A TURKISH restaurant in Southampton has been shortlisted for the Best Middle Eastern Restaurant in the UK award for a third year running.

Ottoman Kitchen has scooped the coveted Asian Restaurant Awards crown the past two years, their first years of trading.

It will go up against celebrated London restaurants including The Palomar, Arabica and Kateh at a special ceremony at Grosvenor Hotel on Park Lane.

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Unbeknown to staff, the restaurant was visited this summer by two secret judges who enjoyed the cooking, atmosphere and overall experience.

Owner Niyazi Kaya said: “It's been a very hard year staff wise. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs offering the level of service we want and most customers can understand this. Thankfully all our chefs come from top London restaurants and they’ve worked really hard to get our food to the level it is and that has only got better. Sometimes our main problem is that we are too popular to be honest as lots of customers come from Bournemouth, Poole and Winchester to eat at the restaurant. People have even driven down from Birmingham!”

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The High Street restaurant, on the site of the former Ferryman & Firkin pub next to the historic Holyrood Church ruins, opened in June 2019 as a 120 cover restaurant, following an extensive refurbishment.

Ottoman Kitchen is open seven days a week from 12 midday to 11pm. As well as the main dining room, there is now a private dining area at the back of the restaurant for up to 30 guests and a heated marquee outside at the front of the restaurant for up to 60 guests. The restaurant has live music from Thursday to Sunday nights.

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