For the past two years I’ve checked the menú del día at Spot from time to time, always on the lookout for dishes that give me something to write about and which will be suitable for Brisas, Ultima Hora’s weekend magazine.
Last week I finally came across a menu with three dishes that looked ideal and I immediately made a booking. It was a good choice, because it turned out to be one of the best €15.50 meals I have ever had — although none of the others were in a setting with such charm and chic.
I don’t have space to explain what the Spot interior designers have done to this huge high-ceilinged space, so all I am going to say is go there, walk in, and as you look around you’ll be aware of the amazing spatial effects the designers have achieved — and you’ll understand why I gave them an instant 10 for their work. The three dishes that caught my eye were two starters and a dessert. The first was incredibly simple: thick slices of unpeeled roasted squash. It was a revelation and the best squash on its own I have ever eaten.
The most amazing aspect of this dish was the thick skins which usually get cut off and discarded. On this roast squash the skins were thin and crisp. Absolutely splendid and worth a 10.
Perhaps there are other cooks out there who roast squash and get the skin to be like this, but I have never come across them, so this dish was a total novelty and all the better for being so.
You can always hear the sound of good vibes when a cook goes out of his way to do something different, but ever so simple, with an everyday veggie — especially one I like but seldom make.
So when I have the oven on at full blast for a leg of lamb or some other dish, I’ll make a point of roasting thick slices of squash as a starter. It’s guaranteed to get the meal off to a good start.
It’s very easy-peasy to make a passable pita bread for dipping into hummus and other Middle Eastern dishes, but I know from past experience that making one with perfectly soft insides and a crisp exterior that is easily sliced open and filled, calls for the kind of baking technique most cooks simply haven’t acquired. Spot’s pizza cook has it — and in abundance. His pita with a creamy cheese and green leafy filling was another instant 10. We also had a fine pizza calabrese with a nice touch of spicy heat and rigatoni whose al dente touch was, well, spot on.
The Japanese restaurant Quinta Avenida in Avda Alejandro Rosselló last year chalked up four 10s (three for the food and one for the entire dining room staff) and now it has happened again at Spot, with 10s for three dishes and one for the interior designers. I feel truly elated when a meal comes with three such splendid but simple dishes that score a perfect 10 based on how fine ingredients were expertly cooked and without any ostentatious presentation frills. It’s good to know some restaurants are serving this kind of food — and on a menú del día costing only €15.50. Some places don’t even have a starter at that price.
Spot, Plaza Verge del Miracle 3, Santa Catalina, Palma. Tel:971-658603. Open every day for lunch and dinner. This square is next to the church at the Plaza del Puente end of Calle San Magín. There’s plenty of space in the dining room but play safe and book a table, especially at the weekend.
The two menús del día cost 31 € and as there was a supplement of €5 for the rigatoni, the bill came to 36 € with VAT. That included two cañas, a herby mayo-style spread with bread that was beautifully soft and with crunchy crusts. We could also have had a coffee, but we never drink it after a meal.