openings

Eat this: Kyseri

This new restaurant will bring unknown Turkish pasta dishes and other regional specialities to the table when it opens in Fitzrovia. 

16 May 2018
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  • The Gist: Specialising in Turkish pasta, but also offering snacks, mains and desserts
  • The Chef: Selin Kiazim
  • Location: 64 Grafton Way, London W1T 5DN
  • Food in 5 words: Modern take on regional Turkish
  • See more: www.kyseri.co.uk

How did we get here?

It’s well known that Middle Eastern food is having a moment in the UK. But people are looking for more than mezzes and other well-known Middle Eastern dishes. They want regional cuisine – with the history of the dish, what’s in it and how you make it.

Enter the owners of Shoreditch’s modern Turkish restaurant Oklava, Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie, who are opening up their latest venture called Kyseri, with a soft launch on May 22.

Chef Kiazim tells Food Spark that she takes traditional Turkish food and gives it a modern twist

“My food is always about exploring different areas and bringing that back to UK diners and showing them that there is more to Turkish food than just mezzes and kebabs,” she says.

“London is spoilt for choice, there is so much to eat. So what I think Kyseri will bring is elements of what someone might have tried on holiday or what Turkish households grew up cooking at home. But what I’m doing is elevating it and bringing it into the restaurant scene.”

What’s different about it?

Kyseri will specialise in Turkish pastas, along with a range of other regional specialities that you can’t currently find in London. Kiazim describes Turkish pasta as a cross between Italian pasta and a dumpling.

In charge of menu development, Kiazim is also planning to bring in her Cypriot roots as an influence on dishes.

“One of snacks will be a Cypriot halloumi loaf – a cross between a loaf and bread. I’ll pair that up with a cheese cornmeal fondue that comes from the Black Sea region up in the North of Turkey,” she says.

You’ve got to try…

The two different types of Turkish pasta. The first is called ‘manti’ and is all over Turkey. Historically, it comes from the region of Kayseri (where the restaurant’s name took inspiration from), but ‘manti’ can also be found as far afield as Georgia.

Kiazim describes ‘manti’ as stuffed pasta, with the most traditional filling being beef mince, parsley and onion.

“I’m doing that, but my one is going to have some fennel seed and dry sour cherries in there as well. Then a lot of Turkish pastas are traditionally served with a garlic yoghurt and tomato chilli butter, so I’m doing my version of it, but the yoghurt garlic sauce is more like cream sauce than yoghurt,” she says.

The second style of pasta is called ‘eriste,’ which is like broken tagliatelle, but with more of a noodle consistency. The most traditional recipe is made with walnuts, feta cheese, garlic and parsley, and there will be more elaborate versions of that on the menu.

“We will have different ones. One of them will be red-wine-braised aubergine and ox,” Kiazim said.

Sparkie also likes…

The traditional dessert called katmer, which is basically an ice cream sandwich, and comes from different places all over Turkey, while even Cyprus has a version of it.

Kiazim is focusing on doing a take on it from the south-east of Turkey. It consists of hand stretched filo pastry, made really thin and stuffed with pistachio and clotted cream. It’s baked almost like a soft pancake and served with a parfait and an evolving garnish.

“The parfait gets sandwiched in between the pastry once it’s cut in half and it forms its own kind of ice cream sandwich and gets served at the table,” she says.

Go if…

You want a taste of regional Turkey but with restaurant-quality dishes.

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