by Jodi Panayotov
With a significant portion of Spain's esteemed Prado Museum residing in Brisbane, a retrospective of Spain's leading film director showing at GOMA and a smattering of Spanish style eateries nearby it's possible to immerse yourself in Spain from morning to night without leaving town:
On weekends Ole dishes up a delicious Iberian breakfast to start the day – potato tortilla with fried tomato, Chorizo y Huevos – baked eggs with chorizo or Manchego y Aceitunas – panfried Manchego (cheese) with olives, Spinach and poached eggs or Morcilla – Spanish black pudding, scrambled eggs and piquillo peppers. Or for something light Chocolate Caliente con Churro – thick hot chocolate with Spanish donuts. On weekday mornings the latter can still be had at nearby Chocolateria San Churro.
Paladar Fumior Salon
Before the Hapsburgs took up Spain's top job in 1506 there was King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and it was under their rule that Christopher Columbus took off and discovered the Americas, including the island of Cuba. Except for a blip when the British took over, in the centuries depicted in Portrait of Spain, Cuba was a Spanish Colony so it's only fitting that South Brisbane's quaint little coffee and cigar salon is included as a coffee stop when doing the Spanish thing (on weekdays).
Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado
Get immersed in the weird and wonderful lives of the Hapsburgs, mad Queen Joanna and the age of enlightenment under the Bourbons, with the greatest collection of Spanish paintings from the 17th, 18th and 19th century ever shown in Australia, courtesy of Madrid's esteemed Prado. The journey begins via a stunning entry hall depicting the Vestry of the Monastery of Guadalope and from there it's a trip through three and a half fascinating centuries of Spain, taking in a veritable feast of masterpieces by the likes of Velazquez, Goya, Murillo, Rubens, El Greco and Titian.
La Sala del Prado
This is both lunch stop and Part 2 of the Portrait of Spain exhibition and worth setting aside some time for. Post or mid-exhibition tapas in this child friendly dining and interactive art lounge are a must, especially when paired with a glass of Spanish wine. Tapas plates can be bought individually or 3 for $20 and include jamon, asparagus, smoked mackerel and mushrooms with sides of olives and sour dough as extra to accompany.(Tapas plates come in kids sizes too). Otherwise there are tasty filled tortilla wraps, Spanish biscuits and chocolates.
As well as dining this is the kind of place to while away hours having fun with the interactive portraiture, Still Life sketching, Spanish card games, computer quizzes and Pepe's Great Escape, a multimedia children's quiz.
Between 12-2.30 daily all of the above can be done while being serenaded by a Spanish guitarist.
Chocolateria San Churro
Pre or post exhibition or after dinner head for South Bank's new Spanish chocolateria for some hot chocolate and churros or their signature chocolate tapas plate. The latter comes with a selection of in-house truffles, strawberries and divine couverture based ice-cream.
On Thursday and Sundays from 5-9pm Ole turns up the heat with some live flamenco guitar and delicious jugs of sangria, which goes down a treat with their tapas plates such as Patatas Bravas (crisp fried potatoes), Albondicas ( beef and chorizo meatballs), or Calamares y Chanquettes (calamari and whitebait with aioli).
Pedro Almodovar Retrospective
Having viewed the old masters of Spanish painting, catch Spain's 20th century master of film, Pedro Almodovar in this retrospective of his extraordinary career. Showing at the state of the art GOMA Cinematheque are films which are as much a social commentary on modern Spain as brilliant tales laced with black humour. From his most famous Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to When I Met Your Mother, Volver and any number of his others this is instant transportation to the heart and soul of Spain.
What South Brisbane's Granada (about 500m hike from GOMA) lacks in mosaics and traditional Iberian trimmings it makes up for with delectable food and impeccable service. Indulge in tapas such as Mejillones Rellenos (crumbed mussels stuffed with tomato and wine sauce) and Croquetas (croquettes with fillings such as goats cheese and spinach) and raciones in a menu that also incorporates some Mexicana (think char grilled rib fillet with guacamole, black beans and corn tortillas). End the night here with a Crema Catalana or more churros for dessert or head back to the Chocolateria for a chocolate nightcap.
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