Travel safely through Palma Airport

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General
Suitcase and sunhat

Ready for a holiday…Mallorca here we come!

Mallorca is generally a safe island but, as in any destination that attracts a lot of tourists, it pays to be vigilant – particularly at times when you are most vulnerable or distracted. One such time is at the airport: you may arrive tired, be thinking about the onward journey to your holiday accommodation, or distracted by others travelling with you (“Mum, Dad, are we nearly there yet?”)

When I received an offer of the following infographic from Nicola Griffin, senior editor of the Palma Airport website team, I thought it was worth sharing the information here. The advice is, of course, applicable when travelling through any airport around the world – not just Palma.

One scam worth mentioning in more detail is that of imposter security officers in the vicinity of the airport. If anyone looking official in a uniform stops you and demands an on-the-spot fine for whatever, insist on seeing their official identification. If necessary, call the local Palma police on +34 971 789 245 or demand to see someone from the Guardia Civil.

Over the past 14 years we have made countless trips to Palma Airport in connection with friends and family visiting us and none of these have had any problems there. But it never hurts to be extra careful when you’re in a busy airport…

For more information about Palma Airport, check out their comprehensive website here.

Safe travels and happy holidays!

Matthew Williamson designs for Belmond La Residencia

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Hotels / Sleep

Deià – one of Mallorca’s picturesque mountain villages – is renowned for attracting creative people, including musicians, writers, artists, and designers. One such person, who bought a home in the village last year, soon put his creative stamp on his new neighbourhood: the renowned British designer Matthew Williamson created the vibrant interior for Deià’s Nama Bar last summer.

The 5-star Belmond La Residencia, in the heart of the village, also commissioned Williamson to work his design magic on their new Suite 67 – which was inaugurated last week. When it comes to hotel suites on the island of Mallorca, this is surely one of the stand-out offerings.

Botanical escapism

The one-bedroom Suite 67 has an outdoor snug, private pool and garden, luxurious living space, and vibrant bathroom. Williamson took his inspiration from the hotel’s superb gardens and created an interior space where guests can feel connected to their natural surroundings. His signature wallpaper, Rosanna Trellis, and decorative upholstery fabrics feature in the living space, and a vintage roll-top bath is a feature of Suite 67’s bathroom. Think rustic decadence and romance.

Here are a few glimpses of what awaits guests staying at Suite 67 at Belmond La Residencia (photos courtesy of hotel). However, Matthew will not be relaxing on your sofa!

Matthew Williamson’s interiors projects include the courtyard garden at London’s Blakes Hotel and the romantic bridal suite at Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire. He designs wallpapers and fabrics for Osborne & Little, furniture with Duresta, and rugs for The Rug Company. Look out for his range of room scents (floral, I imagine) and candles, launching this summer.

Jan Edwards ©2018

Olive oil in a cocktail? Try this one from Andreu Genestar

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Drink

 

Vent de Gregal at Gremium cocktail bar

Vent de Gregal

Mallorca’s best-quality extra virgin olive oils have the Denomination of Origin Oli de Mallorca and every year the regulatory council of the DO chooses a mixologist on the island to create an exclusive cocktail, with olive oil as an ingredient.

This year the honour fell to Andreu Genestar, the charming mixologist at Gremium – the cocktail bar at Es Princep hotel in Palma. Oli de Mallorca invited me to the launch of the new cocktail – an event held in the new bar. Just a week after we’d stayed overnight in the hotel, I was unexpectedly back for a few hours, with other members of the local media and invited guests, to taste the cocktail.

Andreu named his creation Vent de Gregal (this northeast wind is characteristic of the Balearics) and blends Mallorcan extra virgin olive oil with local ingredients, including orange and lemon juices from Sóller and honey. It was surprisingly delicious and, if you’re in this area of Palma, I can recommend a visit to try this well-balanced cocktail now on offer at Gremium.

A winning oil

On the subject of Mallorca’s choice of delicious extra virgin olive oils, Es Roquissar – produced on the Son Moragues estate in Valldemossa – recently won a silver award at the prestigious New York International Olive Oil Competition. The organic oil is made with the Mallorcan olive variety known as empeltre, which grow in the highest parts of the Serra de Tramuntana estate. This  year’s competition featured 905 oils from 27 countries.

Jan Edwards ©2018

Review of new Palma boutique hotel Es Princep

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Drink / Eat / Hotels / Sleep

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choice of boutique hotels in Palma. Five new ones have already opened in the city this year; two more are scheduled to open by the end of 2018 – by which time Mallorca’s capital will have 28 boutique hotels.

The largest of the new boutique hotels is in the Sa Calatrava district of Palma’s Old Town – a mainly residential area. The independently owned 5-star hotel Es Princep has 68 rooms and suites and opened on February 1st. It’s Palma’s closest boutique hotel to the Mediterranean Sea, with a privileged elevated position alongside the restored ancient city wall known as the Baluard del Princep. And it’s the only Palma hotel that’s a member of the prestigious collection The Leading Hotels of the World.

Reception team at the hospitable Es Princep in Palma

Warm smiles to greet us – and check out that floral arrangement!

We stayed for one night – our 14th anniversary of moving to Mallorca – in a ‘double premium’ room on the third floor. Our first impression of the place was the reception team’s warm greeting on arrival. This impression of warm hospitality was reinforced by every other member of the hotel’s enthusiastic young team during our one-night stay.

The staff member who checked us in offered us a welcome drink and we accepted a glass of cava. Sitting in the elegant lounge area – where there are velvet-covered chairs, leather Chesterfields, and shelves of gorgeous coffee table books – we sipped and took in the details around us.

Lounge Es Princep, Palma

Take a seat…there’s plenty to read here

Flowers. Abundant floral arrangements grace Es Princep, bringing a touch of nature into the building. The hotel décor is elegant but not fussy; natural materials – wood, leather, and stone – are key elements of the interior and are typically used in Mallorcan country properties. This largely residential area of Palma was once the location of leather workers and there’s evidence of that within the hotel. I’m not going to reveal in this post what it is, but I can tell you I was absolutely fascinated when I saw it.

Welcome to room 310

Our room was everything we’d hoped for and would expect in a 5-star hotel: high-quality stylish furnishings and fittings; all the conveniences that you need when staying away from home; Bluetooth connection if you want to play music from your own device through the room’s speaker; bathroom scales (I left those untouched), and a super-duper rain-style shower. The bed was huge and exceptionally comfortable, but what made the greatest initial impression was the astonishing view.

The full-length window provides a panoramic view of the Bay of Palma and the pleasant area between hotel and the seafront road. Although we’d expected to experience some traffic noise from the latter, we were pleasantly surprised. With the window closed we couldn’t hear the traffic and, even when we opened the window, the sound was muted by the trees down in front of the building.

Up on the roof

We then explored the ‘Amaq’ roof terrace, which must surely be the largest in Palma (apparently 800 sqm) – with a bar for snacks and drinks, plenty of places to sunbathe, parasols, tables and chairs, and a pool for refreshing dips. The entire terrace has a wrap-around glass barrier which ensures that the view is uninterrupted and reduces sound from below. The view from here is breathtaking and we sat for some time gazing out over the Bay, along the seafront itself, and at the higgledy piggledy patchwork of rooftops in the old town. It almost feels as though you’re floating above Palma…

Eats and drinks

Es Princep has two restaurants: Mura and Bala Roja. The latter is destined to become a dining-out hotspot in Palma because the culinary maestro behind it is the Mallorcan chef Andreu Genestra (whose eponymous one-Michelin star restaurant is in Capdepera). Unfortunately Bala Roja wasn’t due to open for a few days so we missed the opportunity to try it, but we did have dinner in Mura – and enjoyed it (particularly the chocolate dessert!).

After dinner, we visited Gremium – the hotel’s smart but comfortable cocktail bar – where the mixologist whipped up an alcohol-free version of ‘Red love’, one of the signature cocktails by mixologist Andreu Genestar (not a spelling error – the two maestros have almost identical names!).

Breakfast the next morning was a generous and varied buffet, with visual appeal. A freshly cooked breakfast was also available. I particularly liked the variety of breads and preserves on offer, the table of tempting sweet pastries, and the individual portions of breakfast cereals in cellophane bags. Fresh local orange juice flowed generously too.

During our visit we didn’t visit the Coco spa or, of course, Bala Roja, but now we have the perfect excuse to return. Not that we need one.

What is a boutique hotel?

Out of interest, I researched a definition of ’boutique hotel’ and, according to Xotel, the international hotel management specialists, the following are a few of the characteristics – quoted from their website:

  • 10 to 100 rooms, with a sense of privacy and intimacy.
  • Architecture and interior design are unique and upscale, with décor, aesthetics, and attention to detail typical of these properties.
  • True to their heritage, they celebrate the local flavour.
  • Exceptional and highly personalized service is crucial.
  • High-quality, locally sourced, authentic cuisine.
  • Clientele as individual as the hotels themselves: from Baby Boomers to Millenials – smart, fashionable, and chic.

All of the above apply to Es Princep – the ‘new kid on the block’ that satisfies all my requirements of a perfect boutique hotel.

Jan Edwards ©2018

Where to have lunch in tranquil rural southwest Mallorca

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Eat / Hotels / Restaurants / Sleep
Front view of Castell Son Claret

Destination Olivera restaurant at Castell Son Claret

Palma is currently enjoying a lot of attention as a gastronomic short-break destination, but you don’t have to be in Mallorca’s capital to find great cuisine. How about lunch out in a stunning rural hotel in the southwest of Mallorca?

The 2018 season looks set to be another good one for the tourism industry. In 2017, the number of overseas visitors to Mallorca increased by 5.3 per cent – with the largest increases being recorded in visitors from northern European countries such as Finland, Holland, Norway, and Sweden.

If you want to escape the bustle of Palma for a while and find a peaceful place to enjoy a leisurely lunch, I can recommend the 5-star hotel Castell Son Claret, located in open countryside near the village of Es Capdellà.

Restaurants at Castell Son Claret

The hotel has two restaurants: the superb 2-Michelin-starred Zaranda (open only for dinner and offering a choice of three new tasting menus for this year) and Olivera. If your budget won’t stretch to Michelin-starred dining (like mine at the moment), Olivera is a great option because Fernando Arellano – the culinary genius behind Zaranda – has overall responsibility for both restaurants.

Chef Pep Forteza leads the kitchen brigade at Olivera and has worked with Fernando since the latter moved Zaranda from Madrid to Mallorca. The Boss and I have stayed quite a few times at this hotel for personal celebrations and have always eaten dinner in Olivera. The restaurant itself has simple but elegant décor, the service is attentive and friendly and, in fine weather, you can eat on the gorgeous terrace with its views of the pool and Serra de Tramuntana mountains. Oh, and the food’s delicious and makes good use of some of the large estate’s fresh produce.

One of my favourite things about this hotel is the in-house bakery, which produces the wide variety of breads and rolls offered in the hotel. I have a huge weakness for good bread – and breakfast after an overnight stay in the hotel is a real treat!

A look at some of the new Olivera dishes

Several new dishes have been added to the Olivera menu for 2018 and you can see some of them below. The cuisine is mainly Mediterranean with some international influences and several of the dishes are presented on tableware created especially for the hotel. Eat from the lunchtime à la carte menu or opt for the chef’s three-course lunch menu for 35 euros (available Monday to Friday).

Castell Son Claret has an excellent wine cellar, with around 600 references, curated by sommelier Sebastián Longo – who won an award earlier this year. During my recent visit I tried some new Mallorcan wines that were not yet on the general market, from Selva Vins. If you’re driving or don’t want to drink alcohol, do try one of the hotel’s exclusive alcohol-free cocktails. You can feel pretty smug drinking these: not only are they good for you, they also taste fresh and delicious – and make an impressive addition to any Instagram account!

 

New at the hotel for this season

Castell Son Claret hotel celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and, during its 2017/18 winter closure, made a number of improvements. New terraces and balconies have been added to a number of suites, the outdoor bar on the Olivera restaurant terrace has been upgraded, and a new refreshment bar and enlarged sunbathing area have been added at the outdoor pool. In addition, three new pool suites are being constructed in the grounds of the estate, although these may not be ready for guests until 2019.

CASTELL CLASSICS 2018: 

For the past two summers we have attended one of these memorable operatic events at the hotel. This year’s Castell Classics are as follows:

June 9th – Accademia Teatro alla Scalla

July 5th – Young Singers of the Salzburg Festival

August 11th – A summer evening with Egyptian opera star Fatma Said (performing for the first time in Mallorca) and Puerto Rican tenor Joel Prieto.

©Jan Edwards 2018

Review: Spanish Sunday lunch in Palma

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Eat / Restaurants
Slogan about Sunday lunch

Sounds good to me!

Soon after moving from the UK to Mallorca, we realized the importance here of Sunday lunch. Families eat together on Sunday lunchtime, either at home or in a restaurant. Our valley sees little traffic during the week and Sunday is probably the busiest day, because grown-up offspring return to their family homes for lunch.

Tip: if you’re coming to Mallorca on holiday and want to eat lunch out on a Sunday, it’s best to book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.

We recently tried the new Spanish Lunch served on Sundays at the 5-star Gran Meliá Victoria hotel in Palma. We had stayed at the hotel for one of our first holidays together quite a few years ago, so it was something of a nostalgic visit.

Pre-lunch drink and snacks with a Bay of Palma view

The new Spanish Lunch at the Gran Meliá Victoria hotel begins on the huge terrace where you’ll find the open-air Dry Bar by Javier de las Muelas. It’s above street level, with spectacular views over the Bay of Palma. We sipped a glass of cava and enjoyed a generous platter of charcuterie and cheeses as we relaxed on plump-cushioned sofas, listening to a musician playing Spanish guitar music. It made me wish I’d kept up my guitar lessons…

Lunch itself was indoors – although I imagine it will be on the terrace dining area once the weather warms up. We began by helping ourselves to the array of starters on display. I don’t mind going to choose from a buffet if the food looks good and the spread is maintained in pristine condition; it was here.

The main course is ordered from the menu and is cooked to order on the grill in the kitchen and served at your table. We had a meat choice of 45-day-aged 1kg T-bone steak (for two) or 45-day-aged 200g fillet steak, served with a choice of green peppercorn or blue-cheese sauce (in my case, no sauce). Fish choices were BBQ’d cod fillet or grilled Galician octopus.

I can highly recommend having a dessert here. The dessert buffet includes some exquisite patisserie from talented pâtissier Lluís Pérez, whose business at Palma’s C/ Bonaire (no. 14) opened in 2015.

Tip: If you’re not in Palma on a Sunday for the new Spanish Lunch at Gran Meliá Victoria, be sure to call at Lluís’s gorgeous shop. You can have a coffee or tea (the latter served in pretty bone china) on the premises and indulge in something that’s been made in the kitchen at the rear of the premises.

Spanish Lunch, but English spoken

The hotel’s international clientele includes a lot of British people and there’s no problem if you don’t speak Spanish. In fact, the executive assistant manager here is English and worked at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London before moving here last summer. One of the charming Spanish waiters told me they call him ‘the professor’ because he is helping them to improve their English!

The elegant Gran Meliá Victoria has an impressive location and it’s usually possible to find a parking spot along the Paseo Marítimo (free of charge). As we did, you may want to follow this thoroughly enjoyable lunch with a leisurely afternoon stroll along the waterfront. Or you may prefer to do what the Spanish call sobremesa: relaxing and chatting with your companions at the table after lunch is finished. It’s what Sundays are for.

To book your table for the Spanish Lunch at Gran Meliá Victoria, phone +34 971 732 542. The cost was 45€ a head, including cava and appetizers on the terrace, the lunch, water, and coffee. You can have Mallorcan wines/soft drinks included for 56€.

Jan Edwards ©2018

Review of lunch at Baiben in Puerto Portals

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Chefs / Eat / Restaurants

 

Snacks at Baiben Cocktail Bar

Colombian cheese and yuca bread buns and crispy tacos of spicy confit suckling pig – moreish snacks from Baiben Cocktail Bar

Puerto Portals has been described as ‘the Puerto Banús of the Balearics’ – though I can’t comment on the accuracy of that, as I haven’t visited the famous Andalusian marina.

Built in 1986, the smart Puerto Portals marina in the southwest of Mallorca is a magnet for boat owners and other nautical types. It offers 639 moorings – from eight to 60 metres in length – which means you’ll always find plenty of gleaming vessels to lust over. It’s also a good place to spot luxury-marque cars parked dockside when the boat owners are on board.

Baiben restaurant in Puerto Portals

Join the smart set at Baiben

The glamour of Puerto Portals’ setting and the impressive ‘hardware’ moored and parked here are enough to attract even the most-committed landlubbers. But there’s also an array of high-end fashion boutiques, jewellery stores, real-estate offices, cafes, bars, and restaurants – making this Mallorcan marina a luxury destination for visitors who want to spend, spend, spend…or simply fantasize a little.

Everything you’ve read here so far may suggest that Puerto Portals is not a place to find a bargain lunch. But if you know where to look…

Fernando Pérez Arellano’s Baiben

Last week we were in the Portals area on Monday and went to the port to try the weekly-changing lunchtime menú de la semana at Baiben restaurant. Opened in October 2016, Baiben is owned by Fernando Pérez Arellano – best known as the creator and chef of the Balearics’ only two-Michelin-starred restaurant Zaranda. Fernando originally opened Zaranda in Madrid but the restaurant has been located at Mallorca’s rural 5-star Castell Son Claret (which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year) since the hotel opened.

Here at Baiben – awarded one Sol in the Guía Repsol 2018 – the accomplished French chef Jerome Rohner runs the kitchen. The distinctive interior design was by Andrea Spada and Michele Corbani of Madrid-based company ILMIODESIGN.

Considering Baiben’s prime waterside location, its marina-and-Med views, and the attractive design of the spacious restaurant, cocktail bar, and terrace, you could be forgiven for thinking that eating here would be expensive. And you probably could run up a sizeable bill if you took full advantage of the excellent à la carte menu and the dazzling choice of around 700 wines.

But the lunch menu is, in my opinion, a genuine bargain: a satisfying three courses (with choice of three dishes for each course), water, glass of wine or beer, and coffee…all for 22€ (including tax).

Our lunch

Here’s what we ate in pictorial form:

The choices included vegetarian options and I was tempted by the main course of wok-cooked vegetables and mushrooms. Instead, I chose a dish that wouldn’t usually feature on my radar, as a test: Mediterranean-style fried chicken focaccia ‘sandwich’ with chips. The chicken was tasty, the bread wasn’t soggy with grease (a pet hate of mine), and the chips were crisp on the outside but fluffy inside. That’s a big tick from me, then!

If you fancy a taste of luxury lifestyle – without the associated high cost – head to Baiben for this superb-value lunchtime menu.

To drive into Puerto Portals, take a ticket from the machine at the port entrance barrier and then drive through. As long as your stay is less than four hours, parking is free. A large parking area can be found near the distinctive tower known as Torre de Capitanía (turn right to follow the Capitanía sign just after entering the port).  Baiben is the first eatery you’ll come to from your parking place. The restaurant is open every day, all year for lunch and dinner; Baiben Cocktail Bar is open daily from 12 noon to 23:30h and offers a menu of appealing snacks.

Price correct at time of writing.

Text & photos ©Jan Edwards 2018

Mallorca’s foodie events you may not want to miss!

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Chefs / Drink / Eat / Restaurants / Wine

The coming weeks offer plenty of gastronomic events and news that may be of interest if you’re on the island of Mallorca.

Protur Chef 2018

The weekend of 15th-18th March is Protur Chef 2018 – the second edition of the cookery competition for students of national cooking schools. It’s again taking place at the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel & Spa in Mallorca’s east-coast resort of Sa Coma.

Eighteen future ‘top chefs’ from all over Spain will be competing under the scrutiny of the judges (who include chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants and food critics) and an audience. The young chefs’ brief is to create their own recipe based on Mallorcan shoulder of lamb.

As well as watching the contestants in action on the stage kitchen, foodie spectators can enjoy other gastro-related activities – including tastings, food trucks, exhibitions, and some workshops. (Although it’s free to attend this event, there is a small charge to take part in the workshops).

Junior kitchen wizards (aged 8-12) also have their own section of this competition: Protur Chef Kids.

More information on http://www.proturchef.com

Opening for the 2018 season

Rice dishes reign at Ponderosa Beach

This! Ponderosa Beach opens again soon…

Many of the seasonal restaurants are due to open their doors again in the next few weeks. Here are a few favourite places opening very soon:

Andreu Genestra’s Senzill Bistro re-opens near Capdepera on Saturday, March 17th.

Ponderosa Beach on Playa de Muro will be back in action on Tuesday, March 20th.

Sadrassana – which featured in an episode of The Night Manager – re-opens in Palma on Thursday, March 22nd.

The Michelin-starred Andreu Genestra (located within the same hotel as Senzill) will be wowing its diners again from Friday, March 23rd.

Restaurante Melassa at Hotel Melbeach & Spa in Canyamel opens for the season on Friday, March 23rd. Looking forward to returning for the delicious cuisine of chef David Moreno and his small brigade…

Canyamel from Melbeach

How about dinner and overnight stay? What a view from Hotel Melbeach & Spa

Belmond La Residencia – the iconic 5-star hotel in Deía – re-opens on March 22nd. British fashion and interiors designer Matthew Williamson (who has a home in the Mallorcan mountain village) has designed the interior of the hotel’s new suite, number 67. You don’t have to be staying in the hotel (although I can recommend doing so!) to eat in the restaurants El Olivo or Cafe Miró. 

 

Terrace at Belmond La Residencia

Waiting to welcome you for the coming season…

11th Street Food Festival – Port Adriano

Love street food? Eating al fresco? Food trucks? And being close to the Mediterranean? Don’t miss this popular event in Mallorca’s  glamorous setting of superyacht marina Port Adriano – March 30th-April 1st.

Fira Nàutica i de la Sípia – Alcúdia

This traditional Mallorcan fair combines nautical matters with gastronomy and is from April 13th-15th.

Fira de la Sal i les Espècies – Colònia de Sant Jordi

Close to Mallorca’s Ses Salines salt pans, this year’s Salt and Spices Fair is on April 21st and 22nd.

Pollensa Wine Fair

Dog snoozing at Fira del Vi in Mallorca

Sleeping off the Pollensa Wine Fair

This year’s edition of the popular wine fair known as the Fira del Vi is again in the cloisters in Pollença over the weekend of April 21st and 22nd. It’s an opportunity to taste wines from around 40 bodegas across Mallorca. 

A Soirée with the Stars

This should be amazing: three chefs with Michelin-starred restaurants on Mallorca will create a gourmet dinner in the lovely setting of Finca Son Mir on Saturday, April 21st. Marc Fosh and Adrian Quetglas (whose eponymous restaurants in Palma each have one Michelin star) and Fernando P Arellano, of the two-Michelin-starred Zaranda (Castell Son Claret hotel), are sure to cook up a memorable dinner as part of this charity event.

The event will also include red-carpet cocktail reception; live music, and other entertainment; drinks throughout dinner; dancing under the stars with a singer and DJ, and raffle and auction with some tempting prizes. All proceeds will go to the JoyRon Foundation, which supports children in need in the Balearics.

Sponsors for what is sure to be the fundraising event of the spring include Joanna Walton Flowers (highly recommended) and craft beer makers Cerveza NAU.

Hidden Kitchen

Looking ahead here, but you’ll have to be quick to book one of these amazing events, organized by Balearic gastronomy promoters Chefs(in), as the limited number of places (around a dozen) fill very quickly.

You’ll sit down to a lunch or dinner – but not in a restaurant – prepared by a top chef from the Balearics. The venue is a secret until the day of the event and is usually an emblematic building on Mallorca. The next Hidden Kitchen dinner with places still available is on July 21st, where Manacor restaurant Ca’n March’s chef Miquel Gelabert will create a dinner to be served with matched wines.

Book early if you’d like to go. The event for May 27th – with chef Marga Coll – is already sold out!

©Jan Edwards 2018

Women on top in Mallorca’s gastronomy and hospitality industry

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Chefs / Drink / Eat / Hotels / Restaurants / Wine / Wineries

Today is International Women’s Day – the perfect opportunity to highlight a few of the many women I admire within the gastronomy and hotels sector on Mallorca.

Charlotte Miller – Bodega Biniagual

Bodega sign

Home is where the bodega is: picturesque Biniagual

Charlotte is at the helm of the winery owned by her German family, Bodega Biniagual, just outside the tiny hamlet of Biniagual – all of which belongs to the winery. The picturesque and peaceful hamlet is a magical place to visit – and the wines at the more modern bodega are pretty splendid too.

Ilka Karl – Es Princep Hotel, Palma

Ilka Karl on radio

Ilka captured during a radio interview

Ilka – also German – worked in Mallorca’s 5-star St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort and Gran Hotel Son Net before taking up her post as general manager of Palma’s 5-star Sant Francesc Hotel Singular for its opening in 2015.  In 2017 she left that hotel to take on the challenge of opening another new hotel: Es Princep in Palma.

Macarena de Castro – Restaurante Jardín

Macarena de Castro, chef

Macarena de Castro – the only woman at the helm of a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Balearics

Mallorcan Macarena is the only female chef on the island to have had her cuisine awarded a Michelin star. Her signature cuisine at Restaurante Jardín is derived from authentic Mallorcan recipes. In the past, the former Fine Arts student used to spend the winters – when her family’s restaurant in Alcúdia is closed – working alongside renowned chefs around the world, to enhance her skills.

Barbara Mesquida Mora – Bodega Mesquida Mora

Barbara Mesquida (right) pictured at Campos tile-maker Huguet

Barbara Mesquida (right) at Huguet – which made hydraulic tiles to match the label of her wine Trispol

This passionate young woman (and mum) is from the fourth generation of a well-known wine-making family on Mallorca. After she and her brother left the family winery they had been running, she launched her own Mesquida Mora winery in Porreres, in 2013, cultivating her vines in line with biodynamic practices.

Maria and Teresa Solivellas – Ca Na Toneta restaurant

Wall painting at Ca Na Toneta in Caimari

A wall painting from Ca Na Toneta – but not Maria or Teresa!

You’ll find sisters Maria and Teresa at their delightful family-run restaurant Ca Na Toneta in the village of Caimari – famous for its annual olive fair in the autumn. Organic produce sourced from as close to home as possible is turned into delicious cuisine by Maria in the kitchen. Her Mallorcan ‘coca’ – a cheese-less pizza-like dish – is a particular treat. Michelle Obama ate here during her visit to Mallorca last year.

Itziar Rodríguez – Zaranda, Es Capdellà

Itziar Rodriguez at Zaranda

Itziar Rodriguez serving finger food at a function at Zaranda

Itziar has been the manager of the Michelin-starred Zaranda since Fernando P Arellano first opened in Madrid in 2005. The restaurant moved to Mallorca and, today, it’s located within the 5-star Castell Son Claret hotel in the southwest of the island. It’s the only restaurant in the Balearics with two Michelin stars.

Maria Salinas – Maria Salinas Restaurant, Mancor del Vall

Maria Salinas at her eponymous restaurant in Mancor del Vall

See that smile!

Maria’s smile alone would be enough to light up her cosy little townhouse restaurant in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains. Maria is often referred to as la madame de la cuisine. At the end of last month the Balearic Association of Gastronomy Journalists and Writers presented her with the award for Revelation Restaurant 2017 – shared with the restaurant Vandal in Santa Catalina, Palma. This month, Makro has named her their Ambassador Chef.

Marga Coll – Miceli, Selva & Arrels by Marga Coll, Illetes

Marga Coll, chef at Miceli and Arrels by Marga Coll

Marga Coll pictured at a Peccata Minuta tapas event

Marga shops at the market each day to decide what she will cook in her village restaurant Miceli in the village of Selva, just a couple of kilometres from Inca. The restaurant is the family home and her husband runs front of house. Arrels by Marga Coll offers her delicious cuisine in a 5-star hotel setting on the southwest coast. Her breakfast/brunch at Arrels has been highly recommended and is on our list to try this season.

Let’s not forget…

I must also mention chef Cati Pieras at DaiCa in Llubí; Justine Murphy – the English chef at the helm of six-division gastronomy business mymuybuenoin Palma;  Ruth Gindi, the Irish chef at the organic restaurant Santosha she runs with her husband in Palma; Marta Rosselló chef/patron at Sal de Cocó in Colònia de Sant Jordi; Claire Hutchings – 2011 MasterChef  The Professionals’ finalist in the UK and former sous chef at Zaranda; German chef Caroline Fabian from Private Cooking, and Swedish chef Svenja Galle – whose Bellaverde Restaurantin Port de Pollença was recently named Best Vegan Restaurant 2018 – Majorca. And, although she works in Mallorcan waters, rather than on land, Sandra van Oorschot – the cook in yacht charter business Captain Cook. All these women work with passion and skill.

And let’s not forget the many other women who play a less-prominent role, in front of or behind the scenes, in looking after their guests in the gastronomy and hospitality sector. Raise a glass of Mallorcan wine, if you will, to the unsung heroines of this industry in Mallorca on this International Women’s Day.

©Jan Edwards 2018

Review of restaurant Sa Fabrica in Inca, Mallorca

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Chefs / Eat / Restaurants
Fabrica Ramis night shot

Exterior of Fabrica Ramis by night

A former textile and leather factory in Inca has become a must-visit place in the Mallorcan town renowned for the manufacture and sale of leather goods. When university professor Juan Ramis inherited his family’s former factory and shop, he renovated the building – which dates from the 1920s. He re-opened Fàbrica Ramis to the public in November 2015 as a centre for social, cultural and educational activities.

When I interviewed Juan for an abcMallorca article (Winter 2016/2017), he had still not found the right business to occupy the area designated as an eatery. That changed when the young German chef Marcel Ress moved in and opened Sa Fàbrica. Marcel used to work with Marc Fosh – first at Bacchus and then at Simply Fosh (now Marc Fosh) in Palma and was the winner of the third series of Spanish TV culinary competition Top Chef  in 2015.

The place

Interior shot of Sa Fabrica

Industrial-chic decor

Sa Fàbrica has a funky industrial-chic vibe to it. The space is large with high ceilings, exposed pipework and other ‘workings’, with black-and-white wall tiles around the open-kitchen area. The bar and a large seating area for drinks pre- or post-meals occupy one end of the ground-floor restaurant. Rather than cram in more tables in the dining area, Marcel Ress has left plenty of space so that customers can comfortably enjoy their conversation without being overheard by diners at the next table.

In warmer weather, some outdoor seating is available in the long garden area that is at the heart of the property (where Marcel grows some of the produce and herbs used in his kitchen).

Sa Fabrica culinary team

Kitchen team on parade (Marcel Ress is second from left)

The food at Sa Fàbrica

We’ve eaten at Sa Fàbrica several times for lunch and dinner and found it consistently good in terms of the food, service, and value for money. Our latest visit was last Saturday night and prompted this review.

For dinner, there is now a choice of two tasting menus: Sa Fàbrica at 55€ for eight plates plus appetizer and pre-dessert (pre-postre) and the  five-plate (plus appetizer and pre-dessert) Chef’s Choice at 35€. There’s no à la carte menu here and the tasting menu dishes arrive as a surprise. If there’s an ingredient you particularly don’t like or can’t eat, it’s worth mentioning it before dinner begins.

Our friendly server brought us a choice of two types of bread – seeded and rye. This came with butter flavoured with orange and brine, and the combination of the bread and butter was moreish.

Dishes from our five-plate Chef’s Choice menu are pictured below (please note, that the lighting is not ideal for spontaneous  photography). We began with the first appetizer of home-made paté – delicious and a promising start to our dinner. We enjoyed every course, although I am not fond of eggs and wished I had mentioned this at the start of the meal, because the chard soup in which an egg sat was itself delicious.

Although the appetizers and soup courses were not large (they would have been too filling), the fish and meat dishes were a satisfying size – and the beef dish was particularly tasty and tender. Flavours and textures were good in all the dishes but the soups could have been served a little hotter for our liking.

I had a glass of cava on arrival (The Boss had an alcohol-free beer) and we each had a glass of wine with our dinner, and shared a half-litre bottle of San Pellegrino. We would have opted for the optional wine pairing (20€) if we had travelled to Inca by train, rather than car.

Sa Fàbrica also offers a weekly changing lunch menu, with a choice of three or five plates (16,50€ or 27,50€).  The week’s menu is usually published on their Facebook page and website. The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Good to know

Sa Fàbrica is only about five minutes’ walk from Inca’s railway station.

Find out more about activities at Fabrica Ramis here.

©Jan Edwards 2018