Cihangir’s new favorite Cafe Lumiere is located on your left as you enter the street of the historic Asri Turşucusu when making your way from Cihangir to Çukurcuma. The eatery is the brainchild of Özcan Taş and Cengiz Doğan, who both have a love of cinema and extensive experience in restaurant management. The duo specifically searched for an old building to house their café, and once they stumbled upon this 200-year-old Armenian building in Çukurcuma, it was time to roll up their sleeves. After working for six months to tear down the walls – encountering five or six layers of different colored paint as they did so – Taş and Doğan decided to leave the original wall as is, which gives Cafe Lumiere its own flair.
Cafe Lumiere gets its name from the 1895 movie ‘Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory’, known as the first motion picture ever made (the one-minute-long movie was also the first to be screened for the public in Turkey in 1897). There’s even a poster of stills from the movie located at the entrance to the eatery.
Datlı Maya regulars will recognize Cafe Lumiere’s Pakistani chef Tarık James, who recreates dishes from different parts of the world in the tiny kitchen. In addition to French and Italian fare like pizzas and salads, Cafe Lumiere also serves up select Indian dishes for the time being. The restaurant owners are currently working on three separate menus: a “protein bar” where the calorie, carbohydrate and protein values are written next to each item, as well as a vegan and vegetarian option and a third selection of diabetic dishes that use natural sugars.
Cafe Lumiere is also set to be a favorite of coffee drinkers, thanks to the 27 different types of coffee on its menu and its own separate coffee bar where the baristas grind South African coffee. If you’re not a fan of coffee, you can also sample their lemonade varieties with ice cream and strawberries.
Perhaps the best part of Cafe Lumiere is its garden, where the colorful chairs, fresh flowers on each table, old bicycle propped against the wall and of course the lanterns hanging from the trees create an oasis in the middle of the city. As you’d expect from two owners whose love of cinema influenced their choice of name for the eatery, plans are underway to host movie screenings in the garden before the end of summer.
The prices at Cafe Lumiere are reasonable compared to other eateries in the area, meaning you can have a decent breakfast for as little as 12 TL. Speaking of breakfast, fans of warm, toasted bread will also appreciate the owners’ plan to place toasters on each table.
The next time you want to escape the noisy, crowded streets of Cihangir and have a good meal or a cup of coffee, look no further than Cafe Lumiere’s shaded garden full of colorful flowers and, of course, Cihangir cats. Nihan Bora
|Venue name:||Cafe Lumiere|
Kuloğlu Mahallesi, Altıpatlar Sokak 7, Çukurcuma-Cihangir.
|Opening hours:||Daily 08.00-00.00|