The table ‘mise en place’ at Siduri. | Andrew Valente

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Not all that long ago ‘mise en place’ was known mainly to professional cooks and those amateurs with a very special interest in cooking. It’s a French term and it literally means ‘putting in place’. Thanks to TV programmes like MasterChef, nowadays most of us know that what gets put into place are those ingredients and utensils the cooks will need during their work period. It makes for a well organised kitchen. But in Palma there’s at least one menú del día restaurant where the bread is so important that ‘mise en place’ can be applied to what goes on the table even before diners have had time to decide what they’ll be eating.

The non-photogenic canelones.

Siduri co-owner María José Mulet bakes all the bread served at the restaurant (and also taken away) and it is among the best in town — and that includes what is sold at the island’s top bakeries.
The day I was there, one of the breads was a wholemeal loaf cut into thick but smallish slices. María José doesn’t simply plonk the bread on the table. It comes in a napkin-lined straw basket with the other ‘mise en place’ items: a dish of olive oil, salt, a jug of water, a glass and your choice of drink. In my case it was a caña with a beautiful head served in an attractive thistle-shaped glass.

The cinnamon-flavoured coca.

I first came across this glass when I saw people drinking from it at El Rebost on Avda Jaime III more than three years ago, but this was the first time I actually used it. It’s a true beauty and ideal for drinking caña. The right kind of glass makes a huge difference to any drink — just as some tea cups give you a better cuppa than others. The bread was absolutely splendid. Baked that morning, this wholemeal loaf has a compact but light crumb that is bursting with taste — especially after you dip into the olive oil. Sit back and enjoy it while you decide what you want to eat.

Most of the cooking at Siduri is done by María José’s husband Sergio Covacevich and she does all of the baking and also helps out in the kitchen. But during opening hours Sergio is in the kitchen and María José is running the dining room. It’s a nice set up that works beautifully. Not only does María José bake the bread, she gets all her vegetables from the large garden attached to their country house in Inca. They are very much Km 0.

The ‘pudding’ made with croissant.
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Although they are most conscious of the joys of healthy eating, they don’t want to turn any of us into vegetarians or vegans. María José and Sergio do a superb mix of dishes made with fish, shellfish and meats — but there are always vegetarian options on the menu. The desserts at Siduri also get special attention, so the meal always comes to a memorable sweet ending. The desserts are totally homemade and any fruit they contain usually comes from their garden. More about desserts on the next page.

Food

Owners María José and Sergio adore growing veggies and cooking them — you’ll love eating them.

Price

The menú del día costs €17 with a jug of water as the drink. My caña was an extra and cost €2.50. I had an extra dessert because I needed a fifth picture, but María José waived the cost. The total price with VAT came to €19.50.

The Verdict

Siduri doesn’t call itself a bistro but it is one of Palma’s most bistro-like places: run by a couple who adore good food and cooking, small nicely-dressed tables, regulars eating in lively groups, others eating and reading in a quiet corner, and everyone enjoying great food. María José and Sergio do the cooking and María José also bakes a scrummy range of breads you won’t find anywhere else. They have their own large garden where they grow most of their vegetables as well as some of the fruits for the desserts. They handle an amazing range of culinary styles that takes in all five continents. Their use of herbs and spices is based on dishes from the Middle East, India, South-East Asia, China and South America…and a great deal of Mallorcan and Spanish dishes. So eating at Siduri is always a bit of an adventure. The false frito mallorquín, as María José called it, is one that some Mallorcans do during Lent — it contains all the traditional veggies and herbs but none of the meat. It had an authentic frito taste, although I would have preferred even more leafed fennel. The canelones were in the traditional bechamel sauce which was an ideal foil for María José’s wholemeal bread. The two local desserts were in the best Mallorcan style.