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Monday, December 9, 2019

Leopoldville 1958 – Le Plein Vent restaurant (suite & fin)

Gentle readers.  For some reason, Blogger won't let me complete the post that follows this one.  I will try to revise it into one posting, but in the interim, please find this conclusion helpful in understanding the main story. Click here: http://kosubaawate.blogspot.com/2019/12/leopoldville-1958-le-plein-vent.html


In the 1980s the Swiss owner of Le Plein Vent decided to sell and the Janmohammed family, which also owned Patisserie Chantilly and Cosy Grill, bought the restaurant.  About the same time, the Zairian government sold the former Vice Governor’s residence on La Raquette to the Swiss government (near what is now the Hotel Fleuve Congo, Aug. 20, 2011) for use as its Embassy.  With the departure of the diplomatic tenant, the building services at the Residence des Flamboyants (as renamed under Authenticité), which included premises of the Tax Office, began to decline and the owners of the fondue restaurant felt they were being burdened with all the maintenance costs.  Certainly, a nighttime visit to the Plein Vent was a memorable experience. The parking area on Ave. Lumpungu was dark and a little dodgy.  The elevator up to the restaurant was dimly lit and shook as though it might plunge down the shaft at any moment. But the doors opened directly into the restaurant, which was bright and immaculate, the service attentive. Because it now opened at night, the views of the river were limited and a renovation in 2006 enclosed the breezy open windows.
Residence Flamboyants in 2018. Le Plein Vent on the top floor (Author coll.)
The interior of Le Plein Vent (Author coll.)
In 2018, the owners of Le Plein Vent decided the challenges of operating the fondue restaurant in the Flamboyant Building were a drag on the business.  They relocated the restaurant to the premises of the former Cosy Grill next to their Chantilly patisserie on Ave. Lukusa. 
An advert for the restaurant shortly before it closed (voila.cd)
Sources:


Bulletin Officiel du Congo Belge, Ministry of the Colonies, Bruxelles. (multiple years)

Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, Smithsonian Institution (www.africa.si.edu)

Japan External Trade Organization, Institute of Developing Economies, “Texaf”. (www.ide.go.jp)

Raymaekers, Jan, 2017. “The Musée de la vie indigene in Leopoldville”,  Academie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer.


University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Digital Photo Archive (www.collections.lib.uwm.edu)

Wikinshasa, Atlas de l’architecture et du paysage urbains (wikinshasa.org)