Style & Sustainability in New Pollensa Hotel

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Sleep

A boutique hotel displaying copies of Architectural Digest and Monocle in its lounge and guest rooms must be confident that its design will stand up to comparison with the stylish images featured in such design-focused publications.

Mallorca’s new boutique adults-only hotel, Can Aulí Luxury Retreat, brims with confidence in its design. It’s evident from the moment you enter this 21-bedroom property, located in a quiet street in the charming town of Pollensa in the north of Mallorca. Can Aulí Luxury Retreat is the first boutique hotel outside Palma de Mallorca for the IT Mallorca Unique Spaces group.

The noble 17th-century building would now be unrecognisable to the Pollensa doctor who used to call the place home. The redevelopment of the property has respectfully preserved many of the traditional Mallorcan architectural features – such as the handsome stone arches – combined with 21st-century comforts and design features and some interesting artworks by local artists. It’s gorgeous.

Natural materials, such as local stone and wood, and muted colours give the rooms (and the hotel’s public areas) a restful as well as luxurious ambience. But luxury wasn’t the only consideration in the creation of this stylish Pollensa boutique hotel. Sustainability was important: for example, the paint used in the hotel was ecological.

Our Stay

Although we arrived on a day threatening rain, we were able to sip the glass of cava, offered as a welcome drink, on the Gastrobar’s outdoor terrace. As we relaxed – it doesn’t take long at Can Aulí Luxury Retreat – our bag was delivered to our room.

We stayed in Room 22 (the hotel has no room number 13). This junior suite has a view of the large courtyard garden, which has a tempting swimming pool. Beyond the property’s ivy-covered wall we could see a mountain and villas on the wooded hillside. It was a reminder that Pollensa is an excellent base for anyone who wants to drive into the UNESCO World Heritage Site Serra de Tramuntana.

I was pleased to find no capsule-coffee-making machine in our room but, instead, a Kitchen Aid kettle (another example of the high quality at Can Aulí Luxury Retreat). No environmentally unfriendly capsules here: we had sachets of Illy coffee and an impressive choice of organic teas. The two mugs provided for our hot drinks were made by island ceramicist, Jaume Roig (his work is also a key feature in the hotel lounge area). If you prefer, you can help yourself to hot drinks from the smart machine in Gastrobar’s open kitchen at any time.

Our spacious bathroom was fitted with chic copper-finish taps, and a walk-in shower as well as a bathtub – something that’s becoming less common in new boutique hotels. Amenities are organic and the travel kit provided is made from bamboo.

The Gastro Bar

The town of Pollensa has a good choice of restaurants but it’s worth trying the organic food in Can Aulí Luxury Retreat’s Gastro Bar. The menu offers snacks, a choice of breads, spoon dishes, sandwiches, tapas and sharing plates and, of course, desserts.

We shared three dishes: guacamole with corn chips and seasonal tomatoes with tuna belly and Kalamata olives, and apple tatin with vanilla ice cream. All delicious. Vegans and gluten-free diners have a plentiful choice here.

Breakfast

A surprisingly varied buffet breakfast is available at Can Aulí Luxury Retreat, which includes local products, a variety of breads, and cooked food if wanted. Covid safety measures meant pointing to the items we wanted on the other side of the now ubiquitous Perspex screen, which were then plated for us. Slices of different breads and pastries were each presented in compostable paper bags. It all felt very safe in these unnerving times.

Good to Know

  • Can Aulí Luxury Retreat doesn’t have its own car park, but a large, free car park is less than five minutes’ walk away. You can always drop your luggage at the hotel first.
  • The hotel offers a number of pampering wellness and spa treatments, using organic products. It’s recommended that you book these in advance (the treatments menu is available on the website).
  • The not-so-good news: Can Aulí Luxury Retreat is now closed until 2021. It would make a perfect base to enjoy some of the events that we all hope will return to Pollensa’s social-and-cultural calendar next year. These include the Fira del Vi (wine fair in spring), Good Friday procession on El Calvari steps (of which there are 365), and the annual arts event, Pollensa Festival. And if you love to browse for a bargain or something local, Pollensa’s weekly Sunday morning market is a must.
  • IT Mallorca Unique Spaces has four properties in Palma de Mallorca: Boutique Hotel Can Alomar, Boutique Hotel Can Cera, Boutique Hotel Calatrava, and Boutique Hotel Sant Jaume.

Jan Edwards copyright 2020

Where to Eat Out this Autumn in the East of Mallorca

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Eat

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that the lack of visitors to Mallorca has led to the early closure this season of a lot of hospitality establishments. For those businesses still toughing out the quieter times, there is possible good news, in that TUI is restarting flights from Germany to Palma de Mallorca from October 15th.

Whether you’ve decided to visit the island (and maybe face quarantine on your return home) or are taking a staycation, here are three places of different styles (and budgets), along the east coast of Mallorca, where you’ll be able to eat out this autumn.

Authentic Italian Food at Osteria Dolores, Portocristo

Chef/proprietor Mario Hekke opened Osteria Dolores in February this year, having closed his former fine-dining restaurant Sa Sal and rebooted the same premises as an informal trattoria, serving authentic home-cooked Italian food.

It was a brilliant find for us, because few good restaurants in Portocristo are open during the winter – and this one has the benefit of a log-burning stove to keep things cosy. (During warmer months, Osteria Dolores has an attractive enclosed garden for al fresco eating.)

Since the lockdown ended and restaurants were allowed to open again, we’ve eaten here a few times – the last of which was a week ago. After we’d enjoyed our meal, Mario sat and chatted with us for a while and told us the plan is for Osteria Dolores to stay open throughout the winter. We hope he gets plenty of local support: use it or lose it, springs to mind.

Read more about Osteria Dolores here. Note that this place takes cash only. If you forget, it’s only a few minutes’ walk down the main road to an ATM.

Soul Food and Waterside Location at Quince, Portocristo

We’ve been fans of this Portocristo eatery for quite a few years now. It’s one of three establishments in the port in the same group (a fourth one is in Portocristo Novo, just a few minutes’ drive away). It’s open for lunch and dinner.

Quince has a large terrace looking down over the sea inlet, where many of the local fishing boats moor. (Fresh fish is always good here). We love to watch the traditional Mallorcan fishing boats – known as llaüts – pottering along in the twilight. The views are lovely and the ambience is vibrant.

Eating indoors in the cooler months feels cosy and intimate, although social distancing will mean more spacing of tables than has been the norm here.

Quince has earned its stripes over the years by offering reliably tasty soul food from an à la carte menu, with some daily specials and a kids’ menu. The service team here could give valuable lessons in warm hospitality to some other restaurants and each member makes you feel that your custom is valued.

It’s often difficult to get a table here in the height of a normal season, but the good news is that Quince will be open most of the winter – closing only for a short holiday early in 2021.

Creative Mallorcan Food from Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner, Sa Coma

Foodies who have visited Mallorca over the years may have tried Tomeu Caldentey’s cuisine at his former restaurant Bou. Tomeu Caldentey was the first Mallorcan chef to gain a Michelin star for his cuisine, but he gave up the star and closed Bou in 2018 to create a simpler and more affordable concept of restaurant, named Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner, and located in the same premises in Sa Coma. We loved Bou but can afford to eat a little more often at its replacement.

We were fortunate to eat a few times in the Michelin-starred Bou, where Tomeu worked with a brigade of chefs in the large contemporary kitchen. Now Tomeu has that stage largely to himself, creating your dinner in front of you as you sit at the counter around the kitchen working area. If you prefer to sit at a conventional table, that’s also possible.

Tomeu’s food is creative and based on seasonal local produce. There’s no à la carte menu, but a choice of three tasting menus: five, eight, or ten plates (priced at 39, 49, and 69 euros respectively). These prices haven’t changed since last year.

Watching Tomeu at work, it’s easy to see that the well-known chef is in his element in this more relaxed setting. When we ate there recently, we could just hear him singing quietly behind his obligatory face mask as he worked. The sign of a contented chef, surely.

Tomeu wants his diners to feel as though they’re eating in his home and the fact that it’s just him cooking makes this possible – even though most of us aren’t lucky enough to have such a spacious and well-equipped kitchen.

Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner offers two sittings in the evenings: 19:00h and 21:30h. During October, dinner is served from Wednesday to Saturday and lunch is on Thursday to Sunday. Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner will be open during the winter, but for fewer days of the week.

Two things to note: 1) Like Osteria Dolores, this restaurant takes only cash. 2) Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner offers gift vouchers; now there’s a good idea for that foodie in your life. For more details, see the website here.

If you want to visit any of these three restaurants, be sure to make a reservation – capacities are reduced as a result of the pandemic.

Jan Edwards Copyright 2020

Review of Brut Restaurante, Llubí

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Drink / Eat

Eduardo Martínez and Bruno Balbi, from Brut Restaurante, have twice been guests on my gastronomy radio show Table Talk*. The two Argentinians’ exciting eatery is in the village of Llubí in the centre of Mallorca; it’s fair to say that it’s probably not the type of restaurant you would expect to find in a rural Mallorcan village.

Brut first opened in July 2017 and everything I heard and read about it made me determined to try this seasonal restaurant for myself. I don’t know how so much time passed without me achieving this but, on Saturday, we finally made it. And what a thrilling experience it was. We can’t wait to return.

Back at the end of February 2020, when they came for an interview with me in the studio, Edu and Bruno were enthusiastic about the coming season. They had lots to talk about, including the fact that Edu had joined the prestigious group of chefs under the banner of Chefs(in), which promotes Balearic gastronomy. Then along came Covid-19 and Spain’s lockdown.

Post-Covid Brut

Like many restaurants that reopened after lockdown ended, Brut has had to adapt for this strange season. Previously, 12 diners sat at the U-shaped counter watching their tasting menu being prepared in the open kitchen.

Social distancing now means fewer seats at the counter, but diners can also sit at one of the two tables within the large space. And, instead of a tasting menu, Brut is offering a small selection of tempting à la carte dishes. On Saturday, main course choices were several cuts and ages of high-quality beef, loin of venison, their own burger in a sourdough brioche, and a cod dish.

Garage Cuisine

Brut’s industrial vibes are authentic: the premises in Llubí were once home to a garage. In one of his interviews with me, Edu said, ‘A lot of the best ideas from the last century came from a garage – The Beatles, Macintosh. . .’

Edu and Bruno create sustainable food and like to use produce that many kitchens don’t use, such as fig leaves. Experimentation leads to exciting culinary ideas – many concocted over the winter months when Brut Restaurante is closed. Other things you’ll find at Brut are fermented produce, kombuchas, natural wines, and sourdoughs. They have their own vegetable plot, growing organic 0km produce.

Brut is also home to a microbrewery, producing unique beers from unusual ingredients. On Saturday night, The Boss tried Dulce de Leche Stout and Choconut Imperial Stout; because I like Guinness, I had a sip of each of these two tempting stouts. Oh my word. Delicious.

Brilliant Brilla

Brut also makes its own raw fermented organic teas, under the brand Brilla Kombucha. I’m a huge fan of kombucha and have a daily glass at home, so had to try these. I had two flavours: bugambilla and yuzu and then olive and grapefruit. These probiotic drinks are not only delicious and moreish, they’re super-healthy for the gut. Brilla Kombucha is also available in quite a few restaurants, bars, hotels, cafes, and specialist shops across Mallorca, so be sure to look out for it.

About Edu Martínez

Edu is from Argentina but moved to Madrid at the age of twenty-two. He was already interested in gastronomy and, although he was working as a creative in an advertising agency, his dream was to open a restaurant.

The famous restaurant El Bulli was an agency client, which brought Edu into contact with the legendary Ferran Adrià. He went on to do a stage at El Bulli, whilst becoming more involved with gastronomic brands at the advertising agency.

After creating a brand of artisanal beers, Edu left the agency and the Peninsula, moving to Llubí to open Brut with Bruno Balbi, also a former creative director. Their combined experience in the advertising world is evident in the superb images on their Instagram page brut_restaurant. If you can’t get to Brut Restaurante in this travel-restricted year, follow that page and whet your appetite for a visit in 2021.

If you’re in Mallorca or are able to travel here without quarantine concerns when you return to your home country, Edu will be the chef for Chefs(in)’s Hidden Kitchen event on November 28th. Read here about a previous Hidden Kitchen event we attended.

Table Talk on Mallorca Sunshine Radio is currently on hold, as a result of the pandemic.

Jan Edwards Copyright 2020

Affordable Italian Cuisine in Porto Cristo at Osteria Dolores

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Eat / Restaurants
A corner of the enclosed garden at Osteria Dolores

Looking for authentic Italian cuisine in the east of Mallorca? Head to Porto Cristo, where you’ll find Osteria Dolores.

This attractive trattoria opened in February 2020, but its owner/chef isn’t a stranger to Porto Cristo, near Manacor. Mario Hekke previously operated his fine-dining restaurant Sa Sal in the same premises.

Osteria Dolores doesn’t have a sea view, being in a side street off the main road down to the port itself, but makes up for this by offering very good food that doesn’t include a premium for the location. On-street parking (free of charge) is usually available in the vicinity.

Mario closed Sa Sal and converted the same former townhouse into a trattoria, serving authentic Italian food at prices that won’t make you wince.

The intention was for Osteria Dolores to be open throughout the year and, when we first visited, other restaurants in Porto Cristo were still shuttered for the winter. Sadly, the pandemic may affect opening plans for this coming winter, but we hope that the trattoria’s good-value food will attract enough diners to enable it to stay open this winter too. We’ll be eating there if it does.

The Place

Entrance to Osteria Dolores is now through the rear courtyard garden. The former front entrance has been blocked off inside by a wood-burning stove, (which keeps the place warm and cosy in the cooler months). The attractive enclosed outdoor space has been a bonus during the summer of 2020, when eating al fresco has had even more appeal because of Covid-19.

The interior retains some of the traditional architectural features of the old house, such as the beams, arch, and lattice-doored cupboards, but Mario has given the place a fresh modern look. The décor includes light-coloured wooden furniture, an interesting display of lampshades… and a racing car hanging on the wall. (Yes, a real one).

Osteria Dolores is a relaxed, informal and family-friendly eatery: diners help themselves to (recycled paper) napkins and cutlery (and pizza cutter) from a basket on each table.

The Food & Drink

The concept may be simple enough, but the tasty Italian food – from the bread to the desserts – is made with care on the premises.

The menu’s starters include a very good beef carpaccio (11€ and prepared from scratch in the kitchen), caponata alla ‘Siciliana’ (8.50€), panzanella salad (9,80€), and vitello tonnato (10,50€). We’ve tried the carpaccio, artichokes ‘alla Romana’ (9,80€), and caponata during our visits and all were delicious and a good portion size.

Osteria Dolores offers nine pasta dishes, including a gnocchi and a ravioli of the day. All pasta is home-made and served al dente. (Gluten-free is available). Pasta dishes range in price from 9.80€ to 15€.

Choose from eight Napoli-style pizzas and a Calzone – with a delicious crust. These are a generous size, although the most expensive is only 9,80€. One is enough for two to share, if you’re also having starters.

If you like a sweet finish, check out the home-made dessert of the day (only 4€).

All the pasta and pizza dishes can be ordered as take-away dishes too.

Drinks are also reasonably priced: in addition to the Italian house wine on the menu, there’s a small choice of others – Italian, Spanish and Mallorcan (including the excellent Mandia Vell, which is produced in a winery between Manacor and Porto Cristo).

Need to Know

Something to know if you’re coming to Osteria Dolores in Porto Cristo: they don’t take cards. But with the affordable value-for-money prices, paying in cash shouldn’t be an issue. (There’s a Banca March ATM just a short walk away down the main road to the port).

Opening hours are 18:00-24:00h, but be aware that these may change as a result of the pandemic – so I recommend phoning in advance to check.

Prices may be subject to change.

Osteria Dolores
C/ del Migjorn, 6
07680 Porto Cristo
Mallorca
Tel +34 971 822 049 (for pizza takeaway)

Jan Edwards Copyright 2020

Eat Out to Help Out in Mallorca: Hotel El Coto Offering Gastronomic Weekend this September

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Drink / Eat / Sleep

Your last chance to enjoy this fabulous hotel in 2020. Hotel El Coto closes on September 20th, reopening again next season.

Looking striking at night

The 5-star Hotel El Coto in Colònia de Sant Jordi was a fantastic discovery for me a few years ago, while I was editing a local guide to wines and wineries.

Run with great care and attention to guests by the charming Navarrete family, the 50-room property is just a couple of minutes’ walk from two beaches and is opposite the salt lakes known as Salines de s’Avall—which give it a unique outlook from the hotel’s roof terrace.

A Resort Hotel with a Difference

Hotel El Coto may be in a resort, with other holiday hotels and apartments nearby, but it’s no ordinary tourist hotel. Those in the know refer to it as ‘the wine hotel’—with good reason. The property has a superb cellar—both in terms of design and contents—with more than 400 Spanish wines on offer.

Being a wine enthusiast usually goes hand-in-hand with appreciating fine cuisine, so it won’t be a surprise to learn that Hotel El Coto has a good reputation for gastronomy. The owners brought in Gerhardt Schwaiger (of the former 2-Michelin-star Tristán restaurant, and now Schwaiger Xino’s in Palma de Mallorca) as culinary consultant a few years ago.

I recently treated The Boss to a stay there for his birthday and picked up the following details.

And, by the way, anti-Covid hygiene measures were excellent. Rooms have their own bottle of sanitizing gel and a pack of spare disposable face masks and there were bottles of gel all around the property.

How About a Gastronomic Weekend?

Although many hotels in Mallorca have already closed, this weekend Hotel El Coto is offering a Gastronomic Weekend (Friday 18th and Saturday 19th September). These events offer a reception aperitif, dinner and paired wines.

Each night offers an aperitif on the hotel’s gorgeous rooftop terrace (views over the salt lakes and towards the renowned Es Trenc beach), followed by a six-course tasting menu with six paired wines from the weekend’s featured wineries. Representatives from these wineries will go to tables to tell diners about the featured wines.

You can enjoy these gastronomic dinners with accommodation in a shared room and breakfast for 120 euros per person per night. No drink/driving problems and the prospect of an excellent à la carte breakfast the next morning by the beautiful swimming pool, if the weather permits.

What’s On for September 18th & 19th

Featured bodegas:-

Friday, 18th – Bodegas Grupo Perelada, Chivite, and Taittinger

Saturday, 19th – Raúl Pérez, Telmo Rodríguez and Pol Roger

Menus (wines in italics)

Friday 18th

Marinated salmon and salmon belly with rhubarb and cucumber

Perelada Cava Gran Claustro

*

Velouté of rock fish with cod

Perelada Finca la Garriga

*

Artichokes in creamy sauce with duck fois

Chivite Las Fincas Dos Garnachas

*

Sea bass with vegetable risotto and Pommery mustard sauce

Chivite Colección 125 ‘Chardonnay’

*

Oven-baked entrecôte of American Angus with pea purée and French potato salad

Perelade Finca Malaveina

*

Banana ice cream with cinnamon flower cream and pecan-nut caramel

Perelada Garnacha Dulce 12 Años

Saturday 19th

Red tuna tartare, mozzarella and marinated tomatoes

Tras Da Canda 2016 Caiño

*

White garlic soup with roasted mackerel and apple

Ultreia 2017 ‘Mencia’

*

Corvina and fine pasta with saffron and vegetables

Lanzaga 2015 ‘Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha’

*

Terrine of suckling pig with pea purée, potato vinaigrette and vegetables

El Jorco de la Familia 2017 ‘Garnacha’

*

Loin of lamb, couscous with herbs, mushrooms, and rosemary juice

Matallana 2014 ‘Tempranillo’

*

Passion fruit mousse, sweet corn sorbet, and caramelized popcorn

Telmo Rodríguez MR ‘Moscatel’

To book or for more details, email info@hotelelcoto.es or telephone 971 65 50 25.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Eat Out in Mallorca to Help Out: Jacaranda Restaurant

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Eat

Two delicious bread varieties at Jacaranda Restaurant

The UK government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme offers discounted dining in restaurants and other eateries. It’s designed to encourage people to return to eating out after the lockdown. If you’re not familiar with it, the establishments give diners a discount and claim the money back from the government, and quite a few of my UK friends have been taking advantage of the scheme.

Sadly, there’s nothing similar in Mallorca—where the hospitality industry has been devastated as a result of the pandemic. We may not be able to enjoy discounted dining on the island, as customers can in the UK, but eating out to help out—for those who can afford to—may enable restaurants to stay open longer during this strangest of holiday seasons, with few tourists here.

Over the next few blog posts I’m going to feature some of the restaurants we love, in the hope that if you haven’t yet tried them, you may decide to support them—and enjoy the eating-out experience too.

It’s understandable that Covid-19 has made some people hesitant about eating out but, in our experience, eateries in Mallorca are taking the considerable hygiene measures seriously. Restaurants with terraces always have appeal during the summer, but even more so during the pandemic. Space around you and fresh air have never been more desirable accompaniments to lunch or dinner out.

Jacaranda Restaurant, Montuïri

Taking its name from the beautiful trees nearby, Jacaranda is the restaurant within the tranquil 5-star Finca Serena hotel. Living up to its name, the hotel is on an extensive country estate near the Mallorcan town of Montuïri. The restaurant is open to the public and serves lunch and dinner (although you should reserve your table in advance).

Meet the chef: Baltasar Rigo explains his cuisine to our gathering of gastronomy writers

The elegant restaurant is in the rear part of the main hotel building, with a spacious terrace for al fresco dining. From your table here, views extend through the trees towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tramuntana mountain range. Time your dinner right and you’ll see a gorgeous sunset too. I’ve yet to eat indoors at Jacaranda Restaurant, as the glorious al fresco option is difficult to resist.

Finca Serena has added a stylish conservatory, to one side of the terrace, which can be used for private dining or other small events, such as meetings. It was in this setting that I joined fellow gastronomy writers for a lunch to meet the talented young Mallorcan chef, Baltasar Rigo, who was promoted to take over the reins in the Jacaranda Restaurant kitchen this year. He has held previous positions in the kitchen of Fontsanta Hotel and Daica Restaurant—both in Mallorca. His off-island experience includes working in the Guggenheim Bistro.

Rigo must be the envy of many chefs, because he can choose from the freshest of seasonal produce: the rural hotel has two organic produce gardens and sources other prime ingredients from trusted local providers. Rigo’s farm-to-table cuisine is healthy Mediterranean and he proves his creativity by offering a new menu of dishes every day.

The Jacaranda Restaurant wine list has choices from Mallorca, Spain, and France, across a range of prices, from affordable to splash-the-cash. Wine connoisseurs will find bottles from the bodegas Contador, Dominio de Pingus, and Vega Sicilia, among others.

Jacaranda Restaurant is open daily from 13:00-15:30h for lunch and from 19:00-22:00h for dinner.

A three-course lunch costs 40€ and dinner (of five plates) costs 55€ (both prices include IVA). Because Covid-19 restrictions mean a limited number of diners in restaurants across Mallorca, I recommend that you book your table at least 24 hours in advance to avoid disappointment.

Here are images of the Jacaranda Conservatory and some of the dishes at the media lunch.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Where to Celebrate International Beer Day 2020 in Mallorca

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Drink

Pub landlord

A warm welcome from Pep at
Lórien

Today, August 7th, is International Beer Day—which sounds like the perfect excuse for a long cold beer to quench the summer thirst. The idea of International Beer Day was founded in Santa Cruz, California, in 2007; it seems to have caught on.

For those who are still in lockdown, celebrating this day will mean pulling a tinny (or bottle) out of the fridge and enjoying it in the safety of your own home. Others will have the chance to go out and have a beer, albeit probably in a socially distanced situation.

A Beer ‘Out Out’ in Mallorca

If you’re in Mallorca, let me suggest a couple of places to go and raise a glass to International Beer Day.

In Palma de Mallorca , I’d suggest Lórien, which is open daily from 17:00h, except for Sundays and Mondays, when it’s closed. This popular and atmospheric Palma pub recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary and offers a world of beers—in bottles and on tap. Read more about it here.

Brewery sign

The Toutatis brewery at Cas Canar, Sencelles

Fans of craft beers should head to Toutatis, in the tiny hamlet of Cas Canar, near Sencelles. It’s open for a beer (or two) daily from 17:00h during the summer and, if you’re lucky, you may meet Michel Campioni there, the Belgian architect who founded the microbrewery and lives nearby. He’s an affable chap with lots of great stories to tell and a choice of his own Belgian beers, brewed in Mallorca. He’s recently added some new brews to his range.

 

NOTE:

If you’ve visited Toutatis in the past, you may have parked outside the brewery, but for now, the parking situation is under review. However, the resourceful Michel has come up with a temporary solution: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, from 6pm until 11pm, Toutatis is offering a free shuttle service between the brewery and the public car park in Sencelles (C/des Molins, behind Aprop supermarket). Departures are every 20 minutes from 6pm.

I’d always recommend that you phone ahead before you visit either place, in case of a change of hours.

Wherever you enjoy a tipple on this International Beer Day, cheers!

 

Jan Edwards ©2020

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Breakfast at Arrels by Marga Coll at Gran Melia Hotel de Mar

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Eat

Arrels by Marga Coll has now closed for the 2020 season. Don’t miss Marga’s food at her delightful Selva village restaurant Miceli!

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.

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.

Linger Longer?

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

Mallorca’s Michelin-Starred Restaurant Scene in 2020

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With tourism in Mallorca facing an uncertain summer, it’s perhaps not surprising that some of the island’s eight Michelin-starred restaurants won’t open this season. The seasonal nature of these particular high-end restaurants is a challenge, when Covid-19 has delayed the start of the 2020 season.

Zaranda

Mallorca’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Zaranda, has left its former home in the 5-star hotel Castell Son Claret in Es Capdellà. Chef/proprietor Fernando Perez Arellano told me, ‘We will be back.’

I imagine madrileño Fernando is looking for premises in Palma de Mallorca, where there’s more likelihood of staying open all (or most of) the year.

Es Fum

Another hotel Michelin-starred restaurant—the elegant Es Fum—won’t be firing up its stoves this season. Its home is the 5-star St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort in the southwest of the island. Guests at the hotel won’t go hungry though: the hotel’s Aqua Restaurant is open and light snacks are also available in the Sa Badia pool bar and smart Es Vent bar.

Marc Fosh

Chef Marc Fosh talking to Reg Ward from Selva Vins at the chef’s cookbook launch

Marc Fosh—the only British chef in Spain with a Michelin-starred restaurant—has not yet announced the reopening of his Palma restaurant bearing his name. Its home is the boutique hotel Convent de la Missió, which looks set to reopen at the end of July. In the meantime, Marc is applying his culinary genius to the cuisine at Plata de Mar hotel in Canyamel—which, like Convent de la Missió—is part of the Torre de Canyamel Group. Read about Marc’s first cookbook, Modern Mediterranean, here.

Adrián Quetglas

Meanwhile, Michelin-starred cuisine in Palma is on offer at Adrián Quetglas Restaurant, which is open again for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. According to booking site El Tenedor, this is one of the restaurants currently receiving the most bookings. Book early!

 

Maca de Castro

Maca de Castro’s eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant in Port d’Alcúdia is not opening either this season. Maca has taken her team to Palma de Mallorca to open Andana, a restaurant where she creates delicious—and affordable—mallorquín cuisine, using vegetables grown on her own land in Sa Pobla. You’ll be able to read more about Andana in a future post; Maca intends to open her restaurant in the north of the island again next season.

Andreu Genestra

In the northeast of Mallorca, Restaurante Andreu Genestra, near Capdepera, opens again today, July 10th; find it within the Predi Son Jaumell rural hotel.

Voro by Álvaro Salazar

And, in Canyamel (also in the northeast), Voro by Álvaro Salazar at the Park Hyatt Mallorca, opens again on July 16th.

Es Racó d’es Teix

Es Racó d’es Teix in the mountain village of Deià was the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Mallorca to reopen after Spain’s lockdown ended. For our first lunch after the long confinement, we chose this beautiful family-run restaurant. Highly recommended.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Eating Out in the ‘New Normality’ in Mallorca

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Restaurants in Mallorca are open and ready to welcome you but, like eateries everywhere that have reopened since the pandemic, additional hygiene measures are in place to protect both diners and staff.

Here are a few things to note if you haven’t eaten out post-lockdown in Mallorca.

Sanitizing gel should be available on arrival so you can clean your hands.

You may have to wait to be seated, rather than nipping in to grab that vacant table you’ve spotted. This is because tables and chairs must be cleaned down when diners leave and before the next people can occupy the table.

Service with a smile at Raft 19 Bistro in Cala Gamba

Seeing staff wearing masks is more reminiscent of a visit to the dentist than to a restaurant, but you soon get used to it. Yesterday, we ate at Ponderosa Beach in Playa de Muro, where the owners had chosen perspex lower-face masks, which felt less like a barrier between ‘them and us’. When staff wear masks that make the nose and mouth invisible, we have to hope their smiles reach their eyes or these signs of warm hospitality will be missed!

Forget those posh menu folders. Most menus are now accessed by a QR code. If your phone can’t read these, ask if there’s a paper version of the menu, which should be destroyed when you’ve finished with it. In the absence of a disposable menu, the waiter or waitress will tell you what’s on offer. When I went last week for a menú del día at Ritzi in Puerto Portals, the maître d’ told us what was on the menu that day. (It was tasty, but portions were small and the price of 25€ for three courses, with bread and drinks extra, wasn’t the best value in the marina).

Some restaurants are offering a reduced à la carte menu, with fewer dishes than usual. We found this yesterday at Ponderosa Beach, a place we visit several times every summer. We had no problem finding tempting dishes though!

There’s less clutter on the tables, so fewer things for people to touch. Condiments are not put out on tables so, if you want salt, pepper, olive oil, or vinegar, you have to ask for them.

Eateries may have expanded or added an outdoor eating area. One example is Andreu Genestra’s Palma de Mallorca restaurant, Aromata: in the evenings, diners can sit at tables in the building’s adjacent garden.

Open or Not? And When?

Your favourite restaurant may have changed its opening days/hours for all or part of this summer. I recommend that you reserve a table in advance, to be sure.

Sadly, some restaurants are not opening this season—for various reasons. Fans of Michelin-starred restaurants Es Fum, Maca de Castro, and Zaranda, should be aware that these businesses won’t open for 2020’s shorter-than-usual season.

Complimentary Glass of Cava, Anyone?

We all love a little something extra when eating out and, if you book one of the restaurants on the Mallorcan Tonic website—using the link provided—they will give you a complimentary glass of cava. ¡Salud!

Jan Edwards ©2020