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Miró: A Cafe of Surrealist Delights

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Running in Tirana, the capital of Albania, I was halted in my tracks when this cafe caught my eye -- Miró.

For my 32nd birthday, James agreed to accompany me to this cafe named after the Spanish surrealist painter, sculptor and ceramic artist, Joan Miró I Ferrà. Our lovely and hospitable waitress with the Arabic tattoo, which symbolically represented the word for, "Soul," said the building was originally supposed to be named after Monet, but the name was already taken.

My late step-father was fond of Miró's work, and had a coffee mug with his famous Woman Haunted by the Passage of the Bird-Dragonfly Omen of Bad News oil painting printed upon it. I have the coffee mug in storage somewhere. Mum always thought it was weird; I did too, at first, but over the years, Surrealism has grown on me, and rooted itself deeply into the psychoanalytic parts of my brain.

In my private counseling office, I had a print of Miró's Ciphers and Constellations, in Love with a Woman hanging above the patients' traditional analytic swan-necked chaise. Clients would speculate on its significance. Some would see eyes, phalluses, stars, whales, scorpions, owls, the devil... It proved a fantastic ice-breaker and talking point to ease into each session's theme or provoke a lively Rorschach perception tête-à-tête.

Joan Miró's paintin gin my office. Ciphers and Constellations...
My old office, with Miró's artwork above the patients' swan-necked chaise.

Back to the cafe-restaurant.

Upon my mentioning I was vegan, the Woman with the Soul Tattoo offered to customize and adapt elements of dishes to create something uniquely delicious for me. She presented several options off the top of her head: A Mediterranean quinoa salad, topped with falafel or a falafel burger.

Vegan quinoa at Miro in Tirana.
Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa.

Vegetarian-avocado toast at Miro in Tirana.
James' vegetarian-avocado toast.

My husband (a vegetarian) also enjoyed, immensely, his stack of decadent maple syrup glazed pancakes with sliced bananas and toast.

Vegetarian pancakes at Miro in Tirana.
A tower of vegetarian pancakes, with a smattering of powdered sugar, sandwiching bananas.

Mountain tea in Miro.
Mountain tea, also known as Çaj Mali (pronounced as 'ts-jai mali') in Albania.

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