The Frenchman and I were up in the north-east of Mallorca over the weekend, enjoying the luscious green countryside and idly toying with the idea of actually getting out of the car to explore a little on foot. “Oh no!”, said The Frenchman, “can't we just open the windows and hang our heads out a bit?”.
So we settled on the compromise to get some fresh air whilst eating lunch on a lovely terrace somewhere. It's funny how whenever I suggest we take some exercise, we always end up eating instead. So we decided to try out the restaurant at Cases de Son Barbassa, which we had heard has a good reputation for food. This beautiful finca is on the road from Capdepera (two kilometres) to Cala Mesquida, and is well sign-posted.
We turned up unannouced, feeling a little scruffy in our shorts and sandals, and were warmly welcomed by the lady at reception. Lunch for two would be no problem she said, and she asked if we would like a little tour of the finca before taking a seat. Always happy for a nosey around a property, we accepted and were taken around the public areas by our lovely host and we were immediately put at ease by the relaxed atmosphere and chilled out attire of the residents and other diners. The pool and day-beds look as good in real-life as they do in the brochure, and the building itself is a stunning, low-lying, ranch-style building which has been beautifully restored and decorated, (if only we could live in a place like this!).
The finca occupies a stunning location, with no other dwellings to overlook it and has views of gorgeous, lush countryside (and even the sea from some angles). Only birdsong interrupted the peace and quiet on what was a perfect summer's day. We were offered a seat in the very sleek glass-box dining room, or a place on the terrace. Never one to go back on his word, The Frenchman took the fresh air option.
Lunch menus were provided, along with bread, olives & gherkins, the fincas own olive-oil, and a really excellent aoli. There was a Mediterranean feel to the menu, with a wide range of tapas, snacks and salads, pizza and simple grilled meats and fish. We decided to order a selection of tapas and salads 'to share' (take note, monsieur!). Although we did not partake any wine, there seemed to be a good selection, with prices around the €20 to €35 mark.
Our chosen beef carpaccio with manchego cheese & capers, and the tuna salad arrived after a relaxed ten minutes. The beef was elegantly presented, soft, tender and very good. The tuna on the other hand, was somewhat ordinary. Tinned tuna had been used - albeit very good quality tinned tuna - and had been placed on a salad of iceberg lettuce, with some black olives stirred through, and dressed with lashings of oilve oil.
Our next choices of marinated salmon, and avocado, sprouts & mango salad showed the same split personality. The salmon had been thickly cut, and was fresh, soft and delicious. Served with a yoghurt, dill & mint dip, it was a lovely dish to eat on a hot summer's day. The salad, on the other hand, was a little odd. The 'mango' was a mango coulis spread out on the rim of the plate. There was only a small amount of avocado and sprouts in the salad that was mainly soy-dressed lettuce. Not unpleasant, but not quite as nice as we had pictured in our minds.
After such nice, light dishes The Frenchman declared himself ready and willing for dessert, and chose the Brossat cheesecake. Having no idea what Brossat actually was, it came as quite a surprise to be served what looked decidedly like chocolate cake. It was served with schooshy whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Good thing too, as the cake was quite dry. We queried with our hostess that this was indeed the cheesecake, and not the chocolate torte. She was politely adamant that it was the Brossat. The Frenchman shrugged and scoffed it regardless. Brossat, as I learned later, is a Catalan curd cheese - soft creamy and slightly sweet - ideal for cheesecake, although I am still uncertain how it ended up as we had it.
Coffee completed our meal and we reflected on our experience at Son Barbassa. It has to be one of the most beautiful spots on the island for peace and tranquillity. Service was sweet, if a touch slow at times, the surroundings heavenly, the food - well, the food was great if you made the right choices. We definitely saw fresh produce from the grounds being taken into the kitchens, which we always like the idea of. Perhaps some of our choices were related to a more relaxed approach to daytime dining. At €60 for the two of us, no alcohol, it's not cheap, but to have the opportunity to eating in such a glorious setting - well, that's priceless.