What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says “a tree house”? For me it is a sense of freedom, adventure, an escape from daily life, but also excitement of watching the daily life passing by below, without being noticed or disturbed high up in your shelter…
Tree House by Umami group has some elements of above, except for being aimed at thrill seeking adults. Sneaky snacks are replaced with an “extensive Japanese fusion menu, including sushi and more small bites with big flavours”, and your childhood juice box is swapped for “elevated signature cocktails, a fine selection of spirits and wine”. What’s not to like?
You will find Tree House five minutes away from the Cathedral, right at the beginning of Moll Vell. It opened its doors a couple of weeks ago and they are still adding some finishing touches, before the grand opening for the season. Lucie Gardiner, a fellow journalist from another publication, and I were invited to try Tree House’s menu on a perfectly sunny afternoon. At first we chose to sit on a wooden platform, with a pair of bright yellow cushions on each side of a small low table. This set up seemed so simple, almost like sitting around a campfire, but at the same time it felt classy and cool, especially when our fancy drinks arrived. Lucie opted for a glass of Raventos cava, which she described as being “cold, sparkly, creamy and delicious”. I chose one of their signature cocktails Pura Vida i.e. “pure life”. It was made with passion fruit, Aperol, tequila, Passoa (Brazilian passion fruit liqueur) and mezcal essence. It tasted refreshing, yet rich and full bodied. I loved it! Right there, in that instant, I thought “what a great name for a cocktail and what a moment to remember” – just enjoying “la vida”, up above the hustle and bustle of Palma, admiring the luxury yachts moored in the marina.
However, the best was yet to come… Food! We asked our hosts Ben and Chris to bring us a selection of their recommended starters and rolls. We tried three starters. Edamame was crunchy and perfectly salted. Wakaame salad (sea algae rich in vitamins B and K1, apparently) was not my favourite, but Lucie really enjoyed it. Chicken Karaage (deep-fried chicken) with teriyaki sauce was so good that I shamelessly asked for a “doggie bag” for my imaginary dog!
For the main course we moved from our comfy cushions onto a proper table, to eat like the adults we were... Chris brought out a selection of three types of sushi rolls, all perfectly presented as beautiful little parcels. If I am completely honest, I have not eaten sushi for years, and I have only just started again in the last year or so, because it seems to be popping up everywhere around Palma. “Sushi” and “fusion” seem to be the buzzwords of the year when it comes to our city’s gastronomic offering. Tree House’s signature roll comes with salmon, avocado, cream cheese, fried onion and teriyaki - a very nice combination that I would happily have again. We also had California Roll, with Surimi, cucumber, cream cheese, kimchi mayo and tobiko (flying fish roe) – another tasty choice. However, my favourite of the three was Spicy Tuna Roll! It is made with tuna, avocado, kimchi mayo, tobiko and togarashi (a small, hot red Japanese chili), which gave it a very interesting kick! A couple of perfectly fresh Niguiris were thrown in for good measure and by the end of the meal I was grateful for the fact they do not offer a dessert at Tree House for now.
Chris offered us another round of drinks, and met our reluctance with a brilliant response: “Go on, it’s only Thursday once a week!”
Feeling grateful for a very special afternoon, my stomach full of great food and my head happily spinning from a couple of yummy cocktails, I thought to myself: “And we only live once, in this gorgeous place that we are fortunate enough to call home!”
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