The name DaiCa is a fusion of the names of the team behind it, David and Caterina – both with extensive experience in lots of excellent restaurants across Mallorca and mainland Spain, the pair have now turned their culinary hands to running a small restaurant and hotel in the beautiful village of Llubi, in the centre of the island near Inca.
The restaurant is dedicated to serving good local cuisine, but not in a typical way: there are many very interesting and experimental options on the menu, all made from fresh, Mallorcan ingredients in ways you have never seen before!
An excellent way to sample the chef's eccentric work is the tasting menu at 38€ which includes 6 courses as well as some very interesting ‘snacks’. If we hadn’t been tempted enough by the description of this option on the menu, we were more than intrigued following our lovely waitress' detailed description of each course, particularly her explanation of the amuse bouche which included some ‘fake soil’ made from squid ink and cookies.
Once we’d ordered, we sat back and enjoyed the glasses of prosecco that we had been welcomed with and waited to experience this series of unique courses.
First up were some small, but in no way insignificant, snacks – as we munched small cornets of peanuts, we looked at the 'molecular olives' served with them in curiosity. Having been made from real olives, I couldn’t help but wonder what this chemically created alternative would have to offer… An explosive texture was the answer! They quite literally burst in your mouth. I’m not convinced that I would ever choose them over the olives which come straight from local trees, but this was certainly an experience.
Meanwhile, we were served a tuna tartar with strawberries – an unlikely combination which worked wonderfully, with the sweetness of the fruit complementing the raw fish really well.
Having not even arrived at the starter yet, we were already very impressed and even more so when we were presented with our next dish – a potato foam with girolle mushrooms covered in ‘earth’. Never being quite sure that we had correctly understood our waitress’ descriptions in a mixture of Spanish, Mallorquin, English and German, we tasted with caution. Indeed, it did seem that the soil effect had been created with cookies, and this worked surprising well with the (actually) earthly potatoes and the local mushrooms.
Even the bread with the meal was accompanied by a taste of Mallorca – two local salts, one with curry and the other with olive flavours.
The next three courses were the starter – an artichoke soup with a ball of hake fish and artichoke crisps, the fish course – more hake with two sauces, one of cauliflower and one made from black olives, and the meat course – a fillet of pork on a cauliflower purée with purple potato chips and a lovely sauce. After each one, there was barely a morsel left on our plates. It was very impressive how many different flavours, textures and ingredients were included in the menu, without the meal being overly heavy. The hake ball with the soup worked beautifully with the artichoke whilst the fillet of fish flaked perfectly on the fork in the fish course, but my favourite was the very tender pork.
Well, that was before I saw the dessert – or should I say desserts! As was becoming a theme, the final course was not one simple dessert, but a dish made up a myriad of different, delicious elements! We finished our feast with a mandarin sponge served with a tangy sweet orange sauce, white chocolate ice cream, which was probably the best I’ve ever tasted, pieces of white chocolate with sunflower seeds and topped with a few strands of candied orange zest. Incredible.
Aside from being of outstanding quality, sampling the taster menu was also a lot of fun! The DaiCa restaurant obviously strives to serve excellent food, but there is no pretentiousness at all – the staff are incredibly friendly, the setting is lovely and the stone walls have a very cool feeling, which would be lovely on a hot summer day.
Llubi may not be the first place that you consider paying a visit during your holiday in Mallorca, but I have a feeling that this restaurant may just change that and I would certainly recommend a diversion to check it out!