Have you ever had an omakase experience? If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine – or have been fortunate enough to visit Japan (I know I’d love to) – you probably know that omakase translates as ‘entrust’; in this case, it means you don’t know what the restaurant’s chef will serve you, but trust that it will be good.
Japanese restaurant in Campos? Yes!
The cuisine at Kairiku – Mallorca’s only omakase restaurant – was delicious when I visited this intimate cellar restaurant in Campos (within Sa Creu Nova Petit Palais Art & Spa) in May 2018. This season it’s even better, thanks to the arrival of Ryuichiro Katano – a Master of Japanese Cuisine. I noted greater precision in the preparation and presentation of dishes and an almost-tangible passion emanating from the open kitchen.
Ryu’s mission at Kairiku is to develop new talent Bruno Peixoto, who previously ran the service of the dishes and paired sakes here. Bruno’s enthusiasm, knowledge, and desire to learn from one of Spain’s best shishos – or masters – means an exciting new role for him this year and it’s obvious that he’s loving the opportunity to learn from such an experienced master.
About Ryuichiro Katano
Ryu is a venerable Japanese culinary master, with a long family tradition in the catering industry. He’s originally from Otaru, the northern coastal city and port that’s been called ‘the Venice of Japan’. He began working in Kaiseki – his grandfather’s restaurant – at a young age and trained further in different restaurants in Japan to develop his skills.
Ryu arrived in Spain at the age of 46 and has since been Master of Japanese Cuisine in various restaurants, including Shibui and Fishshop. He’s an earnest-looking chef, with excellent knife skills honed over the decades, which he’s teaching Bruno.
The Master’s cuisine is technical, simple, and traditional – but at the same time innovative and creative, based on high-quality raw ingredients.
Kairiku is one of two restaurants within the 5-star Sa Creu Nova Petit Palais Art & Spa in the centre of Campos. A small flight of stairs leads down to Kairiku’s intimate cellar restaurant, which has stylish understated Japanese décor. (Guests with mobility issues would probably find access difficult.)
Only ten diners are accommodated at one long table, but you don’t have to go as a party of ten. Whether you go on your own or with one or more people, you all eat at the same time (starting at 20:30h) and no doubt share conversation about the food and sakes – as we did with the Mallorcans who were dining there on the same evening.
Being an omakase restaurant, Kairiku has no printed menu, and the table setting is minimalist. Jeremias has taken over the service at Kairiku and his first role was to bring jugs of yuzu-powder-infused water to the table; these were topped up during the course of the dinner. Next, he served us a delicious pink cocktail of cranberry juice, sake, and yuzu.
In the open kitchen, we watched Ryu and Bruno assembling the dishes; as each one was presented at the table, there were exclamations of surprise and approval – and phone cameras were pressed into action. Below are some of my own photos.
Sakes on the side
Every dish was exquisitely prepared and the precise cut of the raw sashimi we had was evidence of Ryu Katano’s influence here. Jeremias explained each dish to us (he also speaks English if you don’t speak Spanish) and told us about the various sakes paired with the dishes served during the omakase dinner.
I wasn’t quite a sake virgin, but it’s not a drink I’ve tried often. Like grape-based wines, flavours differ and it was good to learn about these from Jeremias. Sake is becoming trendy in Mallorca’s capital, Palma, and several bars and restaurants serve sakes.
After dessert and tea, we all climbed up the few stairs and went to Sa Creu Nova’s smart Es Vicari bar, where our omakase dinner finale was a special cocktail.
If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine and visiting (or living in) Mallorca, I can recommend restaurant Kairiku as a different, interesting, and informative eating-out experience. Who would have expected to find a Japanese restaurant of such sophistication in the agricultural town of Campos?
Kairiku’s omakase dining experience – including all the drinks – costs 97€.
Price correct at time of writing.
Open: Wednesday to Sunday – one sitting at 20:30h
Jan Edwards ©2019