A DJ, a psychologist and a columnist walk into a restaurant… This could have been the beginning of yet another lame joke! Instead, it was the start of one of the most pleasant afternoons I have had on this island so far: sitting in a great company, eating some of the best fish and seafood on Mallorca and enjoying gorgeous vistas with jazzy cover tunes playing in the background...
I had been to Sant Elm several times, but somehow never made it as far as Es Raor. As we were seated in front row seats to admire the impressive Sa Dragonera island, sipping cold Aperols and glasses of cavas, Barbara cheekily remarked that we were sitting at “the last table on the island”. She was definitely not wrong - at least as far as the most Western point of Mallorca was concerned!
While we were waiting for one of the two Pedros that own Es Raor - Pedro Clar - to join us, an impeccably mannered waiter brought out a selection of starters. Deep fried squid and Galician style octopus were both excellent, but our attention was drawn to a dish none of us recognised: Ortiguillas de mar. It was also deep fried; the translation of its name - Mediterranean snakelocks - implied that it might be some sort of a snake, but Charlene was sure that it tasted like a plant. Several giggles and internet searches later, it was established that it was a sea anemone, “an invertebrate related to corals and jellies”.
Biology lesson over, Pedro arrived, greeted us warmly and proceeded to order dish after dish of “his favourites, which we just have to try”! As he served us Black rice with crispy cuttlefish and alioli, he talked about the difference between a typical paella and rice - explaining that their rices were thinner and crispier, giving them more texture and a richer taste. A selection of grilled fish followed, including the famous raor, from which the restaurant draws its name. Quick research (yes, I Google while eating!) told me that es raor meant rare in Catalan and that this was the most expensive Mediterranean fish. I felt so privileged having the opportunity to try its soft, delicate white flesh of very complex taste.
Little did I know that more special treats were yet to come! First off, Escabeche de pescado, marinated fish that was a special recipe dreamed up by Pedro's dad. Until now, my idea of marinated fish was Scandinavian herrings, of which I was not a huge fan. This, however, was another level. Refreshing, tangy, flavoursome… Just heavenly!
We were quite sure that we were done, when Pedro proclaimed that he saved the best for last: his own take on mussels in a secret sauce. He had us guessing the ingredients and we were doing quite well listing tomato, chilli, and something citrusy. I thought the liquid base was cava, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was in fact beer. I loved everything here, we really dined like queens, but if I had to pick out one dish to try again and again it would have to be these Mussels with “Clar” sauce!
I was so full that I felt as if my stomach would explode with joy, but then came the desert and my eyes opened wide again! Pedro asked his staff to prepare something especially for us, so they brought out a warm, gooey Chocolate Coulant and a dessert combining 2 in 1: a thin apple pie and a soft cheese cake. A generous spoonful of rich vanilla ice cream completed the experience. I can see myself becoming a nuisance here and asking for this “2 in 1” many times more.
Pedro was an incredible host, telling us about his food, and his life on the island, making us laugh, but also pondering some serious issues on our little rock. I would dare to say that, by the end of the meal, we made a new friend. But what especially melted my heart was the way he treated his staff, with genuine respect and “cariño” rarely seen in rushed hospitality today. Maybe Pedro himself is “es raor”, a rare breed, too?
To sum up, I loved this place! The food, the service, the atmosphere and the views all get a gigantic “thumbs up” from me!
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