Mallorca now has quite a few Japanese restaurants – mainly in the capital, Palma – as well as a couple serving the highly recommended trendy Japanese/Peruvian fusion cuisine. Even our nearest town of Manacor has at least a couple of places serving Japanese food – as yet untried by us.
However, we have experienced a different style of Japanese dining in our favourite café in the town, El Palau. Once the holiday season is over, the friendly owner Nofre and his small team offer a Temaki Sushi Sashimi experience each Friday night. We intended to try one last winter but we didn’t get around to it. We finally made it there last Friday evening, when my brother – who had several authentic culinary experiences during a visit to Japan – was staying with us for a short holiday.
The ambience is relaxed and Nofre told us that we would be eating in the way a Japanese family eats at home, rather than in a restaurant. He wanted us to feel as though we were dining in his home. Thankfully we didn’t have to sit on the floor – as my brother had done when dining on a visit to Japan.
Nofre is fortunate in having a Japanese friend, a young woman who taught him some of the things she learned in the kitchen of her grandmother and about traditional authentic Japanese cuisine. He was clearly a good pupil. He explained that the dinner comprised three ‘acts’, the first of which consisted of some delicious morsels to be shared between the three of us, using the chopsticks provided. Sharing a number of dishes – to try several different things – has become one of my favourite ways to eat, so this suited me perfectly.
The second ‘act’ was partly a DIY one: a generous bowl of rice, plate of small square nori leaves, and a large platter of prepared vegetables, Japanese salad, rolled fine omelette, tuna, prawns, octopus, marinated and smoked salmon, were placed in the middle of the table. Nofre explained how we should tackle the task in front of us, first using the small individual wooden ‘paddles’ provided to spread rice across a nori leaf and then adding one type of fish and our choice of vegetables before wrapping the parcel, dipping it in soy sauce and eating it. Hey, doesn’t that sound easy?
I’m afraid we probably didn’t look very elegant eating this – so there are no photos of soy sauce dribbling down our chins. But it was a delicious feast, enthusiastically devoured – and topped up at one point with a replenishment of nori leaves and platter ingredients.
And to end it all . . .
Our final ‘act’ was the dessert, which comprised an unusual ‘bridge’ between the savoury dishes and the mango pudding that followed, consisting of three balls of tofu and a grape skewered on a stick.
This Japanese feast costs just 24,90 euros a head (at time of writing) and is certainly worth the money for the cuisine, the fun of eating it, and authentic experience. We shall return.
El Palau Cafe’s Temaki Sushi Sashimi evenings are for a maximum of around 30 people and it’s essential to book as this Friday-night treat is a popular one – especially among the younger people of Manacor who don’t need a daily fix of sobrasada!
These weekly Japanese dinners start again from October 2017: every Friday from October 20th to December 8th.
Book by phoning +34 654 048 474 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
©Jan Edwards 2015