Mallorca Hotels Ready to Welcome You

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Mallorca will be open to international tourism again from July. Hotels and restaurants on the island were allowed to open a couple of weeks ago but, without tourists from abroad, many have decided not to open yet, on economic grounds.

Here are details of two hotels that have reopened and two that have announced the date when they will reopen to guests. These are all hotels that I’ve personally experienced and recommend.

Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden – Palma de Mallorca

This was the first hotel to reopen in Mallorca’s capital, back on May 14th. You don’t have to be staying overnight in one of the 5-star hotel’s stunning 24 suites, to enjoy the tranquillity of this unique urban property.

The restaurant Botànic is open to the public and has a good name for its Sunday Brunch, costing 30 euros (which you can enjoy in the garden).

See here for something special when you book Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden on website Mallorcan Tonic.

Finca Hotel Can Estades – Calvià (southwest of Mallorca)

Rural hotels – with the added benefit of more space for physical distancing – ought to do well this summer. Finca Hotel Can Estades in the countryside near Calvià is already open and prepared for guests, although when I checked on May 12th, they didn’t yet have any.

For anyone who’s spent lockdown in Mallorca in an apartment or built-up area, a few days away here would be a real tonic.

This is a lovely place to stay: it’s in the midst of beautiful countryside, the place has bags of authentic character, and the couple who run it – Christiane and Norbert Amthor – couldn’t be more welcoming or delightful. I’m surprised that more British holidaymakers haven’t yet discovered this rural gem – particularly as Finca Hotel Can Estades’ rates are pretty good.

Castell Son Claret – Es Capdellà (southwest of Mallorca)

We’ve stayed here quite a few times over the years and spent a wonderful Valentine’s and anniversary night this year in this stunning rural 5-star property. We never imagined that the place would have to close again only a few weeks after reopening for the season.

The 126 hectares of grounds – including beautiful gardens – will be a draw for those who prefer to keep themselves to themselves. And, as well as the room service offering for food and drink, you can also enjoy ‘Garden Service’.

If you’re looking for a relaxing break, this could be it; you may not want to leave the property during your stay.

Castell Son Claret reopens to guests on July 1st and its Stay 7 & Pay 5 offer could appeal to those wanting a week’s holiday in rural Mallorca, away from crowds and in a truly stunning location. It offers 41 suites and rooms, including the Pool Suites, each with its own solar-heated pool – for added privacy and physical distancing. For our latest stay, we were in one of the Tower Suites, with 70sqm of elegant space and a superb elevated terrace with dreamy views.

We ate in the hotel’s Restaurante Olivera for our visit and, as usual, had a memorable dining experience. I chose it as a Restaurant of the Week on my gastronomy/hospitality show ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio.

See here for something special when you book Castell Son Claret through Mallorcan Tonic.

Petit Hotel Son Arnau – Selva (between Inca and the Serra de Tramuntana)

As the name suggests, this is a small and stylish boutique hotel, located on the edge of Selva village. It’s run by the super-hospitable Susan and Alex Terry, who moved six years ago from busy careers in London to achieve their hotel dream. Petit Hotel Son Arnau is well equipped, has stunning modern rooms and facilities, and a pool area with glorious island views. It also has 10 acres of orchard space behind it.

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Petit Hotel Son Arnau is ideally located for those who want to explore the Serra de Tramuntana, either by car or by bike, or who simply value the less-crowded aspect of Mallorcan village life.

UPDATE JUNE 15th: Petit Hotel Son Arnau will open again from June 21st – the date that the Spanish Government has announced that borders will reopen  to international visitors from Schengen countries; the original date was to be July 1st.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Palma’s Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden Reopens

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Suitcase and sunhat

Ready for a staycation?

When will Mallorca’s tourist season begin? That’s the question on everyone’s lips in the hospitality sector. As far as international visitors are concerned, everything I’ve read suggests that Spain won’t open its borders before July 1st – and then only to Schengen Area countries (of which the UK is not one). In theory – and depending what happens with the pandemic – that means holidaymakers from 26 countries could come to Mallorca for a holiday in the second half of this year.

Hotels were allowed to reopen on Monday this week, as Mallorca entered Phase 1 of the de-escalation of the Covid-19 emergency measures. Few have opened, because there are no foreign tourists to stay in them yet.

Peace and Tranquillity in Palma

One hotel that has opened is one of my personal favourites (I have a handful, depending on what type of stay we’re looking for at the time). Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden – a unique 5-star property in Palma’s La Lonja – opened its doors for business again today. It’s tucked away in a quiet lane but a very short walk from Mallorca’s capital’s attractions.

The 24-suite hotel (which feels more like the private home of super-fortunate friends) has published an excellent and easy-to-understand protocol document for guests. It’s an impressive read and no aspect has been overlooked.

The protocols apply for guests staying in one of the gorgeous suites or simply coming to eat in the property’s Botànic Restaurant. The latter is open all day for breakfast; 12:30-15:30h for lunch, and 19:00-22:00h for dinner. Weather permitting, you’ll eat in the tranquil private garden.

Sanctuary of Hospitality

Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden describes itself as a ‘sanctuary of hospitality’ and I couldn’t argue with that. The hotel has one of the most caring of the many hospitality teams I’ve come across (I worked in the hotel business for a number of years and have stayed in countless other hotels).

Yes, a stay in this (or any other hotel during these strange times) will be different from what we’re all used to – because of the pandemic-avoiding hygiene and safety measures that have been put in place – but general manager Giovanni Morello and his hotel ‘family’ will ensure you have a relaxing and stress-free experience.

Holiday at Home

Mallorca’s tourism sector shouldn’t have to rely on international visitors: the island has enough variety that you can live in one area and go and stay somewhere else here for a complete change of scene. The Boss and I rarely leave Mallorca (we have a posse of pussycats to look after, making ‘proper’ holidays a distant memory); instead, we have occasional single-night stays somewhere else on the island. We’ll be continuing to do this as hotels reopen.

If you live in Mallorca and can afford to take a break as hotels begin to re-open, you’ll be giving some much-needed support to a sector facing its worst-ever season. And who doesn’t want a break from the same four walls we’ve largely been confined to for almost two months?

 

Note: My Mallorca Sunshine Radio show ‘Table Talk’ is currently on hold, but you can hear an interesting interview with the delightful Joan Morro, head concierge at Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden in Palma de Mallorca here (scroll down to ‘Table Talk’ 91).

Jan Edwards ©2020

Home-delivery Gift for Mother’s Day in Mallorca

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The perfect gift!

Who else has realised it’s the last day of April today and wondered what happened to the rest of the month? This lockdown – with its days blending into each other because of their sameness – has made the month fly by. It’s the first of May tomorrow but, more importantly, it’s Mother’s Day in Spain on Sunday.

If you’re still fortunate enough to have your mum, and she’s in Mallorca, chances are that the lockdown will prevent you from seeing her in person. But you can still show her you love her, with a special gift delivered to her home. And this gift is full of the flavour of Mallorca.

Wise Women of Wine

Two of the women I most admire in the Mallorcan wine industry have come up with a home-delivery offer that I think would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift.

Bàrbara Mesquida (from the biodynamic winery Mesquida Mora in Porreres) and her great pal Mireia Oliver (Can Majoral organic winery in Algaida) have joined forces to offer a tasty gift that includes a bouquet of flowers and a locally made basket (which will be great to take to the beach when that’s possible again).

Here’s What’s Included:

  • One bottle of Acrollam wine from Mesquida Mora
  • One bottle of Callet from Can Majoral
  • 1 box of Can Parrí dried apricots (this is a family firm based in Mallorca’s home of apricots, Porreres)
  • 1 box of Bessó de Mallorca almonds (also from Porreres)
  • 1 bouquet of flowers
  • 1 locally made straw basket

The price for all this is 50 euros and I think this bounty of Mallorcan artisan goodness would be a real delight to receive – on any occasion.

This could be the perfect way to solve a gift-buying challenge during the current lockdown, be it for Mother’s Day, a birthday, anniversary, or simply a way to bring some cheer to someone in Mallorca who’s on their own.

And it’s also a practical way to support some of the businesses on this island during the current crisis.

If you’d like this for your mum, or anyone else (I’m sure you deserve a treat), email either of the following to place your order.

info@mesquidamora.com

info@canmajoral.com

Jan Edwards©2020

 

Buy a Cookbook to Support Chefs in Mallorca

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Home-made pizza

Cooking is one of the things that is (almost) maintaining my sanity during the lockdown in Mallorca. Like many people, I’ve been doing more baking than usual (mainly biscuits, bread, and pizza dough) and trying out new recipes, whilst there is more time to dedicate to kitchen activity. It’s a way to fill time, as well as tummies.

Growing up, I don’t remember my mum ever showing me how to cook anything. I always feel a little envious when chef friends say their first cooking experience was with their mother or grandmother.

Once I’d left home, I started buying cookbooks. And I haven’t stopped since. Over the years, I’ve had the occasional cull: an emotionally painful but necessary space-creating action to enable me to add new books to the collection. (Though I’ll never say goodbye to any books by Delia).

Google v Cookbook

Of course, I flirt with using recipes found on the Internet; it’s usually quicker to do a Google search than scan through the indexes of cookbooks. Mainly because once I open a cookbook, I’m likely to lose myself in its pages, admiring the photography and making mental lists of ingredients to buy for future meals. Oops! Is it that time already? But my gripe is that many online recipes have not been tested for reliability. You really can’t beat a book full of properly tested recipes.

If you’re in the market for a new cookbook, may I suggest the following? Each is linked to a business in Mallorca that’s been impacted by the pandemic. I know that the chefs whose recipes grace the pages of these books would appreciate your support.

I own two of these books myself, so they come personally recommended. I pre-ordered the other at Christmas time, after interviewing the author, Justine Murphy, for my radio show ‘Table Talk’. I am 100 per cent certain that her recipes will work, having known Justine personally long enough to make that bold claim.

Modern Mediterranean: Sun-drenched recipes from Mallorca and beyond – Marc Fosh (published by Nourish Books)

Marc Fosh is still the only British chef to be at the helm of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain. His eponymous restaurant is in Palma and a must-visit in Mallorca’s capital for any serious foodie.

Marc’s cookbook is not just a collection of recipes, but reads like a love letter to his adopted island and to Mediterranean products. Eighteen key ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine are each given a chapter of their own, with an introductory text and recipes in which the featured ingredient plays a starring role. The photos will stimulate even the most-jaded tastebuds and are by the award-winning Mallorcan photographer Nando Esteva.

Michelin-starred he may be, but chef Marc Fosh’s book is not just for advanced cooks. Read and follow his fail-safe methodology and you can transport yourself cuisine-wise to Mallorca. Not a bad prospect for anyone in lockdown elsewhere and longing for a taste of this stunning Spanish island.

This book is also now available in German, under the title Mallorca. Both are available from Amazon. In Palma de Mallorca, you’ll be able to buy a copy at Marc’s restaurant or in the lifestyle store Rialto Living – once these businesses re-open.

Restaurante Sebastian in Deià

Patricia and Sebastian with their book, during their interview on ‘Table Talk’

Visitors to the Tramuntana village of Deià have been coming to this romantic restaurant (in a former stable) for 25 years. To celebrate that 2019 milestone, owners chef Sebastian Pasch and his hospitable Irish wife Patricia Sheridan decided to create a book telling their story and that of the popular restaurant. Yes, there are recipes too: for 14 of the most-ordered dishes over the past 25 years. You’ll also be fascinated to see a copy of the menu from 1994 – with prices in pesetas.

If you’re a fan of Restaurante Sebastian (as I am), I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know this couple and their restaurant through this book’s pages. The text is in English, German, and Spanish. It’s for sale through the restaurant website here.

The mymuybueno Cookbook – Justine Murphy (Meze Publishing)

British woman Justine Murphy owns a seven-division international business, based in Mallorca (with a London office). Her eight-year-old company includes an award-winning deli, chef-and-interior-staffing agencies, cookery school, concierge and lifestyle-management service, bespoke events, and luxuryware divisions. Good food is at the heart of it all.

If that were not enough for this inspirational woman, she’s also mum to two small boys. Justine’s backstory is an extraordinary one and makes what’s she’s achieved all the more remarkable. As well as 160 of her repeatedly tested refined-sugar-free recipes, The mymuybueno Cookbook provides Justine’s valuable tips on getting through the challenges of modern life and shares her personal story, in this 12-chapter, 288-page book.

Fingers crossed my own copy will be in my postbox tomorrow. I pre-ordered it at Christmas and it’s just been published. I can’t wait to sit down and read it with a glass of Mallorcan tinto one evening. You can hear Justine Murphy talking to me on ‘Table Talk’ (edition 87) here.

You can buy a copy of The mymuybueno Cookbook from Amazon or, if you’re in Mallorca, order a copy from this website. 

These three cookbooks represent just three of the successful businesses in Mallorca that are facing an uncertain future, because the island is so dependent on tourism – which is impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If, like me, you’re a cookbook collector, buying any of the above, will be a small but helpful way to show your support.

Jan Edwards ©2020

How to Support Mallorca’s Food & Drinks Businesses in the Crisis

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We surely all want to be able to eat out at our favourite restaurants in Mallorca again some time. But these are worrying times for many restaurant owners, chefs, and other staff and they’re going to need the support of those who can afford to give it when this horrible mess is all over.

Some people in the food-and-drink sector aren’t waiting for the lockdown to end; they’re finding ways to bring in some much-needed income. Home-delivery shopping services are booming and, to help these smaller businesses to survive, I’d rather support them than the big supermarket chains – which will always be the first choice of many, purely for the convenience factor.

Today I have details of three different types of home-delivery services, which may be of interest to you if you’re on the island of Mallorca – and a free online class so you can learn how to make an authentic Valencian paella.

Terragust

Alfresco lunch amidst vines growing table grapes

These Manacor-based producers of vegetables and fruit will deliver their produce to homes in the Llevant area of Mallorca.

I came across the company last year, when The Boss and I enjoyed one of their foodie ‘experiences’. We look forward to going back for another one day. If you’re planning a visit to Mallorca some time in the future – when the coronavirus crisis is over – I can recommend spending a few hours with Terragust. You can read here about our experience with them.

Our first delivery of a Terragust vegetable box was last Friday. I was like a kid at Christmas when I saw the bounty of goodies that Matias delivered, for just 15€ (including delivery). I’ve had great fun coming up with recipes incorporating these delicious items.

We still have a green cabbage, half a red cabbage, a cauliflower and some chard to use, so tomorrow’s delivery is going to be a fruit box and a couple of avocados. Although the vegetables and citrus fruits were from the Terragust farms around Manacor, the fruit coming tomorrow would appear to have been sourced from elsewhere. I’m sure it’ll be of good quality. For details of their online shop, see this website

Restaurante Sebastian

Patricia and Sebastian Pasch of Restaurante Sebastian

This excellent and cosy restaurant in the mountain village of Deià celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. The restaurant was due to re-open in late March but, like every other eatery, the doors are closed.

But you can still eat chef Sebastian Pasch‘s delicious cuisine, as he’s offering a limited menu of dishes to enjoy at home. The dishes are all garnished and can be delivered – although I’m not sure how far this service extends. See their Instagram page for the menu and telephone number to call.

Botànic – Chef Andrés Benítez

Botanic’s chef Andres Benitez

If a special occasion – birthday, anniversary, or some other noteworthy event – is on the horizon and you can’t go out to have a celebratory dinner, help is at hand. If you live in Palma, from today, April 2nd – and every Thursday to Sunday – Andrés Benítez of Botànic (the restaurant at the unique 5-star Can Bordoy Grand House and Garden) could be preparing you a gastronomic meal, for delivery to your home.

For information about the home-delivery menu on offer, see this website.

And Now for Something Different: Let’s Cook…Paella

Ever wanted to master the art of making an authentic paella? Well, help is at hand – and you don’t have to be in Mallorca to take advantage of Paella Lover‘s first FREE online Paella Valenciana Master Cooking Class.

Let Guillermo give you a FREE online masterclass in making paella

Paella Lover – alias valenciano Guillermo Bermell, who lives in Palma, is passionate about the typical dish of his home city. In normal times, he runs paella-cooking classes and will come and cook a paella at your home (or holiday home – something to note, if you’re planning to visit Mallorca later this  year). He’s a thoroughly likeable man who speaks excellent English and was one of my most entertaining guests on Table Talk on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. (You can hear the interview in edition 92 here.)

If you want to learn the secrets of making Spain’s most emblematic dish, you’ll need to Like/Follow Paella Lover’s Facebook page. You’ll find the list of ingredients and equipment you’ll need for the class already on the page and the free online Paella Valenciana Master Cooking Class will be aired LIVE on Facebook Saturday, April 4th at 12:00h CET.

Thank you for reading this post, and I hope you stay well and positive.

Jan Edwards©2020

Eat, Drink, Sleep, Mallorca – at Home

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Drink / Eat / Sleep

As in many countries now, restaurants, bars, cafés, and hotels in Mallorca (and the rest of Spain) are closed for the foreseeable future. We’re in lockdown. We are staying at home. #mequedoencasa

Baltasar Rigo, the new chef at Finca Serena in Mallorca, awaits you on return to ‘business as usual’.

I love the island of Mallorca and have met (and interviewed) many interesting and amiable people in the hospitality sector – quite a number of whom have become friends. I’m devastated for everyone in this normally hardworking sector of the overall tourism industry and, until now, I just couldn’t motivate myself to write a post on this blog.

Just days before the lockdown came into force, the owners of a new Palma restaurant contacted me about their launch party on Thursday night. Apart from investing in the business in the first place, they would have spent good money to throw a party for future diners. Three days later, we were on lockdown – all such businesses having to close their doors. That very same Thursday, I attended a press lunch at the beautiful Finca Serena hotel, where the new chef showcased his skills. What a shame that nobody can enjoy his delicious cuisine at the moment. It’s all heartbreaking.

From Optimism to Uncertainty

This is the time of year when seasonal businesses would be reopening – or preparing to reopen. A time of optimism and expectation. A time when I would have a much greater choice of open restaurants to consider as a potential Restaurant of the Week, on my weekly gastronomy and hospitality show ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. That show – for obvious reasons – is now postponed for the duration. Instead, I am preparing and recording (inside our guest-room wardrobe – gotta work from home) twice-daily coronavirus update bulletins. I know which I’d rather be doing…

Creative Ways to Survive

But in every negative situation there are positives. Local businesses in Mallorca’s food and drinks sector are finding ways to continue working, maintain an income, and keep as many employees on their books as possible. Home delivery services are booming in Mallorca – and not just those of supermarkets chains. Restaurant owners/chefs are sharing recipe videos or offering prepared-food deliveries. I’d rather support a Mallorcan business than a multinational supermarket chain, and have already ordered our first home delivery from a local supplier of vegetables and fruit.

In my next post, I’ll explore some of these positive initiatives further (and tell you about the delivery of amazing fresh produce we’ve had at home). In the meantime, enjoy your weekend – you’re probably also in lockdown somewhere – and stay well. And if you’re dreaming of lunch or dinner out, some time in the future, in one of Mallorca’s many excellent restaurants…you’re not the only one.

Jan Edwards ©2020

New Guia Repsol ‘Sols’ in Mallorca for 2020

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UPDATE JUNE 2020: Zaranda – which had 2 ‘Sols’ will not be reopening at Castell Son Claret

Two restaurants in Mallorca are celebrating, after the Guía Repsol awarded its ‘Sols’ for 2020. One new ‘Sol’ was awarded to DaiCa in Llubí and to VORO at the Park Hyatt Mallorca, in the northeast resort of Canyamel.

Cati Pieras runs the kitchen at one-‘Sol’- restaurant DaiCa in Llubi

The Guía Repsol is Spain’s answer to the famous red book, the Michelin Guide. The Guía Repsol website explains that ‘Sols’ (Suns) are “prestigious distinctions awarded to the best restaurants and chefs. A symbol of culinary excellence demonstrating Repsol’s connection with and support for Spanish gastronomy.”

The awards were announced and presented on February 24th in San Sebastian, following inspections of more than 1,300 restaurants during 2019.

For 2020, the guide awarded a total of 102 new ‘Sols’. In total across Spain there are 39 restaurants with three ‘Sols’; 152 establishments with two ‘Sols’ and 354 restaurants with one ‘Sol’.

DaiCa

We’ve eaten at DaiCa quite a few times, but I was shocked to realise that the last time was in September 2018 (Really? Time flies by). We’ll be paying a well-overdue return visit very soon.

If you’ve never visited the village of Llubí, not far from Inca, you’ve missed the treat that is eating at DaiCa – a restaurant and petit hotel, owned and run by maître and sommelier David Ribas and his wife, chef Caterina Pieras.

Both have worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Catalunya and, before they opened DaiCa, in 2012, Cati was head chef at Es Vi restaurant at the Castillo Hotel Son Vida.

Their combined experience shows at DaiCa, where the cuisine is based on a respect for local, seasonal, and organic produce. Cati’s inspired dishes are rooted in the cuisine of Mallorca and Catalunya, using modern techniques and artistic presentation.

DaiCa restaurant is located within two back-to-back sympathetically restored stone townhouses, joined by a delightful courtyard with tables for outside dining.

Until the end of March, Daica is open Thursday to Sunday, but website has details of which days are open for lunch/dinner/both.

VORO

Mario Wolgast (left) and chef Alvaro Salazar at VORO

I wrote the following information last summer after dinner in the restaurant; it reflects VORO – a seasonal restaurant – at the time.

When the smart restaurant VORO opened in 2019 at the 5-star Park Hyatt Mallorca, in Mallorca’s northeast resort of Canyamel, there was no doubt that the cuisine would be exceptional. This fine-dining restaurant has a talented young team in the kitchen, led by chef Álvaro Salazar. He previously worked in Puerto Pollensa at Argos, which was still in its debut year when Michelin first awarded it a coveted star. VORO was awarded a Michelin star for 2020.

The Andalusian chef’s culinary awards include Chef of the Year 2017, from the association of Balearic gastronomy journalists, and Cocinero del Año 2018 at the Feria Alimentaria de Barcelona. Álvaro describes his cuisine, based on high-quality seasonal local products and showing Andalusian influences, as free spirited.

The place

Álvaro and his entire team left Argos to open VORO, where the environment better reflects the high standard of gastronomy and service. The dining room’s décor is sophisticated but unfussy and comfortable. Modern art hangs on the walls; the floor is of dark wood and attractive hydraulic tiles, and the lighting is stylish. The main dining room seats around sixteen diners and only one table was vacant on the Tuesday we visited. A huge table in a separate area is ideal for groups of up to 12 diners.

Food and wine

Open for dinner only, the adults-only VORO offers a choice of two well-balanced tasting menus: the 11-course VORO and 15-course DEVORO. Each dish is exquisitely presented and explained at the table by a member of the pleasant service team. Restaurant director Mario Wolgast is charming and speaks perfect English. He explained that the menus evolve with the seasonality of the ingredients.

VORO offers around 100 wine references in an impressive list; the intention is to more than double this number. Can’t choose? Opt for one of the two well-chosen wine pairings.

Prices here do reflect the luxurious setting and high standard of gastronomy and service, but if you’re looking to impress someone, are celebrating a special occasion, or relish memorable dining experiences, dinner at VORO ticks all the boxes.

VORO reopens on March 14th, 2020.

Mallorca’s other ‘Sols’

The following have retained their existing ‘Sols’:

3 ‘Sols’ – Maca de Castro.

2 ‘Sols’: Andreu Genestra, Béns d’Avall, El Olivo, La Fortaleza, DINS Santi Taura, Zaranda.

1 ‘Sol’: Aromata, Casa Manolo, Ca na Toneta, Can Toni Moreno, Es Racó de Teix, and Marc Fosh. NEW: DaiCa & VORO.

 

Jan Edwards ©2020

 

Review of Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar in Palma de Mallorca

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Happy to follow these instructions…

Fans of Japanese cuisine have plenty of choice these days when eating out in Palma de Mallorca. I’m a big fan of Japanese cuisine and it took little to persuade me to try Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar, in the regenerated area of Sa Gerreria. Once a somewhat shady red-light district, Sa Gerreria is now safe to walk around at night and is home to an increasing number of trendy restaurants and bars.

One of these is Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar, which opened in Palma’s trendy Plaça Raimundo Clar in September 2019. Owners Paco García Sánchez and Miki Cerdá launched their project on the back of their international restaurant experience.

Paco worked in London for six years. He was at Lima Restaurant with the chef Virgilio Martínez (owner of Restaurant Central in Peru); Lima was the first Peruvian restaurant in Europe to gain a Michelin star (in 2014). Paco also worked at the Japanese restaurant Roka in London, as bar manager for their cocktail bar Shochu Lounge, and opened the company’s Roka Mayfair and, in Miami, ETARU Las Olas.

Chef Miki has worked for the Sheraton and Jumeirah hotel groups, and in Barcelona’s former Hotel Omm (now known as Sir Victor Hotel), and at London’s Roka. He also spent time working in Japan and Singapore.

From the moment you arrive, these two Mallorcan friends’ international experience is evident in the high standards of hospitality, food, and drinks.

Eat it, drink it, share it

On entering Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar, you see a neon sign on the wall, reading, ‘Eat it, drink it, share it.’ The décor has something of a red vibe, which gives it a womb-like cosiness. Single tables line one wall, which faces the bar and open-kitchen counter, behind which Paco and Miki and his fellow chef Álvaro Busquets work their magic.

Miki is master of the ‘robata’ – the Japanese-style charcoal grill – and Paco mixes the excellent cocktails. A small alarm bell went off in my head when I saw the open grill. Would our clothes reek of cooking when we left?

We were remembering an evening when we went to a concert in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, after eating in a nearby Japanese teppanyaki restaurant. It was a delicious and entertaining experience (the chef was a whizz with a knife), but we didn’t appreciate how much the cooking smells had permeated our hair and clothes until we took our seats in Symphony Hall. The twitching nostrils of the well-dressed couple sitting next to us were due to the lingering odour of cooking as a result of our sitting around the restaurant’s open grill. I’m pleased to report that our Kasui experience didn’t affect us in the same way – no doubt because of a good extraction system.

Paco’s signature Japanese cocktails awaken the taste buds for the delicious flavours to come. All cocktails – Japanese (my Sumida Blossom was divine) and classic – cost a reasonable 7,90€. Beers include bottled Japanese Kirin (3€). Wines are available by glass and bottle and, of course, sake and a range of spirits (some Japanese) are available.

The food

The menu is divided into sections named as follows: Izakaya, Robatayaki (charcoal-grilled dishes), Kushiyaki (grilled skewers), Street Food, and Desserts. As the neon sign says, this is a place for sharing dishes. Two of us shared seven dishes (including dessert).

Every dish at Kasui was packed with flavour and interest and it would be hard to pick favourites. However, I’ll wave the flag for the soft-shell crab tempura with Japanese BBQ sauce (7,90€), the miso-marinated seabass with daikon emulsion (12,90€), and the meltingly tender beef-fillet skewers with spring onion and yakiniku sauce (8,50€). And for some sexy veggie dishes, try the Thai broccoli with sesame and ginger sauce (5,50€) and the lettuce buds with caramelized onion and apple ponzu (4,90€). Here are pictures of some of our dishes.

Our dessert of white chocolate and yuzu ganache with coconut crumble and passion fruit (5€) was both rich and refreshing. And too good to share. Something to bear in mind if you eat at Kasui Japanese grill and cocktail bar.

IMHO

We had a delicious dinner at Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar and shall return soon. Because this Palma restaurant is quite small, I recommend booking your table in advance. After we had booked, we received an email confirmation; on the day of our booking, a reminder, and after our visit, an email to check on our experience. In my humble opinion, Paco and Miki and their small team deserve to do well.

戻ります (which apparently means ‘We’ll return.’)

Good to know: Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; open for dinner only on Wednesdays and Thursdays; for lunch & dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, and for lunch only on Sundays.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Find a Romantic Stay in Palma de Mallorca for Valentine’s

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and, if you want to seriously impress your loved one with a city break, it would be hard to beat a gourmet dinner and overnight stay in Mallorca’s cosmopolitan capital, Palma.

Check out that winter sky above Palma’s cathedral, La Seu

But which of the many boutique hotels in Palma should you choose? If it helps, here are my top three hotels in Palma for a romantic night away (or longer, if you’re lucky) – based on my experience of our personal stays. All are 5-star rated and in quiet locations in the attractive old town. All have good restaurants too, which means you don’t need to venture outside the hotel for dinner on a chilly February evening.

Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, La Lonja, Palma de Mallorca

We’ve spent Valentine’s night in a hotel in Mallorca every year since 2004, when we moved here. Most of these stays have been in rural establishments, but in 2019 we celebrated in Palma, staying at Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden.

This stunning 5-star hotel in the heart of Palma’s old town will win plenty of brownie points for the person who books a romantic stay here. Although open for only just over a year, the property has won more than 20 international awards. Check out these images of Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden.

With 24 suites, spa, roof terrace, and superb chef Andrés Benítez offering healthy gourmet cuisine, what more could you want?  Well, there’s also a very special outdoor space at the rear of the hotel: a large peaceful garden with terraced area, where you could toast your love with a glass of fizz. Even in February, you could take the plunge in the heated (oh, the luxury) outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool.

What makes the appropriately named Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden particularly special is the ‘family’ of people who look after you. The hotel has a butler service and concierge team run by Joan Morro – who recently gained the coveted ‘golden keys’. Joan is one of only 200 concierges in the whole of Spain in this elite global association. If you’re planning to propose to your beloved while you’re here, Joan’s your man when it comes to making special arrangements. He’s ‘the man who can’, as you’ll hear in the interview I did with him for my radio show.

Joan Morro with his golden keys

I interviewed head concierge Joan Morro on my gastronomy and hospitality show ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. He came into the hotel during his holiday for the recording, which is why he’s not in his smart uniform and wearing his ‘golden keys’

I should, however, warn you that the rather handsome team member Mr B could be a heart stealer!

And this is heart-stealing Mr B!

And get this! The huge Swedish beds have mattresses with two separate firmness controls – perfect if you and your loved one have different preferences.

Glòria de Sant Jaume Hotel

This boutique hotel resulted from the painstaking renovation of a former Mallorcan manor house, which has its origins in the 16th century. The Cabau family – experienced hoteliers – put enormous amounts of love into the project and it shows in every detail.

The hotel’s El Patio de Glòria restaurant and bar are elegant spaces, that feel cosseting and cosy. Friendly staff members throughout the hotel make you feel welcome and at home.

The basement houses an attractive spa, with one of Palma’s longest indoor swimming pools, sauna, steam room, and a relaxation area, with tea service. Like many boutique hotels in Palma de Mallorca, Glòria de Sant Jaume has a rooftop terrace, where you can relax, sink into the Jacuzzi, and take in a privileged view of the old town’s rooftops.

Glòria de Sant Jaume has 14 very comfortable rooms (of five different types) over two floors of the building. Each room has a distinct identity and ambience, with perfectly restored traditional architectural features. Rooms on the second floor have sloping wooden-beamed ceilings, adding to the cosiness.

And get this! El Patio de Glòria’s Argentinian chef Javier Gardonio previously work for Fernando P Arellano in Mallorca’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Zaranda – making this another good choice for foodies.

Sant Francesc Hotel Singular

A conversion of an old palacio, Sant Francesc Hotel Singular is my third recommendation. The stylish hotel opened in spring 2015 and has gained international acclaim. Although we’ve stayed a few times, we haven’t had a night there for a couple of years and, since we last stayed, the hotel has had a change of general manager and chef.

Find out what I thought about Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, after our first visit, here.

And get this! Sant Francesc Hotel Singular has a superb rooftop terrace and pool, with awesome views. At ground level, there’s a large courtyard garden with dining terrace used in the warmer months.

Jan Edwards©2020

Veganuary in Mallorca: Where to Eat Vegan this January

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Superfoods and vegan/raw treats for sale

A belated Happy New Year to you; I hope your 2020 has begun well. If you’ve committed to eating only plant-based food during January – or Veganuary, as the year’s first month has been designated since 2014 – you’ll want to know some places where you can find vegan dishes, if you’re going to be in Mallorca.

In 2015 the UK’s Vegan Society declared Mallorca the top holiday destination for vegans in Europe, so it’s just a matter of tracking down suitable eateries. You won’t be surprised to learn that the greatest choice is in the island’s capital, Palma de Mallorca.

Although I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian, I enjoy plant-based cuisine on a regular basis and relish the challenge of creating appealing veggie dishes at home. We have vegetarian and vegan friends who visit Mallorca for holidays and it’s good to know they can easily find suitable food when eating out (which wasn’t the case when we moved here in 2004).

Vegan & Raw

Beverley Pugh has lived in Mallorca for many years and has been a champion of raw and vegan food ever since I’ve known her. We recently paid our first (and rather overdue) visit to her Palma restaurant Vegan & Raw, for lunch. Beverley’s food is all vegan and organic, but she does offer some cooked, as well as raw, dishes.

Vegan & Raw is a little out of Palma de Mallorca’s touristic centre, but a walkable distance. It faces the square known as Plaza de los Patines (where there’s a convenient underground car park and, on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, an organic farmers’ market). In fine weather, you can sit outside at the front of Vegan & Raw and watch the world go by. It’s quite a pleasant square, which is also home to an organic supermarket.

You enter Vegan & Raw by the kitchen area and opposite is a corner given over to products for sale, including bags of superfoods. The place feels both wholesome and welcoming.

Vegan & Raw restaurant offers cooked and raw vegan dishes on its daily lunch menu, which costs 15€ for three courses (with choices and including water). We could have ordered organic beer and wine but, hey, it was just after Christmas and a little reprieve from the festive alcohol consumption seemed appropriate with a super-healthy lunch.

We could have chosen a soup, smoothie, or salad to start. We both had salad, which was bursting with fresh flavours and textures and was surprisingly satisfying. The main courses were a pumpkin wrap, Beyond Burger, buddha bowl, or vegetable curry with rice. Having started with a cold dish, we chose the curry, which was served in a bowl on a bed of wholegrain rice.

A raw carrot cake (not sure how that works) or mango mousse were our dessert options. Although curious about the raw carrot cake, I’m a mango fan, so it had to be the mousse. This was served in a chilled glass, sprinkled with desiccated coconut and crunchy dehydrated buckwheat; the latter gave a delicious nutty taste (and made me determined to buy myself a dehydrator this year). We both felt satisfied and a tad smug about our virtuous choice of lunch venue.

Vegan & Raw also offers breakfast dishes, power shots, cold-press juices, organic coffee, plant-based-milk drinks, smoothies and shakes. On Saturdays, there’s a buffet brunch for 15€. Beverley Pugh’s popular eatery is also the venue for occasional events, such as cooking classes, etc. Whether or not you’re committing to Veganuary, a visit to Vegan & Raw is an opportunity to eat healthy and tasty plant-based food.

Open: Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00h; Saturday 09:00-16:00h (buffet brunch 11:00-15:00h)

Other Vegan Eateries are Available

The following are some of the other places in Palma where I know you can eat good vegan food.

  • Bon Lloc
  • Sabores de Sandra
  • Ziva to Go

Some regular restaurants also offer vegan dishes on their menu and, of course, new vegan eateries pop up from time to time. For details of these and other places in Mallorca offering vegan and/or vegetarian food, check out the specialist websites Happy Cow or Vegavu.

Jan Edwards©2020