The smoked salmon before guests started on it. | Andrew Valente

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Newspapers and magazines are forever telling us that a good breakfast gets the day off to a great start. What none of them say is it can keep us on the go for the next 24 hours. At least that’s what it did to me.

I wanted to have a buffet breakfast at one of the central Palma hotels and eventually picked Hotel Naisa in Calle Simó Ballester, right next to the National Police headquarters and just round the corner from the Bulletin offices.

My nostalgic English-style bacon and eggs
My nostalgic English-style bacon and eggs

It’s a middle-of-the-road breakfast costing €12. The Hotel Almudaina in Jaime III does one for €8 and some of the big hotels in Illetas charge €28 — and you’ll pay even more at the luxury hotels like the Victoria and the Son Vida.

I am sure most readers know these breakfasts are good fun and that they cater for just about every kind of breakfast you may want.

There was a good choice of cereals
There was a good choice of cereals.

They have a huge selection of grains and cereals with at least half a dozen kinds of milk sitting on cold plates to keep them at the right low temperature.

If yoghurt and fresh fruit are your way of breaking your fast then the choice is immense: I haven’t seen such a vast array of fresh fruit since the last time I had a hotel breakfast buffet.

The choice of possible goodies is so massive most people don’t know where to begin. That, however, was not one of my problems — I had previously decided I would have a generous plate of smoked salmon to begin with, followed by an English style bacon and eggs.

For those who want charcuterie and cheese
For those who want charcuterie and cheese.

At these breakfasts, and also hotel buffet brunches, the amount of smoked salmon I have is always worth a good deal more than the cost of the full breakfast…which makes breakfast a great buy. I never eat smoked salmon with a knife and fork. At Hotel Naisa I broke off smallish pieces of a soft cereal and seeds roll, spread them thickly with butter and topped them with slices of smoked salmon pulled apart with my fingers.

When I bit into this mound of culinary bliss, I first came into contact with the texture and flavour of the salmon, then followed the rich buttery taste and finally the almost fluffy piece of roll.
It all added up to sheer epicurean bliss. And there was no need for the intervention of a cook with three Michelin stars. This was DIY gastronomic ecstasy and at a price many of us can afford. And there was no effort involved.

I even had an ensaimada and croissant
I even had an ensaimada and croissant.

Although there are dozens of possible breakfast combinations on offer, anything after this smoked salmon masterpiece had to be an anti-climax. But even so, I set up a very nice English bacon and eggs deal: I did it with two fried eggs, several rashers of streaky bacon, a few segments of thick sausage, some baked beans and a triangle of potato cake.

The big surprise here was the fried eggs. They are kept hottish in a lidded container, but once on the plate it seemed as if they had been fried to order. The whites were soft and fluffy and not solid and like plastic, which is what you get in other places, and the yolks were at least half runny.

The sausages were surprisingly tasteless (the thin Mallorcan ones are absolutely bursting with flavour) and the potato cakes are obviously bought in and were a huge disappointment. They should drop them because they’re not needed: there’s so much of everything else.

My plate of smoked salmon, with butter and pieces of roll
My plate of smoked salmon, with butter and pieces of roll.

Although I didn’t overstuff myself with this very nice spread of breakfast food, I knew I wouldn’t be having lunch. That day was the eve of Sant Joan when many people go to the beach to eat and celebrate, but I went to the terrace of an Illetas hotel with friends and had a gin and tonic.

I had thought I may have a plate of chips at some point, but I didn’t even feel like eating a single chip.
I didn’t eat again until next morning (exactly 24 hours later) when I had breakfast at the office: two small pieces of toasted baguette with a Galician cheese topping and one with butter and bitter orange marmalade. I was back to normality after my scrummy visit to Hotel Naisa.

Food

The buffet is made up of a huge choice of breakfast combinations and there are items that will fit in with everyone’s preferences.

Price

Breakfast costs €12 per person and there are no extras — there couldn’t be, unless you wanted your morning black coffee with a shot of brandy in it. In the old days many Mallorcans started their day like that: it was a common drink and was called a ‘carajillo’.

The Verdict

If you are one of those people who cannot face food first thing in the morning (and many of my friends are like that) then a breakfast buffet is not for you. But if you can manage smoked salmon, an English-style eggs and bacon and perhaps an ensaimada with a couple of cafés con leche, then you’ll get more than your money’s worth when you have breakfast at the Hotel Naisa. The hotel has to cater for the average person’s different tastes in breakfast food and the huge array of items will please even the most fastidious of breakfast eaters. I rated the smoked salmon as a 10 because of its beautiful texture and taste. The eggs for the English style eggs and bacon were probably baked in individual moulds and then kept hottish, and they were most successful, the whites soft and fluffy and my two yolks still nicely runny. The potato cakes aren’t any good and should be dropped. The coffee was splendid. I had cortados and cafes con leche and they were the best I have tasted in a long time. As Hotel Naisa is just around the corner from the Bulletin offices I’ll be dropping in for a coffee from time to time. Management, however, got zero points for one thing: they didn’t have a daily newspaper in the dining room or in reception. Shameful.

The Place

Hotel Naisa, Calle Simó Ballester, Palma. It is next to the National Police headquarters, just round the corner from the Bulletin offices. There is no need to book a table. Simply tell one of the waitresses you are not a client of the hotel but are having breakfast. It is served every day from 7.30-11am.