Ali Ocakbasi, a Turkish grill restaurant group will open its debut UK site in Leicester Square today. The restaurant, which “specialises in a fusion of traditional and modern Anatolian cuisine,” will open at 16 Irving Street, right in the centre of a public space that is among London’s busiest and most popular with visitors to the city.
Ali Ocakbasi was founded in 2012 by Okan Akkaş and Ahmet Uçar, who operate two branches in Istanbul. The London site will add to a small but growing European portfolio that includes sites in Amsterdam and Vienna.
The London restaurant, owned by Volkan Akkas, will be open all day for “lunch, laptop working, dinner and nightcaps.” The restaurant has 90 covers, with an additional 20 seats outside, and will also be offering “delivery, click and collect, and takeaway.”
Alongside an extensive charcoal grill menu of traditional Turkish staples such as şis kebabs of lamb and chicken, ciger (liver), lamb chops and ribs, it will also be offering a menu of pide — the traditional Turkish boat shaped breads baked in the oven — to include Kiymali (ground and seasoned lamb); Kaşarli (Turkish cheese); Ispanakli (spinach) and Kuşbaşili (chopped meat.) There will also be a ‘Fistikli Kebap,’ which includes a mix of lamb mince, pistachios and Anatolian spices — a dish rarely seen in the UK.
Kiren Dhesi, of Cedar Dean Group property agents, which acted for the previous tenant, said, “We are really excited to have sold the lease to Ali Ocakbasi, making London the latest home to its European growth plans, following Amsterdam and Vienna.”
While Adam Landau, from One One One Advisory acted on behalf of the restaurant operator, added: “Ali Ockobasi will be showing off Anatolian cooking techniques and recipes that London has yet to experience to such an authentic degree.” But given the pedigree of London’s Turkish restaurants located principally in Dalston, east London, that statement is open to debate.
In the last 18 months-to-two years, a number of modern-style Turkish restaurants have opened in the capital — among them Yosma, Oklava, Skewd, Gökyüzü (new Walthamstow site) and Pivaz (Epping and Hackney).