If you love Japanese cuisine and unique experiences, Kairiku restaurant is for you. This intimate cellar restaurant, in southeast Mallorca, is in the quiet agricultural town of Campos. From Palma de Mallorca, this market town is effectively the gateway to Mallorca’s southeast and south coast. You’ll pass through it on the way to the virgin beach of Es Trenc, resort and port of Colonia de Sant Jordi, the town of Santanyí, and Ses Salines but, as you’ll read, it’s worth breaking your journey in Campos.
Find Kairiku in the town centre, within the 5-star Sa Creu Nova Art Hotel & Spa. The property is a conversion of three adjoining traditional Mallorcan townhouses, with a hideaway courtyard garden (with pool) at the rear. The result is a harmonious blend of contemporary styling and traditional features, such as arches and the sandy-coloured local marés stone; this and the original art throughout the hotel are sure to please aesthetes. Another must-mention is that street parking in the hotel’s vicinity is plentiful and free of charge.
The hotel is owned by Teresa Artés de Arcos Queralt and her husband Enrique Picó – the couple behind the successful Japanese restaurant Minato in Barcelona.
“I trust you…”
Back to Kairiku; I shall certainly go back, having been delighted by my first ‘omakase’ experience – unique in Mallorca to this restaurant. The word ‘omakase’ comes from the Japanese verb for ‘to entrust’: diners trust the chef to deliver delicious dishes of his own choice. You won’t find a menu here (or at any ‘omakase’ restaurant) but if you love the flavours and textures of Japanese cuisine, that shouldn’t be a problem. Just enjoy each dish as a surprise as it arrives in front of you.
Kairiku is also the only restaurant on Mallorca offering a tasting menu matched with premium sakes. Sake is heady stuff and booking a room at Sa Creu Nova Art Hotel & Spa would be a good idea if you want to take full advantage of these Japanese rice wines, but don’t have someone to drive you home from Campos!
Table for 10
One long table in Kairiku accommodates just ten people, in one sitting; you don’t have to go as a group, but can be one (or more) of the ten people who share not only the table, but also an interest in Japanese cuisine and unique dining experiences. It’s an interesting way to meet new people and perhaps make new friends.
From the hotel’s ground-floor Mediterranean restaurant – Tess de Mar* – you go down a few steps to a smart minimalist Japanese-style dining area. Here, the ‘itamae’ (chef) César León prepares delicious authentic Japanese dishes in the smallest of open kitchens, in front of diners. He’s actually Argentinian but has certainly mastered the Land of the Rising Sun’s cuisine.
For the next couple of hours, my fellow diners and I ate a series of dishes bursting with freshness, creativity, and flavour. Bruno Peixoto is the sommelier – very knowledgeable about sakes – and also in charge of the dining space. He explains each dish as it’s presented and, if you don’t speak Spanish, he’ll detail each one in English. Our dinner began with a Japanese cocktail and included three different sakes, and a glass of Mallorcan Sincronia (from Bodega Mesquida Mora in nearby Porreres).
Shhh…it’s a surprise
A miso ramen soup, niguiris, futomaki, and sashimi were among the dishes we ate. And that’s all the information I shall give you, as the point of ‘omakase’ dining is that you should be surprised. And, at Kairiku, pleasantly surprised too.
However, I am sharing a few photos of some of the dishes and hope they will whet your appetite for a visit to this unexpected restaurant find in Campos.
UPDATE JULY 2019: César León has left Kairiku and Master of Japanese haute cuisine Ryuichiro Katano has been appointed to take this exciting restaurant to the next level. If you go before I do, I’d love to hear about your experience.
Kairiku is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, for dinner only. This experience costs 70€ (correct at time of writing)
*NOTE: Juan Ocampo, chef de cuisine at Tess de Mar restaurant, was one of my guests on ‘Table Talk’ May 26th on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. You can hear the interview here.
©Jan Edwards 2018