Rock the house
Play-reading, painting, sculpture and fusion cooking are on the menu at a cafe in Bucharest’s Museum of Geology
Museums in Bucharest face criticism for failing to exploit their great spaces – few have cafes, restaurants or gift shops and staff seem bent on throwing out visitors soon after their arrival, so they can shut up early or slip outside for a cheeky smoke.
But expats Krishan George and Amarjit Sidhu – the team running the Capital’s swanky Asian restaurant Barka Saffron – have taken up the challenge of launching a hip destination in the Geology Museum near Piata Victoriei. Opened since April, Museo Cafe now has ambitions to become a cultural and gastronomic hotspot.
“The museum authorities have given us the freedom to do what we want,” says Sidhu. Stripping down the interiors, the cafe has rich red walls, white leather sofas and armchairs, a black and white striped bar and a smoking area with plastic Kartell chairs and oriental cushions, while drapes showing prints from the site of Bucharest’s 1989 revolution hang from the ceiling with names of the martyred dead.
Already the space has hosted international photo exhibitions, film screenings and play readings – in both English and Romanian.
“We want to give exposure to unknown artists,” says Sidhu. “We want to bring here as much culture
as we can.”
Punjab-born Sidhu is a former 737 pilot who landed in Bucharest as a photo-journalist covering stories on human trafficking and AIDS children. He is still the man with a lens in Romania for US media insitutions such as the New York Times and International Herald Tribune, but is now passionate about creating a testing ground for new music and theatre and is looking for sponsorship for young musicians.
Currently the space is a location for private parties and extending its opening hours to offer Asian and French fusion cooking – try the quiche with a hint of tumeric. But Sidha and George have loftier ambitions for the museum grounds – next up is a children’s play area and, at the back, Blvd Aviatorilor is set to host a Japanese garden and tea house.
Inside the National
2 Sos Kiseleff