Eduardo Martínez and Bruno Balbi, from Brut Restaurante, have twice been guests on my gastronomy radio show Table Talk*. The two Argentinians’ exciting eatery is in the village of Llubí in the centre of Mallorca; it’s fair to say that it’s probably not the type of restaurant you would expect to find in a rural Mallorcan village.
Brut first opened in July 2017 and everything I heard and read about it made me determined to try this seasonal restaurant for myself. I don’t know how so much time passed without me achieving this but, on Saturday, we finally made it. And what a thrilling experience it was. We can’t wait to return.
Back at the end of February 2020, when they came for an interview with me in the studio, Edu and Bruno were enthusiastic about the coming season. They had lots to talk about, including the fact that Edu had joined the prestigious group of chefs under the banner of Chefs(in), which promotes Balearic gastronomy. Then along came Covid-19 and Spain’s lockdown.
Like many restaurants that reopened after lockdown ended, Brut has had to adapt for this strange season. Previously, 12 diners sat at the U-shaped counter watching their tasting menu being prepared in the open kitchen.
Social distancing now means fewer seats at the counter, but diners can also sit at one of the two tables within the large space. And, instead of a tasting menu, Brut is offering a small selection of tempting à la carte dishes. On Saturday, main course choices were several cuts and ages of high-quality beef, loin of venison, their own burger in a sourdough brioche, and a cod dish.
Brut’s industrial vibes are authentic: the premises in Llubí were once home to a garage. In one of his interviews with me, Edu said, ‘A lot of the best ideas from the last century came from a garage – The Beatles, Macintosh. . .’
Edu and Bruno create sustainable food and like to use produce that many kitchens don’t use, such as fig leaves. Experimentation leads to exciting culinary ideas – many concocted over the winter months when Brut Restaurante is closed. Other things you’ll find at Brut are fermented produce, kombuchas, natural wines, and sourdoughs. They have their own vegetable plot, growing organic 0km produce.
Brut is also home to a microbrewery, producing unique beers from unusual ingredients. On Saturday night, The Boss tried Dulce de Leche Stout and Choconut Imperial Stout; because I like Guinness, I had a sip of each of these two tempting stouts. Oh my word. Delicious.
Brut also makes its own raw fermented organic teas, under the brand Brilla Kombucha. I’m a huge fan of kombucha and have a daily glass at home, so had to try these. I had two flavours: bugambilla and yuzu and then olive and grapefruit. These probiotic drinks are not only delicious and moreish, they’re super-healthy for the gut. Brilla Kombucha is also available in quite a few restaurants, bars, hotels, cafes, and specialist shops across Mallorca, so be sure to look out for it.
About Edu Martínez
Edu is from Argentina but moved to Madrid at the age of twenty-two. He was already interested in gastronomy and, although he was working as a creative in an advertising agency, his dream was to open a restaurant.
The famous restaurant El Bulli was an agency client, which brought Edu into contact with the legendary Ferran Adrià. He went on to do a stage at El Bulli, whilst becoming more involved with gastronomic brands at the advertising agency.
After creating a brand of artisanal beers, Edu left the agency and the Peninsula, moving to Llubí to open Brut with Bruno Balbi, also a former creative director. Their combined experience in the advertising world is evident in the superb images on their Instagram page brut_restaurant. If you can’t get to Brut Restaurante in this travel-restricted year, follow that page and whet your appetite for a visit in 2021.
If you’re in Mallorca or are able to travel here without quarantine concerns when you return to your home country, Edu will be the chef for Chefs(in)’s Hidden Kitchen event on November 28th. Read here about a previous Hidden Kitchen event we attended.
Table Talk on Mallorca Sunshine Radio is currently on hold, as a result of the pandemic.
Jan Edwards Copyright 2020