Outside Medellin’s MAMM (Museo de Arte Modern de Medellin) it begins to rain. First, a light rain. Then, a downpour. People are rushing across the brick plaza in front, ducking for cover anywhere they can. At Bonuar, the bar and restaurant on the side of the museum, patrons are arriving on the patio with a flurry, closing umbrellas and shaking the water off of their heads. One man takes off his jacket and reveals a t-shirt that asks “Que es arte?” I have been to Bonuar twice now and this sequence of events has happened both times. Well, most of it anyway.
Bonuar, from chef Chef Rodrigo Isaza of the excellent Herbario, is as nice a place as any to spend a rainy day. The restaurant sits exposed to the world through it’s open windows, though the canopy keeps the water out. High ceiling fans and ornate tile floors give off the feel of an Old Havana tavern, though if it were new again. Jazz and blues music wafts through the air.
The food is soul warming. They call it a French bistro, but it’s much more than that. The restaurant’s name stems from the French phrase ‘beau noir,’ meaning ‘nice black’. It’s a tribute of sorts to African culture in this part of the world, a combination of the food, music, and design of Louisiana and the French Caribbean, plus the Colombian coast. Ribs in Guayaba BBQ sauce, ceviche in mango biche, jerk chicken wings, and seafood bisque. Squid with Green Papaya and the Fu Fu de Cerdo (Pork cooked in coconut milk with green plantain puree) are revelations. As are the Chuletas ahumadas, artisanally smoked pork chops with a tamarindo sauce over grilled ahuyama puree. There’s even key lime pie and weekend brunch.
At the end of the meal, every time, the rain stops. It’s like magic. The sun comes out. Blue skies appear. Satisfied with your meal and climatic conditions you are set up superbly for the rest of your day.
Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín
Carrera 44 # 19A-100
Ciudad del Rio
T. 235 3577
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.