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.
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).
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.
NOTE: Fernando P Arellano is one of three chefs at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurants who will create a gourmet charity dinner on Saturday, April 21st, at Finca Son Mir, near Palma. Fernando will cook with Marc Fosh and Adrian Quetglas (whose eponymous starred restaurants are in Palma). This event – ‘A Soirée with the Stars’ – will include live entertainment and more and is in aid of the JoyRon Foundation’s projects to help needy children in the Balearics. A wonderful opportunity to help children and to taste the food of three chefs whose restaurants have four Michelin stars between them. Reserve now on http://www.soiree-with-the-stars.com.
Text & photos ©Jan Edwards 2018