Mallorca has numerous restaurants – many of them excellent – but I find a pop-up dining event particularly appealing. For me, it’s the chance to eat in a location that’s not usually accessible to the public; being part of an event with a limited number of people I probably haven’t met before, and sitting down to a meal where each course is a surprise – and not chosen from a presented menu.
Pop-up dining is common in many large cities, but doesn’t seem to have become a hot trend yet on Mallorca. Perhaps it’s because the island is blessed with so many independently owned good restaurants, rather than franchised chain establishments.
American-style pop-up dining
We have enjoyed a few pop-up dining events though on Mallorca. These have included three Thanksgiving Dinners arranged by talented Texan private chef Ross Hutchison and his New Yorker wife Joanna Cybulski, who live on Mallorca. The 2016 dinner was held in a surprisingly spacious private villa in Palma’s Son Espanyolet and began with drinks and Ross’s delicious canapés in the courtyard garden, where the final touches to the feast were being done in the outdoor kitchen. We ate our delicious turkey dinner indoors, where Joanna had taken a lot of trouble over the decoration of the dining table. Read about their special Thanksgiving Dinner in a winery here.
A fortnight before Christmas, The Boss and I went to Sóller – quite a drive from our home on the other side of Mallorca – for a Charlie’s Kitchen pop-up dinner. It was my second experience of private chef Piers Dawson‘s exciting cuisine, as I’d had to write an article about it a year ago. The location was the same stunning private house (not the couple’s own) in the heart of Sóller, with a contemporary interior and spacious dining room-cum-kitchen, where we and our fellow foodies sat at the table, watching the culinary magic unfold.
Piers’s wife Holly helps him at these pop-up dinners and her table arrangements and personal attention are impeccable. Over a welcome glass of cava, we had time to introduce ourselves to the other guests in the small group, before taking our allocated seats for dinner. Diners are invited to take their own wine (no corkage fee), but water is provided.
Every dish was a delightful surprise because all we knew from the provided menu were the main ingredients of each one. I fell in love – again – with Piers’s sourdough bread and home-made butter, served during the dinner. I can’t help but wonder how Holly stays so slim, when he bakes bread as tempting as this…
Here are a few photos from the night:
Piers Dawson is an extraordinarily creative and dedicated chef whose food is certainly worth travelling across Mallorca for. Charlie’s Kitchen takes its name from the couple’s gorgeous little boy; being able to spend more time with his family was one of the reasons Piers left top UK catering company Alison Price to move to Mallorca and work as a private chef.
What an evocative name! There’s usually a waiting list for a place at these limited-number pop-up dinners, as the food is prepared by one or more of Mallorca’s top chefs. The location of each one is a surprise until the day of the dinner and previous venues have included retail stores, art galleries, and a private house in the mountains. We are determined to try one of these events soon!
Text & photos ©Jan Edwards 2017