A Friday night is never a good night to be sat at home in Palma, with no food in the fridge, and no real thought about where would be good to grab a nice meal. The Frenchman and I pondered our choices from the comfort of the sofa, knowing that as soon as we stepped outside we would be destined to trample the streets for at least an hour searching for a mutually acceptable restaurant.
And so it was with great relief that the Frenchman came up with a surprisingly good choice! He had mentioned a restaurant called Digui that he had passed by whilst driving home on Palma's Avenidas (the inner ring road that separates the old town of Palma from Palma city). He was, he said, keen to try it out. It's not far from Placa Espana, and occupies a corner plot on Comte de Salient. The restaurant is very appealing as you look through the panoramic windows, with its fresh white and grey decor. We were greeted warmly by the manager and were happy to be seated on a spacious table next to the bar. The interior reminded me of modern French country - pretty white furniture and lots of gorgeous decorative mirrors.
Modern touches such as chunky square glass jars containing the oil and vinegar, extra-long stemmed cutlery, and chill-out music in the background gave the dining area an unexpectedly cool ambiance. We were given Spanish menus, with the manager apologising for the lack of English ones (soon to be rectified), and he proceeded to translate the menu for us. The choice included a decent range of tapas, salads, pasta dishes, and meat & fish main courses. We plumped for a variety of tapas, taking the managers recommendations, and added a salad to add some greenery to the occasion.
The first dish to arrive was the ubiquitous croquettas. We had chosen one each of squid croquette and cheese & sausage croquette. Both had obviously been hand-made, and both were fantastic. The squid offering had been cooked with its black ink and had a wonderful flavour. Our next dish was a little open sandwich, with steak, pesto, cheese and caramelised onions. Wow, all my favourite things on one plate, it was a delicious combination of sweet flavours.
Prawn, bacon and pieces of pork in a garlic oil arrived next - the prawns were not quite as sweet as I have had elsewhere, but it was still rather tasty, particularly with some bread to sop up the juices. Some more caramelised onions, this time served on corn bread with cheese and some kind of marmalade, and flavoured with five-spice, duly arrived and was polished off in no time at all.
Our salad came next, slices of chicken breast and camembert laid artfully on a bed of salad leaves. Moist chicken and deliciously ripe (but not strong) camembert complemented the super-fresh salad leaves, and it had all been dressed perfectly with a very well balanced vinaigrette. We were impressed. Our final tapas was one of the ‘heuvos' egg dishes that we sometimes see on tapas menus, and wonder what it might be. Well, turns out it's like the best brunch going - cut up fried eggs on sliced fried potatoes, and in this case, with slices of chorizo thrown in. We were glad that we had managed to incorporate the life-giving salad before yielding to this delicious fat fest.
Feeling thoroughly full, we were still tempted by the desserts, and thought that we might be able to squeeze in a fruits of the forest tart. It came beautifully presented - a generous slice, with a thick layer of summer berries on a soft biscuit base, garnished with dods of berry and mango coulis. A ginger snap biscuit topped it off.
Digui feels like a really lovely neighbourhood restaurant. It is welcoming and relaxed, and serves really good, interesting food. It is also refreshingly contemporary, a perfect setting to enjoy traditional tapas with a modern twist. And the prices won't break the bank either. Being slightly off the tourist trail, you can expect to pay around €25 per person for a three-course dinner.
PLEASE NOTE : DIGUI Restauracio has since changed its name to Es Jardinet.