Abdullah, or Apo as he is known, was born in Nizip just outside Gaziantep in 1978. His family moved to Kas when he was just 11 years old. He left school at 12 and started training to be a chef in a restaurant owned by the father of a friend. Over the years his experience and training paid off and in 2003 Apo opened his first restaurant in Bolu called Divane which seated approximately 300 people. In 2006 he decided to return to Kaş as the chef of Akropol Restaurant, then run by two Englishmen, Steve and Coleridge.
Opening his own restaurant in Kas was not really a thought in Apo’s head, but a friend had heard that Sultan Garden (known then as Olive) was up for rent. It had previously been a bar and had changed hands several times and Apo was convinced that he could make something of the space as one of only two harbourside restaurants in Kaş.
Apo and his family have done a lot of work on the restaurant and it has now been open for six years, serving traditional Turkish food. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Apo has also managed to keep a strong team together which is very important in a place like Kaş where there are a lot of return customers year after year.
Harriet was born in Como Italy but grew up in London. She left school at 18 with no idea what she wanted to do. She first worked in a London advertising agency, doing post production work, but, after two years of that she took time off to travel for 10 months. When she returned to London she started to work in her brother’s restaurant, a Michelin starred establishment in Soho at the peak of the ’80′s.
Her brother decided to get out of the business so Harriet took over the lease with a partner and opened it as the Lexington. They served good value European food and the place had two private rooms where some interesting parties happened!
After five years in the Lexington, Harriet was approached and asked if she would sell. She accepted the offer and decided to move to Turkey in 1988. Her first job in Kaş was working at Blue House Restaurant. After the birth of her child Atilla, she opened a creche with some friends as there was no such facility at that time. She joined Bougainville Travel in 1990 where she stayed for 8 1/2 years. While at BT she was responsible for communication with outside agencies that bring tourists to Kaş.
Apo and Harriet were introduced through a mutual friend in 1997, a friendship eventually formed and they recently got married at the Sultan Garden Restaurant. After her years at Bougainville Harriet decided to go back to her restaurant roots and join forces with Apo at the restaurant. She is in charge of all events and group bookings, the finer details of running the restaurant and bakes all the delicious cakes and desserts. They have put up an original nomad “tent” covering for early and late seasons when rain is possible so as to keep their outdoor dining area open. Harriet likes the artistic atmosphere of Kaş and its residents and likes displaying on the Garden walls the artwork of young “starving artists,” as well as more established professionals.
ZemZem BoatHarriet and Apo say that restaurants can sometimes be very unforgiving businesses and she and Apo are always keeping their eyes open for other opportunities. They had been talking with Phil and Alison Buckley about doing some business together and, at first, thought about opening a bar. However, Apo’s brother Ahmet had spoken to Phil about buying a boat, and from that time they started looking for one to buy.
Apo heard about a boat that was for sale and the group of them went to Demre to have a look at it and bought it on the spot. It was a great size, in good basic condition and the price was right. They called it ZemZem which is the Turkish spelling for “Zamzam” (a famous well very near the Kaaba in Mecca) and which some translate as “holy water.”
Last year was the first year for ZemZem and by the time they got the boat up and running the season was in full swing. Ahmet, Apo’s brother, is the captain of ZemZem and throughout last season the boat did day trips and weekly cruises to find out where their clients might come from. There were a much larger number of Turkish clients chartering the boat than they originally expected. Harriet notes that Turkish tourists are proving invaluable to the Kaş economy. She believes their first year was more successful than they had hoped, and because of what they learned they are looking forward to working closely with Bougainville Travel and other foreign agencies.
Harriet and Apo are very optimistic about their future with Sultan Garden and ZemZem. They are even looking for another boat for some time in the future.
Sultan Garden will have a formal exhibition of the work of established Kaş artists in May. Keep in touch with our Facebook page or contact the restaurant for final dates and times.
Abdullah (Apo) Kalkan:
Mobile: +90 533 350 93 14
Restaurant: +90 242 836 37 62
Sultan Garden Reviews on TripAdvisor:
Sultan Garden Restaurant on Facebook:
Tel: +90 532 779 9051
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