Sunday, 2 November 2008

African Restaurant Kim Bu Mbu

Last night dinner at this restaurant that was new to me although it's apparently been there for a year now. Interesting design with adobe walls separating the booths and African wood carvings to decorate. Curious sheet metal tables with box-like chairs that slide out like filing cabinet drawers. Dishes from Congo, Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa. Had a salad of (cooked) carrots with rocket, with an orange sauce, followed by brochette of sword fish and pineapple which I enjoyed very much. The dessert of mango purée was also very good. At calle Colmenares, 7 (Chueca, behind Ministerio de Cultura), Madrid. Telephone 91 521 26 81. Reservation advisable.

On the way back we walk down the Paeo del Prado in front of the Botanic Gardens to see the open air exhibition of bronze sculptures by Baltasar Lobo.

Art from the Monastery of Montserrat

Madrid has a number of exhibition spaces owned by the non-profit foundations of large companies. Caja Madrid (savings bank) opened its Casa Encendida a few years ago, then this year came the Caixa Forum owned by the bank of the same name. Yesterday I visited the one run by the BBVA, a large bank, what was once the palace of the Marquis of Salamanca, which is opposite the one owned by Mapfre the insurance company.

The exhibition, which opened at the start of October, is of paintings and architectural masonry from the Monastery of Montserrat which, to quote Wikipedia is:

Santa Maria de Montserrat is a Benedictine abbey located in the Montserrat mountain, in Monistrol de Montserrat, in Catalonia. It hosts the Virgin of Montserrat, and the Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, a publishing house, the oldest press in the world, still running, with the first book published in 1499.

The monastery was attacked by Napoleon's troops in 1811-1812 and left a ruin, and pillaged after the dissolution of the monasteries a few years later. Later in the nineteenth century it was rebuilt and the remains of its architectural stonework gathered together. Over the following hundred years the monastery received donations of art works until today it has an important collection. The exhibition includes works by Catalan painters, and well-known ones such as Dalí, Picasso, Monet, Sisley, Pisarro, Sargeant and one by Degas who currently is the subject of a one-man show at the Mapfre Foundation just across the road. It continues a until 7 December.