Our foodie friends know that we are big fans of Ponderosa Beach on Platja de Muro, in the north of Mallorca. We’ve eaten here quite often at this seasonal beach restaurant since our first visit in October 2014. We’ve also taken friends and family members to share the joy of eating a delicious meal with your toes buried in the sand beneath the table.
If you go for lunch and like seafood and paella/rice dishes (arroz con cosas), I recommend ordering the Aristocrat & Baroque rice dish. It’s the most expensive rice dish on the menu at 28€ per person, but it’s the type of dish that makes me want to stand on my restaurant chair and sing with unbridled joy. It’s fortunate for fellow diners that I am able to control these urges…
Special event for San Juan
If you don’t already know, the festivities for San Juan – or Sant Joan in mallorquín – take place at night on June 23rd, the eve of the Saint’s day. Many people consider this to be the most magical night of the year, marking the arrival of summer. The celebrations involve superstition and rituals, which usually take place on a beach. Bonfires, candles, food, and drink are the essential ingredients – along with friends and loved ones to share the fun. Fire and water are important elements of the San Juan celebrations.
Fire and water are also important at Ponderosa Beach on this special night – when the place stays open late and the kitchen is busy for the eatery’s Sant Joan Chef Night. Each year they invite a guest chef to join its own kitchen brigade in creating a special tasting menu for the occasion. DJs provide the music (this year we had MI.RO from Mallorca and Nickodemus from New York).
For the first one we attended, two guest chefs – Pau Navarro and Ariadne Salvador – were in the kitchen. It was the first time I tried their creative modern food – based on local recipes and ingredients – and I was thrilled to try their restaurant Clandestí Taller Gastronòmic in Palma some time later for a restaurant review.
Chef Jonay Hernandez
This year’s San Juan Chef Night at Ponderosa Beach featured a chef I interviewed recently on ‘Table Talk’, my Saturday show on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. Jonay Hernandez is from the Canary Islands and his cuisine reflects that. He has two restaurants on the island: Flor de Sal in Camp de Mar and the recently opened La Vieja de Jonay Hernandez in Palma.
I haven’t yet eaten at either of his places but they’re on the list (it grows each week). For San Juan, Jonay and the Ponderosa Beach brigade created the tasting menu (details and some images) below, for which we paid 60 euros each.
Aperitif – Peach wine (made by the Ponderosa Beach mixologist, Alex Martinez Lebrero)
STARTERS (to share)
Roasted maize and cod cube croquette with red onion jam
Sea bass and pork belly tartar, roasted oil, and prawn dust
Broccoli in tempura, oyster mayo, smoked fat, and tuna heart
Corvina with lemon and roasted pumpkin rice
Braised pork fillet with mojo picón, cranberry jelly, and papas arrugadas
Pineapple and beetroot tepache – a bright-pink fermented drink
Chocolate and gofio fudge
Torrija with cardamom cream, almond ice cream, and lemon caramel
Redivins wine distributors offered an optional wine pairing for this dinner, for an extra 20 euros. We didn’t take advantage of this, but their wines are excellent. The dinner was really tasty, although I confess that I have never been a fan of torrija (the texture is not to my liking). Having had this dinner, I have moved La Vieja de Jonay Hernandez a few places up my restaurant-visit wish list.
Ponderosa Beach has a few new waiting staff members this year but the ethos is the same: this is a place where you can chill and experience laid-back beach vibes, yet still eat creative, well-prepared cuisine – served with professionalism.
- Book well ahead if you want to be sure of getting a table at Ponderosa Beach.
- Go in footwear you can kick off easily. Toes will want to be sunk into the sand.
- If you are particularly attractive to insects (sand flies in particular), be liberal with the insect repellent before you arrive.
We’re already looking forward to next year’s San Juan Chef Night at Ponderosa Beach. Any bets as to who the guest chef may be in 2019?
©Jan Edwards 2018