One bite: The Taste ~ Two bites: The Love
Es Traves 5, Puerto de Sóller, Mallorca
+34 971 631 850
Two-Bites Rating ****
Saturday, March 4, 2017
We frequent Hotel Espléndido many times in the year, this is one of those places you keep in your back pocket for a day that you don’t want any surprises, very consistent in what they offer. We love visiting Puerto de Sóller, especially in the offseason, unfortunately it seems like the entire town shuts down for a period in January and February, including Hotel Espléndido, but they are now open for the season.We were greeted immediately with a warm smile and given the dining room to choose where we would like to sit. They have beautiful big arch windows looking out to the bay with the odd tram passing by. In the summer, on their outdoor terrace, this is a wonderful place to people watch and soak up the sunshine.
Water, bread with local olive oil and house marinated black olives were delivered straight away. I wish they sold jars of the olives as they are a favorite of mine.
Our order was taken and we didn’t have to wait long for our choices to arrive. Each course was timed perfectly. I really cannot fault the service at all. We didn’t feel rushed as sometimes when it is slow you get pushed along, she was there when needed but not over us all the time.
I didn’t get a look at the wine list this time but I do know they have a good selection of different wines. Rosé from France being our preferred choice, normally is lacking on most lists, Hotel Espléndido has a few to choose from. We had the Miraval from Provence, France (33€) a very fresh rosé that is worth the extra expense.
On the bottom of their dessert menu are a few choices of Sweet Wine, we tried the Mr Telmo Rodriguéz, Moscatel (6€ a glass). Not too sweet that it went very well with our desserts.
First Course 1: Fish Ceviche with Yellow Chili (19.50€) – This day the dish was made with Denton Fish, a buttery white flesh fish that is firm when cooked in the lime juice. Very thin sliced red onion on top and toasted corn/hominy. The flavor was very good but I feel too much of the marinating liquid was used as a soup, I would have preferred less liquid and served with a corn chip. I understand the version of it but sometime you get an idea in your head and that is what you want.
First Course 2: Home made Ox tail Croquette with Kimchi dressing (11€) – 6 bite size croquettes sitting on top of the dressing, lots of flavor but kind of disappointed on the texture of the bite, it was quite mushy, almost runny. Very crispy on the outside which was great. This is the ongoing dilemma we have over the Spanish Croquettes, some are too mushy, some dry, some gummy and some tasteless. I think we are looking for something that will never be unless I make them myself, as we want a mixture either smooth with diced bits inside or all chunky but then they are not a true Spanish croquette. I shall leave this rant for another post. So they were not bad just not liking the texture.
Main Course 1: Salmon with Bulgur Wheat and Mango (19€) – It is not often I am in the mood for Salmon so when I am, I want it cooked perfectly. Perfectly in my book is slightly underdone, still slightly clear pink in the middle. This keeps the fish very moist and tender (yes you can have tough fish). I was very pleased to have my Salmon respected and cooked perfectly. It came sitting on a smear of avocado cream with the bulgur wheat, mango, tomato mix. It all went well together and made for a very healthy option.
Main Course 2: Salmon and Prawn Burger with Salad (19€) – The burger of mince Salmon and Prawn came on a wheat thin type bun, that would be the perfect size if you were later planning on having a big dinner. My husband was a little disheartened when it arrived as in his mind he was expecting a filet of salmon with some prawns on top. As there was no word “filet” I knew what he received was what a chef would expect. I believe I have spoiled him as a filet is what I would have made at home for him. None the less it was full of flavor and moist. The salad that accompanied the burger was unusual as it had a “Yellow Tamarillo”. It is a tree fruit from South America that can be red, yellow or orange. It is peeled and served raw. It had a tart taste so I felt it needed a bit of sweetness served with it, maybe grilled with balsamic vinegar. I have read the yellow skinned ones are sweeter in taste.
Dessert 1: Roasted Almond Coulant with Almond Liquor ice cream (9.50€) – This is an island of Almonds, so most menus will have some form of an Almond dessert. The coulant came in a disposable tin mold on a dressed plate with berries and red currents (that were too tart). I didn’t really want to eat out of a foil cup so I dumped it out on to my plate which it fell apart as it would, being a coulant. I would have preferred a fully cooked cake out of a mold instead of oozing cake in a foil tin. It had full almond flavor and the accompaniments suited it well. The almond flat cookie was the best part.
Dessert 2: Creamy Passion Fruit mousse with Meringue ice cream (7€) – Much better presented and just as tasty as the Almond. Full of Passion flavor including the little meringue kisses.
This is a wonderful place to relax and have a delicious meal. Inside or out you have beautiful views of the bay and activity going on, all with excellent service, well-prepared food in just the right portions that are beautifully presented. I really enjoyed tasting and learning of a new food to me, the “Yellow Tamarillo”. These kinds of restaurants that are not afraid to put something different on your plate, excite me and keep me returning. The server said a new menu might be coming out in a few months. I will be back regardless.
One side note that is a constant pet peeve of mine is the Salt and Pepper on the table. Most often they are not functioning or empty. Here they have a set of Le Creuset mills and both work beautifully. As a chef, in my kitchen I have a Peugeot but I am often looking for the best “table” mills. I have to say the Le Creuset mills were fantastic and will be getting a set for us.
The only negative point I can say was at about 3:30 when we finished our lunch, the kitchen started to do their cleaning, scrubbing the floors to be exact. No biggie normally and pleased to see even after a slow lunch service but it is an open plan kitchen so the noise was very disruptive and felt like we were holding the restaurant up. From what, I do not know as the website says they are open all day. This type of cleaning needs to happen daily and sometimes more if it is a busy day but it is best to do the scrubbing once all customers have left. An open plan kitchen is nice to see while they are busy cooking, but is not so nice when they start scrubbing the floors.
A few tips: