Few of us go out for breakfast with the frequency that we eat lunch or dinner in a restaurant. Most of us simply don’t have the luxury of time to do it during the week; for many, the first meal of the day may be eaten on the hoof, somewhere between getting dressed for the day and leaving for work.
I can relate to the American journalist/author John Gunther, who said, ‘All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.’ Eating this most important meal in a relaxed fashion sounds to me like a happy start to any day. I say this as someone who once worked on a breakfast radio show and used to shovel down a hasty breakfast before leaving home for work at 4.15am.
Breakfast in Illetas
For a leisurely breakfast in Mallorca that’s not only satisfying and tasty, but also offers authentic flavours of the Balearic Islands, head to the adults-only 5-star Gran Meliá Hotel de Mar in the southwest resort of Illetas. Designed by the renowned architect Jose Antonio Coderch, the iconic hotel has oodles of space for social distancing, and overlooks an idyllic hideaway cove.
Beautiful view from the Arrels by Marga Coll terrace
Balinese beds are calling …
Gran Melia Hotel de Mar – an iconic building
So close to the sea in this large pool at Gran Melia Hotel de Mar
You don’t have to be staying in the hotel to enjoy this morning feast; in fact, a high percentage of those who come for this breakfast actually live on the island.
Hotel director Natalia Seoane (L) and chef Marga Coll (R) – their masks were removed for this photo.
Arrels by Marga Coll is one of the hotel’s restaurants. Marga Coll is well known as the chef/owner of the charming restaurant Miceli in the village of Selva and has created the menu and sourced the ingredients for this five-phase breakfast, which includes drinks.
Gran Meliá Hotel de Mar opened for this complicated 2020 season only on July 28th and the very next morning at 9am I joined Alicia Polo from LUX – The Golf Guide, a group of other gastronomy writers, the hotel director and the director of sales and marketing, for the first breakfast service of the season in Arrels by Marga Coll.
The sea views here are spectacular and make for a pleasurable start to the day—even before the serious business of eating breakfast begins.
The Food & Drink
We started with a selection of fresh seasonal juices, fruits, and yogurt served on a bed of Marga’s mum’s delicious home-made apricot jam.
The second phase was described as pa amb oli: two types of toast served with local Son Mesquidassa extra virgin olive oil, ramallet tomatoes (for rubbing on the bread), a generous selection of cold cuts, cheeses from Mallorca and Menorca, anchovies, and olives, accompanied by a glass of chilled Raor Brut Nature (from Mallorca’s DO Pla i Llevant). Ooh, the delightful decadence of fizz with breakfast!
Next was a selection of assorted traditional savoury pastries: empanadas, cocas, cocarrois; a glass of Mesquida Mora’s red wine Trispol (from Porreres) accompanied these.
I confess that I skipped the fourth phase, which was based on eggs (on which I’m not keen). There’s a choice of fried or poached eggs with potato from Sa Pobla and choice of garnish. Warm bread and the coffee-bean shaped bread roll known as a llonguet accompanied these hot dishes. A glass of Gallinas & Focas red wine accompanied the egg course—appropriate, as gallinas is Spanish for ‘chickens’. This wine is an admirable collaboration between Amadip Esment, an organization for people with mental disabilities, and the winery 4Kilos in Felanitx.
The fifth and final phase was an array of small sweet pastries, including ensaïmada, cremas, and coca de patata. These were served with a glass of Dolç de Gel, a sweet white from Vinyes Mortitx in Escorca, near Pollença. Breakfast ended with coffee or an infusion.
Starting breakfast with juices, fruits, and yogurt
Mallorcan cold cuts and meats for the pa amb oli
Cheeses from Mallorca and Menorca
Anchovies and two types of Mallorcan coca
Choose from a variety of egg dishes, with potato from Sa Pobla
Mallorcan sweet pastries to end the breakfast, served on a Huguet (Campos) tile
Allow yourself two hours to enjoy this breakfast. And if you stand up from the table, gazing longingly at the Balinese beds overlooking the Mediterranean, you may want to check out the special Arrels & Relax packages on offer.
Another favourite quote about the day’s first meal goes, ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.’ After Breakfast at Arrels by Marga Coll, you can forget lunch!
Need to Know
For those nervous about Covid-19, Meliá has the strictest of protocols across its global group. At their Illetas hotel, you’ll find smart hand-sanitizer dispensers (without having to touch anything with your hands) in prominent locations around the property, as just one of the measures in place.
Breakfast at Arrels by Marga Coll costs 54€ per person and includes drinks. The hotel also offers five different Arrels & Relax packages, including one for breakfast, all-day use of a Balinese bed (double), towels, two bottles of water, and a plate of cut fruit. The Balinese bed is available until 7pm. This particular offer costs 175€ for two people, including parking.
Arrels by Marga Coll restaurant also offers an excellent seven-course dinner menu, which changes every day and depends on what takes Marga’s eye when she goes shopping in the market. Read about my visit for dinner in 2017 here.
The hotel has its own private car park and this is free when having breakfast. Available Wednesdays to Sundays, for breakfast ordered between 09:00h and 11:00h.
Jan Edwards ©2020