So far I have done my best not to write about the same places twice, but writing about food created by the same chef is a different matter. I loved Urbà, Santi Taura’s restaurant on the rooftop of Hotel El Llorenç in Palma, so I jumped at a chance to try another one of his restaurants. U Mayol is on the other side of the island and the inspiration behind the menu was quite different to that of Urbà, but the quality and the taste were again second to none, so it definitely deserves to be talked about.
I have never been to the Cala Sant Vicenç area before, so – like a proper tourist – I took a million photos of the pretty little bay and the imposing rocks beside it. Even on a grey day that place looked stunning, so I can only imagine what it was like when it was sunny. Before sitting down for a meal, I got a quick tour of the Hotel El Vicenç, and I particularly loved the lobby, decorated in shades of blue and green and the super stylish library. The spa also looked very inviting, even to someone like me who is “not a spa person”. Vibrant art and tapestries by local artists adorned the walls, adding to a home-away-from-home vibe of the place.
U Mayol is situated on the ground floor of Hotel El Vicenç. We sat at one of the front tables on the terrace a few steps away from the bay and melted into our comfy chairs. Terenc, the waiter who was going to look after us, suggested we start with Santi’s famous vermouths and we chose one each. They are both made with the same grapes, but El rojo El Llorenç is infused with red berries and hibiscus and served with orange foam, while El blanco El Vicenç was infused with honey and camomile and served with lemon foam. Both were delicious and trust me that I am not exaggerating when I say that it would be worth driving from Palma just for those drinks and the views…
We started our meal with several small seafood dishes, all as fresh and as tasty as each other. I particularly loved Ceviche de corvina i.e. croaker ceriche. For the main, Terenc suggested their Arroz seco “U Mayol” acabado a la brasa with “porcella de porc negre” and red shrimp. As some of you already might know, rice dishes in Mallorca are somewhat different to what we are used to calling “a paella”. Rices are drier, thicker, and sometimes, as it’s the case here, finished on the grill. Although pork is my favourite meat, I was a little suspicious of complementing it with shrimp.
My Balkan grandmothers would probably be rolling their eyes at a combination of pork and seafood, were they still alive... But it works brilliantly! I thoroughly enjoyed the mishmash of flavours! Terenc walked past, spotted me leaving small bits of pork skin to one side, and commented over his shoulder that I was “leaving out the best part of the dish”. Like a school kid who was told off, I picked a piece of crispy pork skin, reluctantly began to chew it and got pleasantly surprised by how good it tasted. Thanks, Terenc!
For dessert we chose Cardenal de Lloseta with chocolate, coffee and Baileys. This was a kind of homage to Lloseta, a small “pueblo” in central Mallorca, not far from Inca, where it all started for Santi Taura. I love these kinds of details, honouring your roots, regardless of how far in life you go! Cardenal is basically a typical Mallorcan dessert made with cream, eggs and sugar - sweet and light as a cloud. Adding a sauce made of not just chocolate, but coffee and Baileys, elevated this simple dessert to new heights, adding to the depth of its flavour and pleasure for our taste buds!
As my friend had to run to her next meeting, I ended up having this whole treat to myself. I devoured it very slowly while enjoying the restaurant buzz around me and the stunning scenery in front of me. Oh, Mallorca, how grateful I am for every single day of living surrounded by your charm!
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