Oklava's owners open up on upcoming Turkish pasta restaurant

By Georgia Bronte contact

- Last updated on GMT

Oklava's owners open up on upcoming Turkish pasta restaurant Kyseri
Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie, owners of Shoreditch’s modern Turkish restaurant Oklava, will bring relatively unknown Turkish pasta dishes to Fitzrovia when they open Kyseri next month

What is the meaning behind the restaurant’s name?
The food is inspired by Kayseri, a central region in Turkey. We took the ‘A’ out because we like the way the word looks that way, and because everything we do takes inspiration from Turkey, without claiming to be fully authentic.

What will be on the menu?
We will be doing two types of Turkish pasta. The first, called ‘manti’, is all over Turkey. Historically, it comes from the region of Kayseri, but can be found as far afield as Georgia. There is a lot of history in it. It is a stuffed pasta, traditionally filled with beef mince, but can also have a chickpea filling, or mushroom. They are always served with garlic yoghurt and tomato chilli butter, so I will be doing a more refined version of that.

Beef and sour cherry manti

What will the other style of pasta be?
The second one we are going to do is called ‘eriste’ which is like broken tagliatelle. The most traditional recipe for that is made with walnuts, feta cheese, garlic and parsley, so we will be doing more elaborate versions of that. The dishes will change around the seasons along with the rest of the menu. 

What will the menu format be?
We tried to make the pasta the speciality of the restaurant, so we gave a nod to the structure of a traditional Italian menus with four courses: a snack, a starter, a pasta, and a main...although people of course can share if they want. We want it to be accessible.

Why did you choose to do pasta?
There’s a lot of history in it, and each country has its own version of it. We wanted to introduce food that is popular in Turkey that people are not familiar with here. Pasta has had a resurgence in the UK recently because of places like Padella, but I don’t think anyone is doing what we are doing. 

Would you ever think about more sites?
We wouldn’t think about going beyond three sites in our current format. If you try to stretch yourself to too many sites, how much time you can realistically commit to keeping an eye on quality shrinks. It can also start to feel a bit corporate. 

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