I know that time goes slowly on the Isla de la Calma, it’s one of its enduring merits, but this is ridiculous. To kill time before the festival opens at 11am, I linger over a coffee on the corner of the Paseo Maritimo – fifteen minutes. I walk the length of the Born and back again – ten minutes! I stroll around the Cathedral – twice- and by 10.50, I decide I may as well just take a seat and wait. Who cares if I look eager?
So, as the stalls begin to open – not exactly on time, in true Spanish style – I sample a Galilea Amber Ale from Cas Cerveser, followed by a Hop IPA from Beer Lovers.
For an early lunch I decide to try the newly-opened gastronomic market, Mercat 1930. Whilst termed “markets”, they actually consist of rows of food stalls with tables in the centre, on which to consume one’s purchases. It turns out to be quite a trek, but works out well because whilst I’m inside, true to the forecast, the heavens open, but it’s dried up nicely by the time I leave.
At one stall I choose caracoles, Mallorcan style snails, and tortellitas camarones, shrimp fritters. At the next, I have excellent oysters with a glass of local José Ferrer blanco and guyosas – little fried seafood dumplings. I finish with a montadito de jamón ibérico con alcochofa, canapé of pata negra ham and artichoke.
The food is good, if a little pricey, and it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area, but I think, on balance, Mercat de San Juan is probaly a better choice.
Back at Beer Palma, I try Manaw from Cas Cerveser – an unusual and refreshing beer brewed with lemongrass and lime. From Forastera, I have Bavaria Blonde Lager, Es Blat i S’Ordi wheatbeer, and Punk is Dad IPA (another one obviously named after a family member, who happens to be the brewer). I try Ralf’s Commandante Amber and then at Toutatis, I go for the Carpe Diem Belgian ale and can’t resist the Dark Strong Ale, weighing in at a hefty 9.8%. I then return to Beer Lovers for another Bram – just to make sure.
Happy to strike a pose for me at Toutatis
It had been my intention to spend the whole evening at the festival, having occasional snacks from the various food stalls, but to be quite candid, there isn’t an immense choice and the quality is mediocre. Also, my palate is craving a change and a nice glass of red wine would be in order.
I toy with the idea of Adrián Quetglas, but as I approach Gaudeix on the way, I can’t resist going in. It’s really busy and I get told gruffly that I can only sit at the bar. I think I’m going to get ignored whilst the staff fawn over the German couples, but actually the pleasant barman serves me through the gap between the coffee machine and the wall and it turns out to be quite fun. They have no problem with ordering one dish at a time and each one is brought to my spot with a beaming smile. Even though it’s packed, the food arrives quite quickly.
Last time I was here, I gave it the accolade of being some of the best food I’d ever eaten and tonight doesn’t disappoint. I start with Bacalao con Gulas y Col Morada, salt cod with baby eels and red cabbage followed by Cordero con Algas, lamb with seaweed. I then go for Salmonete con Carbón de Yuca y Mojo de Zanahoria, red mullet with grilled yucca and carrot mojo sauce, and Foie de Pato con Naranja y Vino Tinto, duck liver foie gras with orange and red wine. Washed down with a couple of glasses of local red wine and finished with a hierbas (Mallorcan herb liqueur), this exquisite meal comes in at a very reasonable price. I stroll the couple of hundred yards to the hotel feeling most satisfied.