There’s a little slice of Cypriot cuisine being cooked up on Folkestone’s Harbour Arm, a part of the town that is rapidly becoming a destination and beacon for some exciting food and drink ventures.
I moved to Folkestone three months ago, and was quickly followed by my friend and chef Hulya Erdal of Made By The Chef fame. As a duo with Turkish Cypriot heritage, we started thinking: could we do something food-related in Folkestone together that would celebrate the food that we grew up with?
With Hulya’s background and skills as a chef, food educator and teacher, we already had a huge repertoire to draw on: we just needed to decide how we to create the opportunity.
Folkestone is a creative town, brimming with artworks and artists, and the food scene is becoming similarly inspired and innovative. Within weeks, we had met the people who are responsible for curating the food outlets on the Harbour Arm, which snakes away into the sea, with the old lighthouse at the end converted into a Champagne bar.
We had a chat with Diane and Denice Dever of Folkestone Fringe, Hulya cooked molohiya for them at my house, and Nova’s Kitchenwas born: every Friday and Saturday Hulya is serving up food inspired by Cyprus, Turkey, the Middle East and beyond, in a wooden hut in front of the open-air cinema – the Folkestone Harbour Screen.
You can enjoy delights such as molohiya, kuru fasülye with pastırma, fırın makarna; bezelye yemeği and bulgur pilav– all the comforting and homely dishes that many of us grew up with, cooked by our mothers.
Nova (Novber) was my mum, who passed away two years ago, and in whose honour we named the venture. Hulya has brought back the wonderful memories I have of mum’s fantastic home cooking, dishes that I took for granted while growing up, but which hold such a resonance for me, memories of good times with mum, when she would effortlessly knock up fantastic food for me at home.
During the summer months you’ll be able to savour Hulya’s delicious dishes during the showings of some classic films: Ghostbusters;Back to the Future; Top Gun; E.T.; Blade Runner; Home Alone; Monty Python’s Life of Brian and many more. It’s a unique opportunity to visit somewhere different and watch some of the greatest films of all time, by the seaside, while enjoying Hulya’s brilliant cooking.
Hulya has been preparing her dishes at my house, as she’s currently transforming her kitchen into a wonderful professional space, which will become a hub for all her cooking, teaching and food-related projects in Folkestone. We’re also looking at hosting regular supper clubs here, where I will be involved with the wine side of things.
Folkestone has welcomed us warmly and with enthusiasm, and there is a real appetite from residents and visitors to explore Turkish Cypriot-inspired cuisine; we’re pleased to be bringing some of our family history and food memories to the town. Keep an eye on all things Folkestone: there are some great things happening here – a town that has kicked in to the next phase of an energetic regeneration and renaissance.
Anneciğim, işte Nova’s Kitchen– bu sizin içindir [Dearest mother, this is Nova’s Kitchen – dedicated to you].
Zeren Wilson is a wine consultant and founder of Bittenandwritten.com