We’ve been fans of Mallorcan chef Tomeu Caldentey’s cuisine since before I began this blog. He was the first Mallorcan chef on the island to have his cuisine awarded a Michelin star, which he maintained for 14 years. In 2018 Tomeu gave up the star to change his restaurant concept to something different, more affordable and, I’m sure, less stressful.
He created his new concept, Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner, in the same premises in Sa Coma, on the east coast of Mallorca. The chef was no longer running a brigade but taking the lead role in his gleaming contemporary kitchen. He’s the modest star of his own cooking ‘show’, with an enthusiastic audience seated around the counter watching him work before they enjoy the fruits of his culinary labours.
Then Along Came Covid
Mallorca’s tough Covid restrictions in the hospitality sector began to ease when eateries and bars were allowed to serve customers again – but only on terraces. Tomeu couldn’t operate his particular concept while restaurant interiors remained closed.
His premises are at one end of the Protur Sa Coma hotel and have ample terrace space. So, in order to keep working, Tomeu came up with a new concept of lunchtime eating: Bartomeu. Once the Covid restrictions were removed, he was able to continue with the Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner concept at night as well. So there are now two ways to enjoy his food.
What is Bartomeu?
Bartomeu offers a set lunch menu (with some choices) on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The menu changes every week and is published in advance. Lunch begins with a round loaf of Tomeu’s delicious olive oil bread and a moretum to spread on it.
The Migdia menu includes a sharing dish, followed by a soup, then a choice of main course, and choice of dessert. The price of 17,50 euros includes water and coffee (but there’s an additional charge for the bread). On Saturdays and Sundays, Bartomeu offers a lunchtime rice menu for 26 euros.
Tomeu serves the dishes himself (he has an assistant in the kitchen). Drinks are on a self-service basis and modestly priced. Our glasses of red wine cost 3,50 each, which we thought was reasonable. The selection of wines by the bottle looked keenly priced.
The room where we ate was filled with natural light, which felt uplifting on a sunny day. The capacity looked to be around 20 people, so it feels quite intimate and relaxed. The latter is helped by the fact that Tomeu – looking noticeably slimmer and younger these days – wears an apron over T-shirt and jeans, rather than chef whites.
You do need to book at least a day in advance for this lunch, which is popular with locals (we were the only foreigners there). We usually make spontaneous decisions about lunches out, which meant a few unsuccessful attempts to get a table in the past.
Good to Know
Bartomeu and Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner will be open until the end of December, then will close for a few weeks for a holiday. Check out the Tomeu Caldentey Cuiner website for more information – including details of gift vouchers, which could make welcome Christmas presents.
A large free car park is just across the road.
To find out what’s on the Migdia menu at Bartomeu, follow xeftomeucaldentey on Instagram.
©Jan Edwards 2021