Where to Eat One of Mallorca’s Best BBQs

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Mallorcan summers are perfect for BBQs. Long lazy BBQ dinners with a glass or two of Mallorcan wine sound perfect, don’t they? Not, perhaps, if the temperature’s soaring and the prospect of standing over a fiery grill at home (or at a holiday rental) is unbearable.

The solution is to let someone else do the cooking: find a restaurant where you’ll enjoy the tantalising aromas and delicious flavours of food grilled on a BBQ – without the work involved.

We did that on Sunday night, having heard that the front-line 5-star St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort in Costa d’en Blanes was offering a weekly Sunday-night BBQ. The day had been insufferably humid and hot – a combination that meant we wouldn’t be firing up our own Weber that night.

The BBQ at this smart but friendly resort hotel is held on the large terrace of its Aqua restaurant, with views of the garden. We chose a table right on the edge of the terrace, next to a lawn, from which we could see the hotel’s swimming pools and the Mediterranean beyond.

Our BBQ Dinner

A server quickly took our drinks order and another brought a platter of breads and dips, which were too good not to finish. Then we went indoors to the buffet area to choose our starters. Chilled soups, Iberian serrano ham, Mallorcan charcuterie, smoked salmon, coca (Mallorca’s answer to pizza – but without cheese), and a wide assortment of salads all vied for our attention.

We helped ourselves – reminding ourselves that we’d be eating from the BBQ afterwards – and returned to our table. On the way, a server relieved us of our plates and carried them to the table for us. Five-star service.

Two chefs – cheerful, despite the heat – were cooking in the BBQ area at one side of the terrace.  The choice and quality of meats and seafood were excellent and plenty of side dishes were available too. As well as salad greens from the indoor buffet, I helped myself to rosemary potatoes and mushrooms with my plate of prawns, succulent beef, and a lamb cutlet. What a delicious plateful!

The Sunday-night BBQ at the St Regis Mardavall Mallorca ends with another visit to the buffet for mini-desserts, ice creams, and choice of cheeses. Here are just a few from the night we were there.

Sadly we called a halt to dinner after the desserts, despite our server recommending us to have cheese too. We just didn’t have room for any more food. Next time, we’ll save space for some cheese.

Our Verdict

It’s a thumbs up from us! The setting, the food choice and quality, and the service ticked all the right boxes. Whether you’re holidaying or living in Mallorca, if you’re yearning for a BBQ – with not a burnt sausage in sight – choose the high-quality option and book a table for one of these Sunday night BBQs – which continue until the end of September. The cost is 65€, excluding drinks.

We’ve visited the St Regis Mardavall Mallorca hotel on many occasions for various events and activities and have always been impressed with the service and facilities.


Jan Edwards ©2019

Review of Cova Negra Restaurant in Capdepera

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A chef with experience of working in Lima’s Astrid & Gastón – often cited as Latin America’s best restaurant – is now at the helm of his own restaurant in northeast Mallorca. Valencian chef Pablo Tamarit opened Cova Negra in Capdepera in April 2019; his restaurant is within the 4-star-plus Hotel Creu de Tau – a superb renovation and conversion of a former Franciscan convent, but run independently of the hotel.

I first visited the property when it was still a construction site: the former manager of sister hotel Melbeach Hotel and Spa in nearby Canyamel took us on a tour and, as we picked our way through rubble and around scaffolding, it was obvious that this would become an impressive hotel. Hotel Creu de Tau and Cova Negra opened in spring this year and we visited the restaurant for dinner last week.

Chef/patron Pablo Tamarit

Pablo Tamarit

Pablo originally studied business in Castellón but changed course, moving to hotel school in Valencia. After his studies he worked for some 18 months at Restaurante Envero in Valencia, with ex-El Bulli chef Tomas Garcia. He came to Mallorca to work at Can Simoneta, the 5-star coastal hotel in Canyamel, where he worked for 12 years – becoming head chef in 2010.

Working in a seasonal hotel enabled Pablo to travel and gain more culinary experience during the winter and, in 2013, he joined the famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio in the kitchen of Astrid & Gastón. You’ll find some Peruvian influences in Pablo’s cuisine.

The restaurant

Many of the original architectural features of the building were restored and retained as part of the convent’s conversion. The smart bar reveals its history as the convent’s former chapel; have a drink here or on the bar’s terrace. One wonders what the former Mother Superior would think about this!

The most striking features of the dining room are the gothic arches along the length of the dining room and large windows with views out to the hills. There’s plenty of space between tables and, for even more privacy, a tucked-away private dining room. The restaurant extends onto a large covered terrace, where you eat at cloth-covered tables with restful long views.

Cova Negra has a Mediterranean concept at lunchtime, with an à la carte menu of starters, grilled dishes and, of course (Pablo being from Valencia), paellas. The dinner concept is gastronomic with a very tempting à la carte menu, including a starter of lobster four ways, fish of the day, and Rossini tenderloin of Simmental beef.

Unable to choose from so many tempting dishes, we opted for the tasting menu (65€): seven dishes showcasing Pablo Tamarit’s culinary techniques and creativity. This menu can be accompanied by sommelier and front-of-house manager Ildara Bajo’s wine pairing for 45€. We didn’t indulge because of the drive home, but next time maybe we’ll stay the night and take advantage of the wines.

To start, we had two types of bread (rye and herbed focaccia), truffled beetroot butter, salt, and Aubocassa extra virgin olive oil.

The cuisine

Here are pictures of the dishes we ate. I haven’t given full details of each one – just a hint of what you could experience.


Each dish was explained by the friendly and efficient service-team member who brought it to the table. The kitchen has some attractive plates and bowls on which to present the food and I found myself peering underneath a few of them to see who the manufacturer was!

As always, when we have a tasting menu, we discussed our favourite dishes. I found it hard to choose an overall favourite, as I really enjoyed them all – but eating the tasty taco with fingers proved a little messy. Thank heavens for the hot towel provided beforehand! The Boss’s favourite was the beef; it was delicious.

Although we didn’t drink wine, I checked out the wine list. Cova Negra offers some good Mallorcan wines, including some from the DO Pla i Llevant (Capdepera is in the Llevant hills). Others are from the Peninsula, France, and California. Bottle prices start at 28€, although there is one at 26€.

In summary…

Eating at Cova Negra in Capdepera is an experience we’re sure to repeat and I hope we’ll go for lunch soon to try out a paella made by Pablo Tamarit; as he’s from Valencia (home of authentic paella), I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth the drive to this beautiful northeast corner of Mallorca.

Good to know:

  • Anyone who can’t manage the steps up to the restaurant entrance can access Cova Negra using the elevator at the hotel entrance.
  • This is an adults-only (14+) establishment.
  • Cova Negra is easy to find in Capdepera and shares the hotel’s adjacent large free private car park.

Prices correct at time of writing.

Open daily: 13:00-15:30h & 19:30-22:30h

Jan Edwards©2019

Pop-up Dinner at Bodega Conde de Suyrot, Mallorca

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A fine start to the evening

Pop-up dinners have great appeal for me – as you may have read in previous posts on this blog. Dinner in a winery on Mallorca? Don’t mind if I do; so we did.

The winery in question was the French-owned Bodega Conde de Suyrot in Colònia de Sant Pere, not far from Artà. We’re big fans of their wines, so the prospect of a wine-paired dinner – with food courtesy of Santi Taura Events – was not to be missed. Santi Taura, if you don’t know, is a talented chef from Lloseta (near Inca), whose eponymous restaurant there has been known to have one of the longest waiting lists for a table in the whole of Spain. He also has a weeknight cooking show on the Mallorcan TV station IB3.

Our favourite sunset spot

Bodega Conde de Suyrot is housed in a former stable block and has a huge terrace, which is ideal for a variety of events. This terrace has stunning views over vineyards to the Bay of Alcúdia and the Tramuntana mountains beyond. On the coastline, Colònia de Sant Pere offers spectacular sunset views; Bodega Conde de Suyrot’s views are even better, as the winery is on a hillside.

Dinner last Friday was on this terrace. In some pop-up dinner events, diners share a long table but, for this one, tables and chairs were set out in the style of a restaurant terrace. Two front-of-house members of Santi’s team looked after us well and the wine flowed generously.

The menu

Appetizers: Cold soup of Mallorcan almonds, Croquette of the day, Vegetable coca with smoked sardine

Wine: 2018 Conde Blanco

Starter: Cannelloni of meat-stuffed aubergine with sauce

Wine: 2018 Es Cap Roig

Main course: Sea bass cooked en papillote with curried vegetables and aromatic herbs

Wine: 2018 Es Mussol

Dessert: Chocolate, coffee, Baileys

Wine: 2017 Sa Llebre

The food was delicious and we appreciated the Conde de Suyrot wine pairings. I must admit that I was a teeny bit disappointed not to see Santi himself at the event but he has a fantastic culinary team who did him and themselves proud.

If you like the look of this dinner – a combination of Bodega Conde de Suyrot wines, the cuisine and service of Santi Taura Events, and nature’s sunset spectacle – another pop-up dinner is scheduled for Friday, August the 16th. For more details, or to book, email af@condedesuyrot.com.

Santi recently closed his restaurants (Santi Taura and DINS Santi Taura), which shared premises in Lloseta and is set to open DINS Santi Taura in Palma very soon, within the new El Llorenç Hotel. He is also about to open Cor Barra i Taula in Palma, which will offer drinks and a simpler style of food. He also has GUST by Santi Taura on the coastal strip in Playa de Muro.

Jan Edwards ©2019

Try Mallorca’s Artisanal Gins

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At the end of a Mallorcan high-summer’s day – when the mercury has probably been flirting around in the upper 30s – nothing hits the spot like a gin and tonic. And Mallorca is the perfect place to try home-grown versions of the juniper-base spirit, with a refreshing choice of artisanal gins on offer.

I was eighteen when I started studying Spanish at evening classes in the UK; one of the first phrases I remember learning was ginebra y tónica. At that tender age, gin wasn’t even on my drinks radar, so it was a pretty useless phrase for me. When we moved to Mallorca, I realised quite how useless it was: I’ve never heard the drink referred to in Spain as anything other than gin-tonic.

Gin is definitely on my drinks radar these days, although it’s only an occasional tipple. When I do indulge, I like to try one of the new premium gins being distilled in Mallorca.

Last Friday we attended the 2nd Mallorca Gin Festival, at Pueblo Español in Palma de Mallorca. It was organised by the Palma-based drinks distributor Catavinos and Franklin & Sons (which has just launched a citrusy Mallorcan Tonic). Unlike their first Mallorca Gin Festival in December (at the snappily named Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel) for trade visitors, the summer version was open to all.

For an entrance fee of 15€ (10€ for each of the first 1,000 tickets sold), visitors could taste any of the 18 gins on offer and then have two gin and tonics, with their choice of gin. Three food trucks were there selling their respective specialities and a DJ provided the soundtrack to the evening.

It was a pity that Friday was probably the hottest day so far this summer, as the sunlit hours were not as busy as I expected. The festival started at 4pm but we deferred our arrival until 6pm. Hombre, we needed those delicious chilled G&Ts by the time we had wandered from stall to stall in the searing heat and selected which gins to have.

The benefit of fewer people being there at that time was that we could spend time talking to the distillers about their gins. We really enjoyed the event – if not the heat – and were grateful to end our visit with two delicious well-mixed G&Ts. We are already looking forward to the 3rd Mallorca Gin Festival.

As well as small-batch Mallorcan gins, there were a few others from further afield – even as far away as Bangkok (Iron Balls). The following were the local varieties on offer.


Can be shipped abroad (except to Sweden) by Fet a Sóller for personal consumption (not retail). This gin from Sóller contains herbal extracts from the Tramuntana. Their varieties include Taronja (orange) gin and the Mandarina gin liqueur – which is not sickly sweet like some liqueurs.

Gin Eva

The Gin Eva distillery in Llucmajor is on a trading estate, but you’ll forget that fact once you’re inside (it’s open to visitors on Thursdays – see website for details).  Stefan and Eva Winterling are behind this successful business; originally winemakers, Eva is Catalan and Stefan is German and they have worked in wineries in several countries. They swapped wine-making in Mallorca for gin production to start Gin Eva in 2012, after making gin for the Mallorcan winery where they previously worked.

They make four gins and some artisanal spirits and have won several awards. My favourite Mallorcan artisanal gin is their La Mallorquina Olive Extra Dry Gin, made from the pomace of olives grown on the centuries-old Son Moragues estate in Valldemossa. Whenever I have a G&T made with this evocative gin, I think back to a wonderful day I spent at this estate in the mountains.

Gin Mercant & Mascori

The distillery Pareis makes these relatively new gins on Mallorca’s distilling scene, in the village of Llubí, not far from Inca. Gin Mercant is described as super-aromatic, with notes of fennel, cinnamon, Mallorcan oranges and other sweet spices. Mascori is made with Mallorcan lemons, fennel and citric spices. It has a delicate fruity aroma with an acid touch. Both of these London Dry gins are best with a neutral tonic.


This gin is made at the winery Bodegas Can Vidalet near Pollensa. This gin is made with eleven Mediterranean botanicals, including juniper, fresh citrus fruits, rosemary, and other botanicals sourced from the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. It was the first Mallorcan artisan gin (which was then called Can Vidalet) that we tried here.

Palma Gin

The British-owned Mallorca Distillery in Palma has made a huge impression on the local gin market. Byron Holland is from Newcastle in the northeast of England and worked in the nautical sector before running a restaurant in Edinburgh. With roots put down in Palma de Mallorca – a city he’d visited during his career at sea – Byron started this business last year, with James Gibbons as his distiller. It’s been phenomenally successful and won several awards for its Palma Gin – in a distinctive white bottle. You can visit the distillery and even have a go at making your own gin there.


This Marratxí-based distillery is best known for its brandy. Its 1989 Club Suau is made up of members who have bought a barrel, kept in a locked cage-like section of its cool dark cellars. The distillery has recently returned to making artisanal gin, using the original recipe they used a century ago. Suau has been in Mallorca since 1851 and, if you have the opportunity, a visit to the distillery (which has a museum) is an interesting experience.

A summer gin festival

If you’re visiting Mallorca this summer, check out The Gin Oasis Festival, featuring 20 or so national and international gin brands and Fever Tree tonics. It’s taking place on the rooftop terrace of the Palau de Congressos in Palma on seven dates: July 8th & 22nd, August 5th & 19th, and September 2nd, 16th, and 30th. All the details can be found on the festival’s website.


Jan Edwards© 2019

Mallorca-based British Chef Marc Fosh Launches First Cookbook

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London-born chef and restaurateur Marc Fosh’s contribution to the vibrant gastronomic scene in Mallorca cannot be overstated. More than half-a-dozen young chefs who have worked under his tutelage have subsequently opened their own successful restaurants on the island. His teaching and mentoring skills can be in no doubt.

I first discovered Marc’s food when he ran the kitchen at the former Bacchus restaurant, at what used to be Reads Hotel. It became our go-to place for a Michelin-starred dinner and overnight stay for special celebrations. After Marc left Bacchus in 2009 to open his own restaurant in Palma de Mallorca, the hotel was never the same for us.

The only British chef in Spain at a Michelin-starred restaurant

Marc Fosh restaurant in Palma is one of two Michelin-starred restaurants in Mallorca’s capital; the other is owned by chef Adrián Quetglas (who coincidentally used to work for Marc). Fosh is still the only British chef in Spain leading a Michelin-starred kitchen. He also has a catering company (Fosh Catering) and a farm (yes, Fosh Farm) cultivating some of the produce for his kitchens.

This modest chef has now added published author to his talents:  His first cookbook (in English) has been launched in Spain and has its UK launch on July 9th. Entitled Modern Mediterranean – Sun-drenched recipes from Mallorca and beyond, the book reads like a love letter to the produce and food producers of Marc’s adopted island.

Marc Fosh restaurant recently hosted a book signing, combined with a tasting of wines from 3.10 Celler.

In his book, Marc shares recipes for eighteen of his favourite ingredients, which include almonds, lamb, lemons, olive oil, saffron, tomatoes, and chocolate. Each key ingredient has its own chapter of recipes, preceded by an informative introduction. The book is crammed with gorgeous photos by the multi-award-winning Palma-based photographer Nando Esteva. The publishers originally wanted to use a UK-based stylist and photographer but Marc insisted on using Nando – who has worked with Marc for many years.

Putting recipes to the test

When my review copy arrived from the London publishers, I invited two people – a professional cook and a reluctant cook – to choose and try one of his recipes and review it for my radio show Table Talk (edition 60) on Mallorca Sunshine Radio; (click the link to hear their reviews).

My professional tester Sandra van Oorschot is the cooking half of the business Captain Cook Culinary Sailing Tours. Sandra made and loved Marc’s Mediterranean Spiced Lamb Stew with Apricots and Coriander. This friendly Dutch woman is an excellent cook and if you love good home-cooked food (and well-chosen Mallorcan wines) and would like to combine it with a sailing trip, offering a different perspective of Mallorca, I can highly recommend a trip out with Captain Cook (which, unlike some other charters operating in Balearic waters, is fully legal and therefore suitably insured).

After browsing through the review copy I received from the London publishers, The Boss was so enthused by the book that he offered to cook Pomegranate-marinated Leg of Lamb. This was Quite Something, as he is a reluctant cook – unless a BBQ is involved. He followed the instructions carefully but, instead of cooking the lamb in the oven, he chose to adapt the heat settings and timing for our Weber BBQ. Fingers were crossed (by both of us), but I’m pleased to report that the dish was delicious and is now in The Boss’s outdoor-cooking repertoire. Thank you, Marc!

Unlike some Michelin-starred cuisine, Marc Fosh’s is based on simplicity. His techniques bring out the flavour of the prime ingredients he uses. His recipes seem accurate and the instructions easy to follow. Now I just need to work a bit on my plating skills…

Modern Mediterranean – Sun-drenched recipes from Mallorca and beyond (Nourish) is available to buy at Marc Fosh restaurant in Palma (25€), from Amazon, and other outlets on Mallorca. In the UK, the book will be on sale from July 9th for £20.

Jan Edwards ©2019

Where to Find Organic Raw Chocolate in Mallorca

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“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”  If that friend comes with good-quality chocolate, so much the better!

In recent years we’ve become more discerning when it comes to buying chocolate here in Mallorca and rarely buy anything made from less than 70 per cent cocoa solids. My favourite chocolate available on the island is even healthier: organic raw (and vegan) chocolate, lovingly made from bean to bar by master chocolatier Tino Wolter at Cachao in Palma de Mallorca.

Tino Wolter is the master chocolatier behind Cacaho

The story behind Cachao

Tino is a clear-skinned, healthy-looking young German who began his career as a chef in Berlin, in 2000. He worked his way up to become a chef de partie in patisserie, which increasingly involved working with chocolate. When Christine Leja, owner of the stylish group of businesses known as bconnected in Palma de Mallorca, wanted to develop a business making and selling organic raw chocolate, she asked Tino to run it. It took him more than a year to perfect the recipe and some six years for the business known as Cachao to come to fruition. As well as the recipe, Tino had to obtain all the equipment and apply for the various licences necessary.

Sourcing the beans was an important part of the process: they had to be cultivated in a sustainable and organic way and come from farmers who supply a co-operative known as Big Tree Farms in Bali. The hand-peeled beans are not roasted, to retain the raw-food antioxidants, and are simply dried and fermented.

The process

The first step in making Cachao’s chocolate is grinding the beans, in a machine that churns the beans to paste over a four-day period. This machine lives in the back room of the premises and Tino calls it his ‘animal’, because it needs a lot of attention. “I had sleepless nights at the beginning, worrying in case it stopped working,” he admits.

After four days, Tino has to temper, flavour (where appropriate), and package the chocolate. He does all this on his own: “It’s a very young business,” he explains. “I’m alone and do everything from opening the shop to producing the chocolate, to packaging and selling it.” He works long hours and I sense that he’d like to share some of his working life with a colleague, but his passion for what he does drives him. The chance of some brief conversation is one reason he likes people to come into the shop to look around and taste some samples.

Some of Tino’s chocolate  is flavoured with local Mallorcan products. He has a supplier in Sóller for oranges and one in Porreres for apricots. Flor de Sal (from the south of Mallorca) is another flavouring ingredient. All his chocolate contains 71 per cent cocoa solids, except one at 54 per cent (sweetened with coconut sugar and nectar) and a cacao purist’s treat at 100 per cent.

“It was important for us to know about the ingredients we use,” Tino explains. “The same applied to the packaging.” The wrappings and boxes are made from recycled paper and the stylish design by a friend complements the high-quality product. “It’s what we call the holistic way: knowing who is doing what, and how.”

Cachao’s products

In addition to chocolate bars and boxes of chocolate thins, Tino has expanded the range to include products such as chocolate-covered almonds and chocolate-covered coffee beans (sourced from the company Mistral, which roasts organic beans in the heart of Palma de Mallorca). There’s also a distilled product made in conjunction with the award-winning Mallorcan company Gin Eva in Llucmajor.

Of course, you’ll pay more for Cachao’s artisan organic raw chocolate than you would for the commercially produced stuff. But what you get is a guilt-free nutritionally dense product that’s incredibly satisfying and delicious. It’s a grown-up gourmet treat that shouldn’t be missed if you visit Palma de Mallorca.

Cachao’s premises are in Palma de Mallorca’s Santa Catalina’s district, facing the indoor market. It’s an attractive place with the shop at the front dedicated to sales (and samplings) of the various products. Don’t be shy! Tino will give you a warm welcome and is happy to explain the process involved in his bean-to-bar creations.

The cacao or cocoa tree is officially known as Theobroma Cacao: Theobroma being derived from the Greek for ‘food of the gods’.  Why should we mere mortals miss out on such a divine product as Cachao?


Plaza Navegació 14

Santa Catalina

Palma de Mallorca

Order your chocolate online here.

Jan Edwards©2019

Charlie’s Kitchen Pop-up Dinner Delights Again

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Sóller-based Piers Dawson is the chef behind Charlie’s Kitchen pop-up dining events. Piers, his charming wife Holly, and infant Charlie (the inspiration for the pop-up’s name) moved from London to Mallorca in 2015. Piers had travelled the world, cooking for everyone from presidents to prime ministers to pop stars, in his twelve years with the London-based catering company Alison Price.

Charlie’s arrival was a catalyst for change: the couple wanted to spend as much time as possible with their little boy. They moved to Mallorca and based themselves in Sóller, where Piers’s mother lives, to begin new cooking adventures on the island.

Since then, Piers has established himself here as a private chef, but he’s still in demand for occasional international work. Over the last winter he toured Asia for 12 days, cooking for an “amazingly talented young American singer/songwriter”. Piers (using discretion where clients are concerned) wouldn’t reveal the singer’s name, but the tour took in seven cities, including Taipei, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and Singapore.

Another Charlie’s Kitchen

Even if hiring a private chef is the stuff of dreams (it is for me), it’s possible to enjoy Piers’s innovative cuisine at one of his Charlie’s Kitchen pop-up dinners. Until now, they’ve been held during the quieter winter months, but Piers told me recently that they may be monthly this year.

The latest Charlie’s Kitchen event was the fourth I’d attended. That’s how much I enjoy these dinners in the Sóller valley – to which it takes us just over an hour to drive from home. Piers’s amazing food, Holly’s warm hospitality, and the convivial nature of these intimate dinners make the journey worthwhile.

Our latest Charlie’s Kitchen menu

The Charlie's Kitchen menu March 30th 2019

Each dish on the menu is simply described on the menu

And this is what they looked like:

Piers came to the dining table as each dish arrived, explaining the thought process that went into it and revealing the culinary brilliance of this amiable chef.

Alternatives to single-use plastics

Two dishes, in particular, sparked a lot of interest: BLT – a crispy baked ham wafer with rocket purée, basil, and olive oil powder, perched on top of a small bottle of tomato-essence consommé flavoured with lots of basil. We drank the latter through a drinking straw made from apple pomace (the pulp left behind after the fruit has been juiced). After we’d finished the consommé, we could eat the straw too!

The next dish was entitled Soller Garden: an edible flowerpot containing baba ganoush (BBQ’d aubergine with parsley, lemon zest, tahini, and roasted garlic), and a soil made from Piers’s own beetroot sourdough: “I dried black olives and blitzed them with olive oil, then sautéed the sourdough crumbs and poured black olive oil slowly through it.” As the bread crisped, it took on the oil’s colour. Piers planted the ‘soil’ with a sesame-seed sourdough wafer, heritage carrots, cornichons, a tiny olive, teardrop pepper, and fresh asparagus. Genius.

Piers told us he had sourced the edible flowerpot and straws as alternatives to single-use plastics. If you want to find out more about these edible and other solutions, check out The Three Straws – based in Port de Sóller.

This latest Charlie’s Kitchen was yet another memorable evening. We look forward to the next one!

Find out more about Piers Dawson on his website.

You can hear Piers Dawson in conversation with me on ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio – edition 49 – here.

Jan Edwards ©2019

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

Find Your New Guide to Balearic Gastronomy

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“Well I think that we are gradually getting closer to San Sebastián.” This was Andrés Benítez’s response when asked how he would rate Palma de Mallorca as a gastronomic destination, in comparison with the famous foodie city. Chef Andrés Benítez is at the helm of the restaurant Botànic at the 5-star Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden in Palma de Mallorca, which opened at the end of 2018.

His comment is just one of the many insights into Balearic chefs, featured in the second annual edition of the magazine Chefs(in) – published in March. It’s a treasure trove of information gleaned as a result of the close relationship between some of the Balearics’ best chefs and the organisation Chefs(in), which promotes Balearic gastronomy.

We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch event for the second edition of Chefs(in) magazine, which took place in the Teatre Municipal Mar i Terra in Palma’s Santa Catalina district.

A reference for Balearic gastronomy

I still have the first (2018) edition of Chefs(in) magazine. It’s more of a reference work to keep, than a magazine to be read and later discarded and I’m delighted now to have the second edition too. In my humble opinion, it’s essential reading for any foodie visiting (or living in) Mallorca or its sister islands Menorca and Ibiza. And the good news is that it is published in both Spanish and English.

Here are some of the highlights of the 2019 edition:

  • Interviews with chefs Ariadna Salvador, Iñigo Rodriguez, David Moreno, Cati Pieras, Joan Canals, Miquel Calent, Andrés Benítez, Marga Coll, David de Coca, Miquel Gelabert, Victor García, and well-known charcutier Xesc Reina.
  • A feature about 12 of the 65 businesses in Palma officially designated as emblematic by Palma City Council.
  • A guide to 43 of the best restaurants in Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza. In addition to the individual pages for each restaurant, there’s a quick-to-view guide to more than 30 different aspects about each one – including number of covers, frequency of menu changes, number of languages spoken, WiFi access, whether there’s a terrace, and average prices.

Once again, most of the photography in the second edition of Chefs(in) is by the multi-award-winning Mallorcan photographer Nando Esteva.

Chefs(in) is available in kiosks and newsagents across the islands and through the website http://www.chefsins.com at 10€ per copy.

Jan Edwards©2019

Els Ullastres Mallorca Sowing the Seeds for Future Growth

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Whether writing articles or blog posts, or interviewing for my Mallorca Sunshine Radio show ‘Table Talk’, I get to meet some very interesting people on this island. One family in particular made a huge impression on me and, through this post, you’ll find out why.

I’d initially seen some of their images on Instagram and curiosity then led me to their website, where I discovered that they were located in our part of the island. Their business Els Ullastres Mallorca cultivates and supplies a large range of organic microgreens to top restaurants across Mallorca.

Microgreens from Els Ullastres Mallorca

Christos Michaels with a tray of microgreens

Els Ullastres Mallorca on the radio

I got in touch and arranged to go and interview them – taking my father along too (with their permission), as he was visiting us at the time and is a keen vegetable grower in his own garden. Sue and Dad found some common ground and we left them in the house chatting about places they both knew from their past, whilst I went to interview Christos and Kathy outside.

I was humbled by the passion and sheer hard work that the three of them – Christos, his mum Kathy, and his nan Sue – put into their horticultural business. You can hear what they had to say here in the interview broadcast on ‘Table Talk’, edition 24.  

Els Ullastres Mallorca

Me (left) in the polytunnel with Els Ullastres Mallorca

Since then, the family and I have kept in touch and we’ve become friends – sharing interesting snippets of news from the restaurant world, such as changes of chef, or new openings.

Future growth

Els Ullastres Mallorca is doing well – purely through sheer hard work, determination, and responding to the needs of the chefs they supply. In April 2018 they secured their first restaurant as a customer. Today, Els Ullastres Mallorca supplies more than 40 restaurants and there is potential to expand their business further. They also plan to grow organic vegetables and have already begun putting in tomato and courgette plants. But there are a few things they need in order to take their business forward and, for that reason, they’ve launched a campaign on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo

I hope you’ll have time to take a few minutes to take a look at their Indiegogo appeal and particularly the video, which was made with the generous assistance of a talented young Polish couple who are videographers on the island of Mallorca. Like me, they were impressed by what this family is doing.

Should you find yourself eating out in one of Mallorca’s fine-dining restaurants, those microgreens that add visual and flavour impact on the plate, are likely to have been supplied by Els Ullastres Mallorca. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to contribute a little something towards their future success…

Jan Edwards©2019