Test Drives

oklava bakery and wine restaurant reviewKikirdakli ekmek - lamb crackling bun with garlic butter (£6) - perfect for two to share as a snack and it's infused with the taste of lamb.

So what do we need to know about Oklava Bakery & Wine?

This is something of a repositioning of the previous restaurant on this site - Kyseri. It's still owned by chef Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie, but they've given the place a bit of a redesign and changed the menu's focus.

What's changed exactly?

If you'd been before, probably the biggest visual change is in the front part of the restaurant. That now has, instead of a few tables for two, a high table - which is where pasta is rolled out in the morning and then switches to dining at night. Otherwise it looks much the same. Think of it now as more of an all-day cafe that segues into a wine bar with food at night.

Where is it?

You'll find it on Grafton Way at the top end of Tottenham Court Road - the nearest tube is Warren Street.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

The Grafton Arms is a perfectly serviceable pub just around the corner. If it's wine you're after - then head to The Remedy or Guy Ritchie's pub The Lore of the Land isn't far away.

So what's on the menu?

It's not the easiest of menus to work your way around at dinner - probably because there's quite a lot here that'll work better for lunch, but loosely there's a section of small plates, a chance to try Tottenham-based Kupros Dairy's feta three ways and then two larger dishes - one veggie and one meaty.

Here's what we had:

oklava bakery and wine restaurant reviewOklava bread and medjool date butter (£4.50) - we probably inhaled a little too much in the way of these gorgeous carbs so learn from our mistake and pace yourselves. But the bread really is excellent and you'll be missing out if you don't try this amazing butter. That other dish is their lovely tarama (£4).

oklava bakery and wine restaurant reviewMücver (£6.50) very moreish fritters of potato, with their own homemade pastirma and cheese.

oklava bakery and wine restaurant reviewTepsi kebab - spiced kofte with beef fat onions, yoghurt and brown butter served with bazlama (flatbreads) and salad (£19). We were a little unprepared for the size of this dish which took up much of the table (the pair dining beside us had some wrapped up for them to take home) but god it was good.

What about vegetarians?

There's a lot on offer here. Smaller dishes included muhammara on toast, the Oklava salad and, in addition to the feta options, there was a main of Cypriot pumpkin served with a rice and sultana borek and kyseri mayo (£10) which definitely sounds worth having. And then there's this amazing cheese dish...

oklava bakery and wine restaurant reviewFried hellim with lemon and London honey (£6.50) - you'll know this better as halloumi and frankly, there's almost nothing better than fried halloumi with honey.

Room for dessert?

The carbs we'd had before almost stopped us getting as far as dessert. But then we spotted the künefe...

oklava bakery and wine restaurant reviewKünefe for two - a Hot Dinners reader challenged us after we raved about the kanafa at Juma in Borough Market Kitchen. They said that Oklava's was even better. To be honest, we're just happy that as Londoners we get to enjoy both of these top-notch desserts. Here at Oklava, you can also add clotted cream and pistachios if you wish.

And to drink?

With Laura Christie in charge of the wine list, it's not surprising to find plenty of really interesting Turkish and Armenian options. Glasses start at £5 for 125ml and everything's available by the carafe too. We even found a Georgian orange wine we really liked from the Mildiani Family Winery.

Overall thoughts:

We'd been big fans of Kyseri, so it wasn't a stretch to find that we liked Oklava Bakery + Wine just as much. And we can see that the shift in focus is probably going to do much better for them. The breakfast and brunch menus definitely sound worth a punt too - pistachio French toast with banana jam, tahini and orange blossom, anyone? If we worked or lived in the area, we'd be totally nipping down here regularly to pick up their bread and baked goods to take away.

 

More about Oklava Bakery + Wine

Where is it? 64 Grafton Way, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5DP

How to book: book online

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @oklava_ldn.

 

Hot Dinners dined as guests of Oklava. Prices correct at time of publication.

 

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