WHISPER it quietly… there is something going on in C’an Pastilla.
The previously old-fashioned resort is cooking – yes, truly on fire – with new restaurants and bars opening by the week, it seems. Best of all, these are not your average expat-run, fish and chips-style diners… there are mostly gourmet-focussed places, each with their own unique selling point.
While staying for a month, earlier this year, I was amazed to discover a mix of eateries, that offered amazing tapas, creative cuisine and even top class sushi. Among the hundreds of places to dine was a Cuban place, a Mexican joint and the obligatory Indian, not to mention a Thai, a Chinese and an Argentinian steak house.
And then I found – what was once known as ‘Cockroach alley’ – with two amazing new places, Fins and Rumbo Fijo. Sitting cheek by jowl, they best epitomise the change that is taking place in the resort. Both alluring in the extreme, they have style in spades, and magicians in their kitchens.
The Rumbo Fijo team come from Madrid and include bosses Jorge Fijo and Begona Arroyo, with Juanjo and Pablo in key supporting roles. Set around a charming patio garden, it serves up a great mix of tapas and dishes with loads of specials on the giant blackboard inside. There are two big jamons ready to be carved on the bar and the wine list is particularly good, thanks to various members of the team, who have been sommeliers.
Apart from a good mix of Riojas and Ribera del Dueros there are plenty of Mallorca wines and a great albarino and even champagne by the glass. I particularly liked the foie with fresh mango and a sprinkle of burnt caramel on top as well as the ‘salteado de setas’, a delicious plate of grilled mushrooms with jamon iberico.
Next door, expect to be amazed by Fins, set up by Barcelona native Edmond, a keen surfer, who has various businesses on the island. Stylishly-lit and well designed, with plenty of plants and attitude, this is a place you just want to dive into, and you do generally need to book. The menu is a decent range of local and international dishes, with the steak tartare a sure fire winner, as well as the incredible chicken and pistachio croquettes, served with mustard.
Chef Maria Jose, from Albacete, does a great tartaki of tuna, as well as the best patatas bravas I have tasted outside Barcelona. Around the corner you will find easily the best Italian restaurant in the area, the Soul Cafe. This cool spot is one of the genuine hives and is busy from opening to closing time. And it is no wonder with the fantastic attention to detail from its staff and great mix of pasta dishes, along with the best pizzas around. Some of them are gluten-free.
There is also a range of Spanish tapas and no less than 40 different cocktails. And then there is more, with the recently opened Samoa Beach, next to its sister establishment Bona Ona. This is one hell of a spot to spend the evening, dining looking over the sea and it feels quite authentically Mallorcan. With its brushed concrete floors, wooden tables and African style plates it has a cool vibe, plus its dishes, including a fabulous wok with prawns and vegetables, was excellent.
Watch this space… it will only get better. Last but not least, look out for Finca del Mar, which sits on the front, run by an Italian Swiss called Bagnoni, which is a good spot to eat steaks or decent fish and watch the windsurfers and kitesurfers buzz by.