Repsol awards its ‘Suns’ for 2018

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Eat

The Repsol Guide for 2018 has just been published and it includes all the establishments in Spain awarded with one, two, and three Repsol ‘Soles’ (Suns). The awards are made for ‘culinary excellence, quality of raw materials and their implementation, respect for local cuisine, wine menu, as well as table and dining room service.’

The list for Mallorca is the same as for 2017 but with one addition: Baiben (Gastrobar). Fernando P Arellano – whose restaurant Zaranda at the 5-star Castell Son Claret hotel has two Michelin stars – owns Baiben, which is in the smart southwest-Mallorca marina of Puerto Portals. Its location is enviable, facing luxurious pleasure cruisers moored right in front of the place.

“We are very happy to have this award in our first year,” Itziar Rodríguez – director of Zaranda – told me today. “People have been getting to know us and to receive a Repsol Sol is really important to us. It can be tough in the first year of a new business, but the guys here have done a great job – especially during such a busy summer season.”

Jerome Rohmer (head chef Baiben) and restaurant owner Fernando P Arellano (of 2-Michelin-starred Zaranda)

L-R Jerome Rohmer, head chef of Baiben, with restaurant owner Fernando P Arellano. Photo provided.

For quick reference, here are the establishments with Repsol Suns for 2018:

Two stars

Awarded to restaurants guaranteeing excellent quality in cuisine and service:

  • Andreu Genestra
  • Bou
  • Bens d’Avall
  • El Olivo

    John Dory dish at El Olivo

    I loved this locally caught John Dory with lemongrass sauce, crispy langoustine, and coconut during a dinner at El Olivo in October

  • Jardín
  • Santi Taura Dins
  • Zaranda

One star

Awarded for high-quality cuisine and sufficient variety:

  • Aromata

    Celeriac soup at Aromata

    Cream of smoked celeriac with caramelized figs, and black olive mousse – starter I enjoyed in October as part of the great-value ‘menu del dia’

  • Baiben *NEW FOR 2018*
  • Casa Manolo
  • Ca na Toneta
  • Ca’n Calent
  • Can Toni Moreno
  • Es Racó d’es Teix
  • Flanigan
  • La Forteleza
  • Marc Fosh
  • Sadrassana

©Jan Edwards 2017

TaPalma: follow the tapas routes in Palma, Mallorca

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Eat / tapas

This year’s TaPalma event – a celebration of tapas and cocktails in the Mallorcan capital of Palma – starts this Wednesday, November 15th and continues until Sunday, 19th. Later than usual (it’s previously been in October), it also covers outlying areas of Palma, and the contest to find the best tapa (Concurso TaPalma) and cocktail is being held separately today at the University’s hotel school.

TaPalma 2017

Here’s a quick look at the routes in and around Palma covered by this year’s event, with number of participating establishments shown in brackets:

  • City centre (9)
  • New Mercat 1930 (10)
  • Paseo Marítimo (7)
  • Santa Catalina (4)
  • Génova (2)
  • Marratxí (1)
  • Playa de Palma(2)

Find out which places are taking part and what they are offering here.

Best pinchos and tapas chef in Spain: Igor Rodríguez

It’s official: the Mallorca-based chef Igor Rodríguez has won the 13th Concurso Nacional de Pinchos y Tapas Ciudad de Vallodolid – the national pinchos and tapas competition, which took place in Valladolid last week.

The new champion’s winning creation was ensaïmada de cangrejo de río – a small ensaïmada stuffed with crayfish and tomato. One of 48 competing chefs, Igor combined traditional culinary elements of Mallorca (ensaïmada) and Castilla & Leon (crayfish stew). As a result of winning this competition, Igor will represent Spain next year in the 2nd World Tapas Championship.

Igor Rodriguez's winning tapa in Valladolid

It’s a winner! Photo provided by Aina Solano

Igor, who hails from San Sebastian but has lived in Mallorca for 20 years, has a reputation for his creative tapas.  He won the annual competition to find the best tapa offered at TaPalma in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015; he won the silver award in 2011, and bronze in 2014. Since last year, he’s been president of the competition’s judging panel.

Igor Rodriguez wins pinchos and tapa competition 2017

Igor is the champion! Photo courtesy of Aina Solano

Igor Rodríguez has worked at several well-known restaurants in Mallorca and is now at the stoves of Ham, a restaurant in the Port of Sóller. Here I must admit that I haven’t yet visited this restaurant but…it’s on the list.

Other foodie events this coming weekend

As well as TaPalma over the weekend there are two events taking place outside Palma. On Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th, it’s the Olive Fair in the village of Caimari and on Sunday, the Honey Fair in the small village of Llubí. Sounds like a delicious weekend for us foodies!

©Jan Edwards 2017

Restaurant review: Il Faro by Sascha, Arta

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Chefs / Eat / Restaurants

What makes a restaurant good? It’s a subjective question for sure. I am often asked which is my favourite restaurant in Mallorca and that’s impossible to answer. I do have quite a few I love – and they include some (at the upper end of the price scale) where we’d eat more often if finances permitted.

What these diverse eateries have in common is that they all offer a great overall experience: the food’s really good, the setting is comfortable and attractive, and the service is professional but friendly. Consistency is the key here:  when an accomplished chef leaves for a new job or there’s a regular turnover of front-of-house staff, it can be hard to maintain standards. That’s why quite a few of our favourite places are owned by the chef or have a chef who feels valued enough to want to stay.

Consistency can only be gauged after several visits and, having eaten there four times in the past couple of months, I’m happy to recommend Il Faro by Sascha in Mallorca’s northeastern town of Artà.

The chef/owner Sascha is German and his restaurant was previously located in Artà’s back streets under a different name (Na Creu). He moved his eatery to the town’s semi-pedestrianized main street and the premises of former Italian restaurant Il Faro (meaning ‘the lighthouse’), adding ‘by Sascha’ to the existing name.

The restaurant

During fine weather you can eat at a table on the terrace at the front, people-watching. Indoors has a cosy feel and there was definitely heating on when we visited on Saturday night (when the rain was hammering down outside during a thunderstorm). At the back of the restaurant, next to the bar area, steps lead down to what’s signed as the ‘bodega’, where there are more tables and, in one corner, the kitchen.

The food

If you love a decent steak, Il Faro by Sascha is definitely worth a visit when in Mallorca. Sascha buys premium Australian beef and knows how to cook it to perfection. You can choose sautéed vegetables or salad, and steakhouse fries or rosemary potatoes to go with the meat and there’s a choice of pepper sauce or herb butter.  The 200g fillet is recommended, but if you like your portions larger, there are 250g, 300g, and 350g fillet sizes; the 300g rump steak, or the 350g rib-eye. We don’t eat much meat (especially at home), and 200g was plenty for us.

Other meat dishes include lamb, guinea fowl, liver, and duck. In addition there are wok-cooked dishes, served with rice or Asian pasta, and fish dishes (I’ve enjoyed the delicious grilled salmon with vegetables and mustard and honey sauce).

Veggie? No worries here. Despite this being a recommended option for steak fans, Il Faro by Sascha has wok and salad choices for vegetarians.

Having eaten here a few times, we’ve tried several dishes and have not been disappointed by any. During our last visit – Saturday – we shared a portion of fat Medjool dates wrapped in bacon, served around a tastily-dressed salad. We almost had a fork fight for the last one (one portion was plenty for two, but we were three!).

The wines

Most of the wines at Il Faro by Sascha are from Mallorca, with labels from the island’s two official DOs (Pla i Llevant and Binissalem), as well as Vi de la Terra wines. The other wines are from the Peninsula. We found the prices reasonable for the quality of this restaurant, for example: Ribas Blanc (21€ bottle), Mortitx Flaires (21€), and Son Fangos (organic, 21€). Some list wines are available by the glass and there are also house wines (white, rosé, and red) for 3,10€ a glass.

The service

We’ve seen only female servers during our visits so far. Our experience of the service has been good, but one person – Carmen – stands out for her friendliness and sweet nature. She greets everyone like a respected old friend, with a hug or an affectionate rub of the arm where appropriate. When I took my father and uncle (both widowers) during their week’s holiday in September, they were so enchanted by her that we had to return another night for dinner. Carmen is a real gem and, if you’re eating alone for any reason, you won’t feel like Billy No-Mates at Il Faro by Sascha. 

Note

Being German-owned and in an area that’s popular with Germans, the website for Il Faro by Sascha is in German only. Don’t let that put you off going if you are not German-speaking.

Prices correct at time of writing.

©Jan Edwards 2017 

Review: Restaurant Arrels by Marga Coll

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Eat / Sleep

Summers – even long ones – always pass too quickly on Mallorca. I had been intending to visit Arrels by Marga Coll for months but suddenly this seasonal restaurant located within the 5-star Gran Meliá de Mar in Mallorca’s southwest resort of Illetas was about to close for the winter. We just made it in time on Friday as it was the penultimate service of the season.

We’ve never stayed at this adults-only hotel, but it’s on the (growing) list to try. It has a privileged location on a promontory, with its own small cove and beautiful views of the Bay of Palma. The building itself is an icon in Illetas: the Hotel del Mar first opened in May 1964; in 1968 Sol Meliá had 50 per cent ownership and a few years later the hotel became a part of the prestigious Mallorcan hotel group. Upgraded to a Gran Meliá hotel a few years ago, it also has a Clarins Spa and choice of restaurants amongst the reasons to stay here.

The cuisine at Arrels by Marga Coll is Mallorcan. Marga also has her own restaurant – Miceli – in the village of Selva (a couple of kilometres from Inca). For both restaurants, Marga bases her dishes for any day on the fresh produce she buys at the market that morning; the menus change daily.

Our dinner at Arrels by Marga Coll

 

We ate al fresco on Friday evening. It was still just about warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the views of lights twinkling around the bay. A waiter kindly brought me a blanket, just in case I became chilly later – although it wasn’t needed. The service was very good and friendly; you’d never have guessed that the team was probably counting down the hours to their holidays.

Our server brought us a small red notebook each, in which the day’s tasting menu was handwritten. There was something about this idea I really loved – and not just because, as a writer, I can’t resist notebooks; it seemed more personal than perusing a printed menu or screen-swiping on an electronic device. And it gave us a chance to tell our server in advance if there was anything we didn’t like or couldn’t eat. In fact when I’d phoned to book the table I had been asked whether we had an allergies or dislikes and they had already noted The Boss’s dislike of garlic. Top marks.

Menu written in notebook at Arrels by Marga Coll

Handwritten menu (also available in English)

Other things we liked: the small tiles used as side plates for the delicious bread made on the premises; the tiles were handmade made by Huguet, a company in Campos that has been manufacturing hydraulic tiles by hand since 1933. The tables were simply decorated – each one had a pristine yellow pepper sitting on a dish and a small nightlight – and the chairs were comfortable. The food was served on hot dishes – particularly important when eating al fresco.  And did I mention the delicious bread?

We opted for the five-course tasting menu (43€) although we could have had an additional two courses, for a price supplement. We enjoyed all of the dishes (including the appetizer and petits fours, not photographed) and it made us determined to visit Miceli again soon (it’s been too long). And to return to Arrels by Marga Coll and the Gran Meliá de Mar* in 2018.

*Gran Meliá de Mar re-opens on April 6th, 2018.

©Jan Edwards 2017

Learning to cook vegan food in Mallorca

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Eat / Vegetarian/Vegan

Did you know that Mallorca was named the ‘number one vegan holiday destination’ by The Vegan Society UK (back in 2015)?

When we first moved here in 2004, even finding good vegetarian cuisine in restaurants (other than in a few places) was a head-scratching challenge. Today most good restaurants offer some vegetarian dishes – a far cry from the time some visiting UK friends of ours were presented with a plate of grey overcooked cauliflower as ‘the vegetarian option’! On ordering a vegetarian burger elsewhere here, the same friends received a burger bun full of lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Nada más.

In Mallorca, anyone avoiding all animal products will find vegan places to stay, stores selling vegan food and ingredients, the fab Bagel café in Palma (where the two owners are vegans), and a growing number of restaurants and other eateries offering alternatives for vegans. The Kitchen in Palma, for example, offers a separate vegan menu.

Cooking at home

Although I’m not a vegan and often enjoy meat or fish dishes when eating out, I am reducing the amount of animal products I use in my own cooking because scientific evidence points to the health benefits of doing so. I’ve seen and tasted dishes in restaurants in Palma and elsewhere in Mallorca proving that ‘tempting’, ‘creative’, and ‘delicious’ aren’t adjectives reserved only for dishes containing meat, fish, or dairy products. I wanted to learn more about vegan cooking at home and what better place for that than Mallorca? It’s the location of the impressive Vegan Culinary Academy in Palma – which attracts people from around the world.

The Academy offers a range of different courses at their premises but I attended their recent ‘Introduction to Vegan Cuisine’ at EHIB (the Balearic Islands’ hotel school) with my friend Sandra who, with her partner, owns and operates the yacht charter business Captain Cook. Sandra cooks the delicious cuisine their guests enjoy and had told me of a number of requests for vegan food; she wanted to be able to offer something more creative for any vegan guests. Hey, we’re a couple of gals who love anything to do with food and cooking, so why wouldn’t we sign up? The affordable event cost just 15€ a head (5€ for students), including the dishes we ate and the recipe details which were sent to us afterwards.

Nutritional yeast?

Stephanie Prather and assistants Natasha and Lupe from the Academy led the event, which began with some interesting information about veganism, before three different dishes were created in front of us. Some of the students volunteered for a hands-on role in the preparation and we all had the chance to try the three dishes at the end of the evening. I was pleasantly surprised at the delicious flavours that could be achieved with the aid of those mysterious vegan ingredients – such as BAYXN and nutritional yeast (I had no idea what either was before this event).

Stephanie Prather and Manuel Lynch moved from the States to Mallorca, founding their Vegan Culinary Academy here; my impression is that they have been the driving force in spreading awareness of veganism on the island. As Stephanie mentioned in her introductory talk, one of their goals is to see vegan dishes available in every restaurant on the island and many of the students who attended this event will eventually play a part in achieving that.

The verdict

I’ll admit that I had expected Stephanie to be a bit earnest in her delivery but, although on a serious mission, she’s a fun instructor who knows how to hold the attention of her audience. No wonder she has been so influential on the island. I really liked her and can only admire what she and the Academy have achieved on this beautiful island in the Mediterranean.

The good news – if you don’t happen to be in Mallorca or planning a visit – is that some of their various courses are now offered online. Check out the Vegan Culinary Academy website or their Facebook page for details. It could just be the start of something life-changing…

FOOTNOTE: I drafted this post yesterday and, last night, we met the above-mentioned veggie friends from the UK in Puerto Pollensa, where they’re staying in a rented villa for a holiday. We had dinner in a restaurant called Centric, on the recommendation of one of their friends. And this modest little eatery – which serves pretty decent Mediterranean food – has a vegan section on its menu! Stephanie would be proud of you, Centric.

©Jan Edwards 2017

Manacor’s artisan beer fair: Tast Cervesa Artesana

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Drink / Eat / tapas

Fans of Mallorcan craft beers may be interested to learn that the third edition of the Tast Cervesa Artesana takes place in the centre of Manacor this Saturday, October 21st, 2017. The event has a new venue this year: Plaça Sant Jaume, with a start time of 19:00h.

This year’s beers on offer will be from the following local artisan breweries:

Toutatis, Sulleric, Cas Cerveser, Beer Lovers, and Forastera.

Glasses of beer

Craft brews to try from Cas Cerveser

The event also includes the sale of tasty tapas, created by these Manacor businesses:

  • Apolo
  • Ca’n Florit
  • Sa Clova
  • Es Claustre
  • El Palau
El Palau owner ready to serve tapas

Nofre, the owner of El Palau

Read about last year’s Tast Cervesa Artesana here.

©Jan Edwards 2017

Review of Spot restaurant in Palma

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Drink / Eat

EatDrinkSleepMallorca was recently invited to try a new eating-out spot in the Santa Catalina district of Mallorca’s capital, Palma. Or perhaps that should be the new eating-out Spot – since that is the name of the restaurant.

Spot is located in premises previously occupied by the business BConnected, which had a showroom for trendy furniture and interior accessories here. Now the spacious building is home to this informal restaurant serving freshly made Mediterranean cuisine with some international touches. It’s a place where you can come for a coffee in the morning, a drink at any time of day, lunch, or dinner.

Spot is part of the restaurant group En Compañía de Lobos (Spanish for ‘in the company of wolves’) which also has seven restaurants in Barcelona and two in Madrid. This is their first in Mallorca. It’s not a chain: the restaurants are individually named and different from each other in both setting, style, and cuisine; the menus are all devised by the group’s executive chef Marcelino Jiménez.

We went for lunch. Spot is easy to find as it’s on one side of the Sant Magí church. Street parking is usually possible in the area (but buy a parking ticket from a meter if you’re there during the payment period).

The place

A black-iron wood-burning oven and a pile of logs beneath it were the first thing we noticed: they’re in a small foyer to the right of the restaurant entrance.  With the doors open, as they were, we could see the chefs working in the kitchen beyond the foyer. Wood smoke is one of my favourite aromas, so Spot almost had me before I’d even gone in!

Entering Spot, you’re in an area of tables where you can sit and just have a drink. The open front (when the weather is fine) gives the feel of being outdoors. Beyond this is the eating area and a large bar and counter (with high chairs for those who like to see a bit of prep-action while they’re eating or drinking).

Tables are a mix of round and rectangular and are well spaced, thanks to the size of the premises. We chose a rectangular table at the rear of the restaurant – where the large windows offer views of a small verdant courtyard with a couple of citrus trees (no al fresco eating though).

Mallorca is reflected in the Mediterranean décor, which includes fabrics, tiles, and ceramics from the island – although the interior design team was the Barcelona-based Tarruella Trenchs Studio. The result is informal, contemporary, and comfortable.

The food

The menu (also available in English, if you don’t speak Spanish) is split into the following sections: To share; pastas; greens, soups, & salads; pizza (from that wood-fired oven), and del mund (from the world). The menu is marked with different-coloured spots to indicate dishes that contain meat, fish, or neither. Vegetarians have a choice of four sharing dishes, two pastas, six from the greens, soups, & salads, and three pizzas.

Alex, the manager, recommended that we try the sharing dish tortita with tuna sashimi, avocado and chipotle mayonnaise (three pieces for 9€). This is the only dish that appears on all the group’s restaurant menus and we felt we had to try it.

We also shared some other dishes, including something I hadn’t seen before on the island: black pizza made in the wood-fired oven (14€, but large enough to share if you’re having something else too). The base was made from the trendy gastro-ingredient activated charcoal (food grade, of course), and topped with fresh fig, the French cheese Morbier, local black sausage, and rocket. OK, it may look as though the wood-fired oven got a little overheated, but it doesn’t taste burnt!

The bread was another noteworthy item here: made with olive oil, it had a good crunchy crust (baked in the wood-fired oven). If you want to dip it in olive oil, be sure to ask for the oil, as no condiments were on the tables during our visit. If they sold the loaves to take home, I’d have bought one.

The wines

The list includes Mallorcan wines, as well as labels from the Peninsula, some of which are available by the glass. Prices seemed reasonable, for example, a bottle of the Mallorcan Obac from Bodega Binigrau, was listed as 24€. The Boss opted for an alcohol-free beer (he was driving) and I had a glass of Bodegas Angel’s Atac (white), at a fair price of 3,50€.

Would we return?

Yes, most definitely. We enjoyed the tasty food, which seemed to be made from good-quality ingredients, and the ambience of the place. My only small criticism was that the music (clearly from a decent sound system through ceiling-mounted Bose speakers around the place) was a little too loud for easy conversation. Great choice of  tunes though!

Spot has the vibe of a place to be enjoyed with a group of friends, sharing several dishes in that lovely convivial way that’s part of the lifestyle when eating out on the island of Mallorca.

©Jan Edwards 2017

Foraged fruits in Mallorca

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Eat

Earlier this week we went hiking with our Dutch friends in the Orient valley – a truly beautiful part of rural Mallorca. As we kicked our way through fallen leaves on a forested path, we spotted several varieties of fungus – including a few that looked like something you’d find in a greengrocer’s.

Know what you’re doing

I love the idea of foraging: the searching, the gathering, and then using nature’s free gifts at home in the kitchen. But it’s vital to know what’s edible and what’s likely to land you in hospital (or worse still, the mortuary). As we spotted various different types of fungus, our friends told us a truly horrific story about someone they knew who had eaten some innocent-looking wild mushrooms they had gathered. No. Don’t be tempted by any wild fungi if you’re not 100% sure that they’re edible.

A wild fruit you can eat

Further along the forest path we saw an arbutus or, to give it its common name in English, a strawberry tree. This tree’s pretty little fruits – known in Spain as madroños – are edible, although I hear they don’t have much flavour. Still shaken from the horrors of the mushroom story, I chickened out of trying one.

Back at home, wondering how these abundant autumn fruits could be used in the kitchen, I did a little research. I found a photograph of a dessert Chocolate con madroños, which was on the menu at Tomeu Restaurant at the Hotel Sant Jaume in Palma earlier this week. Not sure if it’s still on offer, but the photo on Tomeu Restaurant’s Instagram page makes it look very appealing. Could be time for another visit to this relatively new (and excellent) restaurant…

©Jan Edwards 2017

Experience Andreu Genestra’s cuisine at Bistro Senzill

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Drink / Eat

If you like to eat at Michelin-starred restaurants on your travels and have visited Mallorca, chances are you’ve eaten at the excellent Andreu Genestra, named after its chef and proprietor. This restaurant has held one Michelin star since 2015 and much of the delicious creative cuisine is based on produce grown on the land adjoining the rural Hotel Predi de Son Jaumell (Capdepera), where it’s located under Andreu’s arrangement with the hotel owners.

But if your funds won’t stretch to a Michelin-starred splurge, I’d like to recommend the hotel’s other restaurant – also under Andreu’s control. After enjoying dinner there with friends visiting from the UK, we made a return visit recently for an al fresco dinner at Bistro Senzill. Again, we sat on the wisteria-covered terrace, which must look stunning when the climbing plant is in flower (a good excuse to return – not that one is needed!). The bistro is also open for lunch and some dishes are available throughout the afternoon from 12:30-18:30h.

The food

The menu has various sections: ‘Senzill Moment’, ‘Sharing Platters’ (available from 12:30-18:30h), ‘Our Specialities’,  ‘Josper Section’,  ‘Senzill’s Garden’ and ‘Sweet Sighs’. If that’s not enough choice, check out the ‘Suggestions’ menu and the four-course tasting menu.  The varied cuisine should offer something to suit most people, including vegetarians – as you would expect in a hotel that clearly has international appeal.

We started our dinner by sharing a portion of the Lebanese fattoush with marinated red tuna and Mallorcan cheese (15€) and samosas of red shrimp from Cala Rajada with sweet-and-sour yogurt (12€). We had already tucked into a selection of delicious home-made bread, which came with flavoured butter. The fresh-tasting fattoush was a generous portion and we had three well-filled samosas.

Bistro Senzill has a tandoor oven and, as a fan of good Indian cuisine, I couldn’t resist the tandoori sea bass with biryani rice (26€), which deliciously surpassed my expectations. (Andreu Genestra loves spices and, during his last visit to India, must have boosted the country’s spice trade before returning to Mallorca). Our very good dinner ended with us sharing the goat’s cheese ice cream with spicy honey and carrot cake (6€).

Wines & spirits

If you’re not driving, I’d recommend a pre-meal G&T, made from the cleverly named gin Ginestra (12€). It’s made by the Mallorcan drinks company Tunel (which makes the famous green liqueur known as ‘hierbas’) to the recipe created by Andreu and his knowledgeable restaurant maître d’ David.

The wine list at Bistro Senzill features wines from Mallorca and the Peninsula, with organic and biodynamic wines marked as such.  Helpfully, the white wines are divided into categories: fruity, light, & dry; intense & perfumed, and structured & aged in oak barrels. The reds are categorised as: young, fruit, & fresh; medium body, and powerful, rich & aged in oak barrels.

You may not be surprised to learn that the enterprising Andreu also has his own wines (and vines). The four wines on the list when we visited were Genestral Blanc, Genestral Rosé, Genestral Negre Jove, and Genestral Negre Criança. With the exception of the latter, these are also available by the glass (5€). If you eat at Andreu’s excellent-value Palma restaurant Aromata, you’ll find his wines there too.  (By the way, a three-course lunch at Aromata costs 15,50 euros – which includes bread and a glass of wine, beer, or water. For the quality, it is a genuine bargain).

Worth a return (or first) visit

As well as the relaxing ambience, attractive setting, and good food and drink, we had pleasant efficient service at Bistro Senzill; it all added up to one of those evenings that stick in the memory for all the right reasons. The hotel (including its two restaurants) is due to close mid-November for the winter break, so there’s still time to try Andreu Genestra‘s Bistro Senzill this season in Mallorca.

Prices correct at time of writing.

©Jan Edwards 2017

A third location for Palma’s Can Joan de s’Aigo

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Bakeries / Cafes and bars / Drink / Eat

Mallorca’s capital Palma has lost quite a few well-established businesses in recent months – many of them traditional cafés, bars, or bakeries. We said goodbye to Café Lírico in spring and, just a few weeks ago, Bar Cristal in Plaça d’Espanya closed; the latter had been founded in 1930 and managed by the same family since 1955. Over the past decade, more than 30 bakeries in Palma have shut their doors for good. This year’s closures have included El Forn (mallorquín for oven) des Paners, Pasteleria Llull, and Forn d’es Teatre (probably one of the most-photographed shop fronts in the city).

Old bakery in Palma

One of many bakeries to close its doors

Palma’s changing commercial centre

Reasons for the closure of these family-owned businesses include retirement (with no younger members of the family willing to continue the business), growth in supermarket shopping (impacting on traditional bakeries), and – the biggie – increased commercial property rents. International chains including Starbucks and McDonald’s have opened in the city (sadly, IMHO) and, recognizing that the Big Boys are prepared to pay top dollar (or euro) for a presence in Palma, some commercial property owners have hiked up rents to the extent that it’s no longer viable for some local traders to continue in business.

Can Joan de s'Aigo interior

Traditional details in Can Joan de s’Aigo’s C/ de Sans premises

Local business bucking the trend

People saddened by the increasing loss of traditional local businesses in Mallorca’s capital have welcomed recent news from Can Joan de s’Aigo (founded here in the 18th century). The café/bakery/ice-cream parlour is to open a third branch in Palma, in an architecturally interesting building that once housed the emblematic El Triquet bar but, more recently, a fashion store.  Its prime location on the corner of the Avenidas (inner ring road) and C/ Sindicat will make it more visible to passing visitors and locals than its existing branches in C/ de Sans and Baró de Santa Maria del Sepulcre.

The new Can Joan de s’Aigo is expected to open after Christmas 2017. Read more about the business and its branch in C/ de Sans here.

Update: When I wrote this post, little did I know that Palma was about to lose another traditional café/bar. Bar Cristal’s neighbour, Cafe 1916 – where we have had many coffees over the years – closed down at the end of September. The nature of Plaça d’Espanya continues to change…and sadly not for the better.

©Jan Edwards 2017