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