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Carrossa Restaurant Review, Arta

Gourmet fine dining in Mallorca's unspoilt countryside

Featured in: | Jose Rains, Mallorca Reporter | Published
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The Carrossa Hotel Spa Villas is a new 5-star hotel in the north-east of Mallorca, near the quaint town of Arta. It’s the latest venture of the Hamacher family, famous for their hideaway resorts in Austria. Following suit, this resort hotel sits away from the beaten track of Mallorca’s tourist hot spots in favour of the island's captivating countryside.

In a bid to gain a sneak peek at this brand spanking new hotel, which is already making waves in Mallorca, we managed to snag a dinner reservation within the hotel’s trendy new Carrossa Restaurant on a balmy summer evening. Driving up the driveway of Carrossa Hotel Spa Villas, we were seduced by the handsome landscape in which this hotel is situated.

We were in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by natural splendour in the form of fruit and olive trees and a craggy mountain backdrop created by the Llevant mountain range in the distance. Soon, the 500-year-old manor house could be spotted in the distance along with some new buildings which were equally beautiful thanks to the use of Mallorca’s famous sandstone.

Met by the hotel's manager, Giuseppe, we were treated to a little tour of the hotel, starting with Bistro Badia Restaurant which is celebrated for its spectacular views of Alcudia Bay, as well as overlooking the infinity pool and impressive mountain backdrop. The outdoor furniture and table settings were elegant, contemporary and colourful both in and outside.

Here, many hotel guests enjoyed a pre-dinner drink during the magical golden hour. Looking at the menu, there were plenty of dishes to choose from including traditional tapas and snacks like deep-fried green peppers, croquetas, garlic prawns and baby squid. The specials featured various risottos, pasta dishes and typical Spanish meat like steak of Iberian pork.

As we headed downstairs to Carrossa Restaurant, where we would be dining that particular evening, we could comprehend how the hotel’s original character has been retained. Exposed blonde stone and antique doors were the supporting act to some high-quality modern furnishings, fixtures and fittings that commanded to create a 5-star experience. As we entered Carrossa Restaurant, we passed by a designer-looking dining room and were met by a formal yet romantic setting under a canopy with remarkable views over the historic towns of Arta and Capdepera a good few kilometres away.

As we sat down at the table, the waitress offered us the cocktail menu from the Oro Bar, suggesting we kicked things off with an aperitif. We were more than impressed at the extensive list of cocktail creations. Classics like ‘Mojitos’, ‘Margaritas’ and ‘Expresso Martinis’ featured on the menu alongside more innovative creations like their signature ‘Carrossa Garden’ which consists of Sant Germain gin, mint, apple and syrup. Divine! My partner opted for a traditional ‘Whisky Sour’, whilst I went for one of their non-alcoholic cocktail creations, the ‘Cucumber Mule’, a fruity explosion of cucumber, mango, lime, syrup and ginger beer. Honestly, one of the best mocktails I have ever tried.

It soon became apparent that the attention to detail at this restaurant was flawless, from the first-class service through to the cutlery embossed with the hotel's name. Fresh bread was delivered to the table with homemade alioli and olive oil. We were then served an amuse bouche of caramelised onion, dry grape and pine nuts on a form of biscuit bread. Upon asking for the wine list, there was a good mixture of Spanish wines to choose from by the glass at perfectly reasonable prices.

When it comes to the food, the menu choice isn’t huge which, if you are like me, is a blessing. It has been carefully crafted to ensure there is something for everyone. I would describe it as predominantly Mediterranean with some Asian inspiration infused into it. For instance, the starters consisted of things like ‘Beef Tartare’, ‘Octopus and Miso Salad’ and ‘Duck Ravioli’. However, on this occasion, the vegan option of ‘Beetroot gazpacho with horseradish and orange’ caught my eye. My dining companion chose a trendy ‘Tuna tataki with miso and soy vinaigrette’.

The tuna tataki starter was fresh, soft and absolutely delicious alongside the Japanese greens and miso that accompanied it. But, for me, the beetroot gazpacho stole the show. First of all, I was presented with a rather delicate looking ravioli made from beetroot, filled with horseradish cream and surrounded by some pieces of orange. The deep purple gazpacho was then drizzled over the top by the waitress. The flavours were as sensational as the presentation, the contrast of sweet fruit and the bite of the horseradish worked harmoniously.

The chef has covered all bases when it comes to the main courses, featuring a good selection of innovative meat and fish dishes. Fancying some fish, I picked the ‘Seabass with sweet potatoes and red curry puree, with toasted cashew nuts’ which sounded like a light option in comparison to some of the other dishes on the menu. A colourful display of vegetables arrived alongside a decent sized slab of fish. The sweetness of the carrot and sweet potato really brought out the flavour of the fish. The Blanc de Blanca 2017 from Mallorca’s Bodegas Angel was light with a hint of pineapple and easy to drink, providing the perfect wine pairing for this dish.

My counterpart chose the ‘Lamb Carre with black olive crust and spiced carrot hummus’ as his choice for main course. This was a unique dish, full of flavour owing to the curry spices and black olive crust. The lamb was cooked to perfection, still slightly pink but the spiced carrot hummus was the most memorable aspect of the plate. Alongside this dish, another Mallorcan wine featured on the table, the Syrah from Miquel Oliver was bold with rich forest fruits penetrating through.

For dessert, there were a few fruity and chocolatey options available. Indecisive at this point in the journey, we decided to share a couple of the chocolate-fuelled options. ‘The Carajillo de Baileys with chocolate and mint’ sounded like something new and exciting. Extraordinarily moreish, I could only compare it to a tiramisu, as it was rich and creamy with a chocolate-coffee flavour. The ‘Mousse Au Chocolate with salted caramel and kalamansi’ was the other dessert that appealed to us. For me, this was easier to eat, as the zesty kalamansi ice cream cut through the rich chocolate mousse and acted as a palate cleanser at the same time.

We decided to take our evening to the next level by indulging in a post-dinner drink at Oro Bar which, conveniently, resides next to the restaurant. This space wows with its dark yet elegant design, reminiscent of a celler-come-gentleman's club, without the leather or cigar smoke. The interior design team have done a wonderful job with the furnishings by infusing some bright purple colours and luxury textiles to concoct a lavish feel against the rustic stone walls of the room.

You could easily while away the hours at Carrossa Hotel Spa Villas, even if you are only there for an evening. It’s well worth travelling to this part of the island for the ‘Carrossa experience’, whether you choose to stay or simply sample its gastronomical delights at one of its restaurants. It’s open until November 2018 with a view to re-open in February 2019, so there's still plenty of time to enjoy a gourmet experience in Mallorca's unspoilt countryside.

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