T&C tests: Kyseri, Fitzrovia
When Oklava opened in Shoreditch in 2015, it quickly attracted a loyal following of diners who were won over by the chef and co-owner Selin Kiazam’s rustic style of cooking, inspired by her Turkish-Cypriot heritage. So when Kiazam and her business partner, the wine expert Laura Christie, announced the launch of their second site, Kyseri in Fitzrovia, expectations were high.
Fortunately, the new opening does not disappoint. Kyseri has a relaxed feel, with exposed brickwork, filament light bulbs and wooden benches bringing something of the Shoreditch vibe to Fitzrovia. Once we’d got to grips with the menu – dishes are divided into snacks, starters, pastas, mains and desserts, with portions generous enough that you can afford to be selective – we were ready for a glass of refreshing Turkish rosé.
To start, we opted for the Black Sea fondue with Cypriot Hellim loaf, a ramekin’s worth of tangy, salty melted cheese, served crème brûlée-style with a blowtorched topping and accompanied by hunks of melt-in-the-mouth bread studded with halloumi pieces. It was rich, creamy and thoroughly worth the indulgence. Alongside this we tucked into lamb skewers – tender and perfectly spiced – and a celeriac dish from the starters menu that came with a garnish of preserved mandarin.
Kiazim’s major innovation is her foray into Turkish ‘pastas’, which are made live in the window of the restaurant so that passers-by can marvel at the skill on display. My companion tried the beef and sour cherry manti – dumpling-like parcels of meat and sweet fruit doused in a tomato chilli-infused butter offset by a yoghurt sauce – while I chose the vegetarian main of rice-stuffed courgette flowers, which were fragrant and satisfying, served atop a bed of broad beans and asparagus that brought the flavours of spring to this otherwise hearty, warming dish.
We didn’t quite have space to sample the katmer (a flaky, filled pastry filled with clotted cream and pistachios) for dessert, but that’s a good enough reason to return to a venue that’s sure to become a true local favourite.
Kyseri, 64 Grafton Way, London W1
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