IKIMIZ LOVES YOU

Captured by The Recipe Hunters in Cyprus 

Tell us about your restaurant: 

"My mom, Fatma, and I, Latife, started Ikimiz Restaurant on September 3rd of 2012. Previously, I was working as a secretary in a law firm for 6 years. I came to the realization that although I appreciated having a paying job, I wanted a career that was more fulfilling. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and that would challenge me in multiple ways. That’s when my mother and I had the idea to start the restaurant. My mom was famous around our friends and family for her passionate cooking skills; she was more than thrilled at the opportunity to share her food with the rest of the community. At first it was just an idea, but then the more we talked about it the more real it became a reality. We converted the downstairs of our home into a real restaurant. We decided to name it Ikimiz, which means "the two of us." Through hard work and dedication we are able to make our customers happy but the true key to our success is my mother; she puts all her love into the food and our customers can taste it!" 

Meet The elegant, artistic Fatma:

"Every night I cook I get dressed up as if it were a night out in town. This is my home and my customers are my guests, I must look special for them. I love every piece of art in my home because I have memories of when I made them. Everything. The statues of nude Venus, the Epru style art, the stained glass, and the decorated gourds. These are all types of art that I love to create."

 

As we walk throughout the inside of the restaurant, Fatma points to her artwork:

“I masked this one, I made this one, I sewed this one, and then this one I plastered together, oh and I love this one…and the patio area was created to capture the energy and spirit of Cyprus with all of the colors, the art, the flowers, and citrus trees."

When did your artistic passion begin?

"When I was a child I loved making art but my father alway discouraged me. When I married, I started to reinvigorate myself through artmaking. I made so many different things! Look at this one for example: here is a lady who walks around with basil in her bosom, a guy who goes around with a guitar and plays at restaurants and public spaces, and a "rain man" type guy that can tell you the year and time that each person scored a soccer goal on the local team."   

 

"I use art to  represent everything. Take a look at these three wooden pallets used to represent our restaurant celebrations: Flower night, retro night, and our anniversary on dove night."

From art to cooking what made the change:

"I learned too many cooking methods from my grandmother. Her name was Arife. As a kid I would always join her in the kitchen, watch her cook, and help when I could. I was the only grandchild that actually cared and was interested in what grandma would do in the kitchen. I’ve made carob syrup and helim cheese since I could remember. Two of my favorite Cypriot dishes are potato meatballs and sausages stuffed with minced meat and rice that is then boiled and fried.  To me cooking is a form of art. I use all my knowledge of the various food, spices, and cooking methods available and combine them to create delicious meals based upon my own particular twist of a recipe. I love making traditional items just as much as I love experimenting. Whatever I do, I do because I love it."

Words of wisdom:

After Fatma teaches us how to make her famous Potates kuftise she offers us wine and sits with us at our table. She shows us her pictures and tells us that she is inspired when she cooks. Although we cannot fully understand each other, she expresses herself with her hands: 

 

“Inspiration comes from within but you must have courage to release it. If you do not have courage you will never begin. So have courage and allow yourself to be inspired. And stay positive, always.”

 

Ikimiz translates to “the two of us” and is used to represent the special bond that Latife and her mom have. The bond started at birth, grew stronger through the death of Latife’s brother, and is now everglowing at this special restaurant. Make sure to visit them at Ikimiz if you are ever in Girne aka Kyrenia, Cyprus.

Helim Börek Recipe, Traditional Cyprus Recipes