, green olives and pickled caper shoots from this hidden gem.
We source a range of essential products from Brindisa. They have 25 years experience of sourcing quality products from Spain which is unmatched by other suppliers. As well as supplying delicious high quality meat, their spicy guindilla peppers will add a kick to any dish.
MURRAY’S FRESH FISH
Richard Murray, having worked collecting oysters and salmon farming, has built his own business. Having started as a small weekend fish stall in Battersea, Murray’s fresh fish now provide the finest quality fresh fish and shellfish direct from the coast to many restaurants across London. In keeping with our philosophy, he has a strong ethical code; all wild fish is sustainably harvested and farmed fish comes from well-managed farms.
FRESH CONNECT UK
Based out of New Covent Garden Market, Fresh Connect has a wide network of suppliers from across the country. They ensure we have access to the best in season fruit, vegetables and herbs. With Turkish food majoring on fresh, strong flavours we trust these guys to find us the best there is.
Steve first started hiding beehives on London rooftops around 14 years ago. The resulting honey was so good he has since grown his bee empire. He now collects honey from his own and other selected beekeepers from across the UK. www.thelondonhoneycompany.co.uk
10 years ago, father and daughter Ozcan and Zeynep Arca established Arcadia Vineyards to make natural and unique wines that reflect the mountainous terroir of Northern Thrace. They grow nine different grape varieties and since their first vintage have been winning international wine awards. Their vineyards are sustainably managed, grapes hand harvested and sorted, they produce wonderful examples of low intervention terroir wines.
Büyülübaĝ is located on Avsa Island which has a history of wine production dating back to the 1800’s. In 2005 they completed construction of a sophisticated gravity flow winery, as a result Büyülübaĝ produce Bordeaux style wines with the most gentle wine making methods that wine deserves. Their list of awards recognises their hard work.
After discovering sets of vineyards over a thousand years old at the slope of his farm located in Urla, Can Ortabaş decided to re-establish the area to its former glory as a wine making district. Using traditional gravity flow methods they produce a wide range of wines using traditional indigenous and international varietals.
Pasaeli is a family owned estate founded in 2000, they strongly believe in the potential of indigenous Turkish grapes and wines that reflect the terroir of the Kaynaklar region (near Izmir). Selin and Laura first tried Pasaeli wines by chance in a glorious water front setting on The Bosporus and knew they had to have them at Oklava.