Review of Botanic Restaurant in Palma de Mallorca

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When the property developer Mikael Hall bought the 16th-century manor house Can Bordoy in Palma de Mallorca, he could have converted the property into desirable city apartments. Instead, the Swedish businessman decided to turn this neglected house, in the atmospheric La Lonja quarter, into a luxurious 5-star hotel. One of the reasons behind this decision was the property’s outdoor space: it’s the largest private garden in Palma.

“If I’d made it into apartments, this garden would have been lost to the people of Palma forever,” Mikael told me when I interviewed him for ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio some weeks ago. “This garden is unique in the city. I want it to be part of Palma’s life.” Anyone can come into this garden and enjoy a coffee, tea, cold drink, or something to eat. Be warned: you may not want to leave.

The conversion project took several years and presented a number of challenges along the way. Mikael first saw the property in May 2012 and it wasn’t until late last year that Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden was finished and ready to welcome its first guests. The efforts of everyone involved in the development and operation of this stunning hotel have just been rewarded: the 24-suite Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden is included in the ‘Best New Hotels in the World Hot List’ by Conde Nast Traveler magazine.

Chef Andrés Benítez at Botànic

Giovanni Merello (l) and Andres Benitez (r)

Giovanni Merello and Andres Benitez at the press breakfast I attended in December

The Palma de Mallorca hotel’s restaurant Botànic opened on December 20th, 2018. It was an opening I’d been waiting for since I heard that Andrés Benítez would be the chef. Andrés was previously head chef at Tomeu Caldentey’s Michelin-starred former Bou restaurant in Sa Coma and I’ve been a big fan of his modest personality and his cuisine for several years.

Botànic is open all day to the public. Come for breakfast – at any hour during the daytime – and feast on a tempting choice of dishes, including healthy bowls, a variety of free-range egg dishes, pastries and breads, and what Andrés calls combo dishes. I’ve had (a late) breakfast here on several occasions and have developed a serious weakness for the spelt toast topped with avocado, tomato, and home-made coconut-milk cheese (who knew of such a thing?).

On Sundays, there’s a table brunch with live piano music – which we’ve yet to try. I imagine that sitting in the garden, enjoying the food, a glass of fizz, and the gentle tinkling of the piano would be an idyllic way to spend some time.

Dinner at Botànic

At night Botànic offers healthy fine dining in the form of a monthly changing 7-plate tasting menu. We went last week to try the April menu and had a table in the library, which has an intimate ambience and subtle lighting – making it perfect for romantic dinners. A printed menu gives you an idea of what is to come.

Even before the arrival of the first dish – billed as Can Bordoy snacks – high quality was evident. Our server offered crusty bread from the admirable Forn Pes de sa Palla (the bakery of Amadip Esment, a foundation offering professional training and employment for people with mental disabilities). We had this with Mallorcan flor de sal and Can Bordoy-labelled organic extra virgin olive oil made from arbequina olives by Oli Novembre, which has the Denomination of Origin Oli de Mallorca.

Here are photos of just a few of the seven dishes from the menu we had. Sweet-toothed diners will be pleased to know that there is a pre-dessert as well as dessert!

In my opinion, the cost of 50€ for the 7-plate tasting menu at Botànic is excellent value, considering the quality of the food, service (Carolina from Colombia, who served us, was a delight), and the unique setting. The food is satisfying but won’t leave you feeling bloated or push your waistband to its limits.

Wine pairing optional…and recommended

If you enjoy wine, do try the optional wine pairing, for an additional 30€. We enjoyed the Italian sommelier Emiliano’s selection and his knowledge and opinions about wine make for interesting and informative snippets of conversation.

We had a different wine with each of the seven dishes – all matched, to our tastes, to perfection. They included: an elegant and crisp biodynamic Riesling (Achillée) from Alsace; Porrera, a white Garnacha from Priorat; an Albariño from Rias Baixas, and Gorgollassa from the organic winery Can Majoral in Mallorca. Our final drops were from a glass of natural sweet rosé from Selva Vins in Mallorca; this surprising wine, made from 100 per cent Merlot grapes and matured in chestnut barrels, was more red than pink and was the result of a ‘happy accident’ in the wine-making process. Thank you, Emiliano, for sharing your passion – and your wine choices.

There is a lot to admire about Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden. Being here is like visiting friends who live in a rather splendid house. Managing director Giovanni Merello is at the helm of a team that feels more like a family, devoted to offering warm hospitality and comfort to all who visit.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have a second home in Palma de Mallorca. Now, I think I know…

Jan Edwards ©2019

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