Nestled in the foothills of north-west Mallorca sits the majestic Son Brull Hotel & Spa. Once a monastery, this imposing building has been beautifully restored and then modernised to create the classic old-meets-new interior - we were immediately impressed... You enter the hotel through the most enormous glass door, just opening it brought a smile to our faces with its sheer grandueur and weight; and continue into the inner courtyard where the horses were once kept.
My dining partner for the evening, The Frenchman, and I were here to try the hotel's restaurant, the 365 Restaurant with its sleek, dark and intimate dining room. But when the weather is good, as it was for us, dining on the terrace by the infinity pool is the preferred choice. The tables are large and well spaced to allow for private conversations and, as the light fades, large white orbs begin to glow in their flowerbeds and illuminate the garden's plants. The atmosphere is undeniably romantic.
Two large golden envelopes were presented to us once we had sat down, much like you see at the Oscars and had us wondering what they contained, childishly they made us feeling like guests of honour - could we have won something? Much to our delight, they contained the evening’s menu – a lovely and original touch that symbolises the restaurants attention to detail. The modern Mallorcan menu is divided into starters, fish, meat and dessert, with four or five options in each section. 365 has also committed to using local and organic produce wherever possible, which we really are in favour of.
As we were perusing our choices, we were presented with delicate canapés and fresh warm bread accompanied by local olive oil and flakes of salt, a traditional Mallorcan offering. Our charming server for the night offered some wine suggestions and we decided to take wine by the glass to match each course. Local white wine from Pollenca was duly brought to the table; a 100% chardonnay grape, the wine was rich, buttery and smooth.
We were then treated to an amuse-bouche of sliced roast duck, served with a pineapple compote which didn't last long given its size and deliciousness. This was closely followed by our starters: cuttlefish fritters with green pea cream soup which had a wonderful freshness to them - I was taken right back to my childhood where I used to eat peas straight from the pod in the garden. And The Frenchman’s king prawns were sweet and tender, served on a bed of beans with slices of garlic.
After a brief pause, our wine was replaced with a local crianza from Macia Batile in Binissalem – one of the island's best known producers. We had chosen Mallorcan Lamb and Roasted Suckling Pig for our mains and the wine complemented the choices perfectly. The lamb had been slow-cooked and was succulent and full of flavour whilst the accompanying gravy was particularly rich and flavoursome. The pig was deliciously soft and moist – real melt-in-the-mouth and a definite success.
Both dishes were beautifully presented and were such generous portions that we wondered where exactly dessert was going to fit. This became even more of an issue when we were presented with a pre-dessert, a small but perfectly formed orange parfait with a hazelnut cream but yet again we soldiered through in the name of investigative-dining.
We were glad that we went ahead with the dessert plan once they had arrived. A beautiful and delicate strawberry custard with a vanilla cream was light enough to slip between the gaps to finish off the meal just nicely, a cunning choice.
But the best surprise was the quizzically named/translated Dry Nuts Coulant (it was how dry nuts could also be runny which threw us) which turned out to be the piece de resistance of the night, and crashed itself up there into our pudding experience Top Ten. Unlike the similar looking 'chocolate fondant/lava cake', which The Frenchman dislikes with a passion, this treat was made of praline, served warm and looks fairly innocuous until you slice it open... At which point the fabulous tasting praline cream bursts forth and mingles with the accompanying chocolate mousse that had been served on the side. I urge you to leave room for this delectable treat.
Coffee and petits-fours wrapped up the evening. Considering the surroundings, the quality of the food, the attentive and charming staff, a three-course dinner here is an absolute steal at €61 per person. Bookings are recommended, as is lingering by the pool after your meal...