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-   -   REVIEW - Jardin, Port d'Alcudia, June 2015 (https://www.forum.puertopollensa.com/alcudia/12238-review-jardin-port-dalcudia-june-2015-a.html)

Harters 29-06-2015 16:14

REVIEW - Jardin, Port d'Alcudia, June 2015
It’s some years since we last ate at Jardin. That was before Macarena de Castro was awarded a Michelin star. It was clear to us then that she was well on her way to the star but, truth be told, we came away feeling there was an element of almost trying too hard. So, it was good to go back see some of the changes. And Jardin certainly now feels more comfortable in its own skin. Service, whilst still being “proper” is no longer stiff and overly formal. And there’s more fun in some of the dishes – and it remains superbly innovative and impeccably executed.

Dinner is by way of a no choice tasting menu. When I say “no choice”, there is one between which menu you’ll eat – the 9 course one of the restaurant’s “old favourites” or the 13 course “latest creations”. So, that’ll be the 13 courser, please.

You’re invited to the kitchen and introduced to Macarena. You’re also introduced to the first course – her take on pa amb oli. It’s a single mouthful – a “pillow” of very tin bread dough, enclosing a tomato and olive oil emulsion, topped with a little ham. It’s fantastic. It’s the essence of pa amb oli – which, in itself, is the essence of Mallorca. Back at the table, there’s another pillow – different emulsion, topping of Mahon cheese.

Next up, possibly our favourite dish of the evening. Crumbs of bread and sobrasada topped with sardine and cherry. You wouldn’t have thought cherry would work – but it does and as with much of Jardin’s cooking, it takes full advantage of local and seasonal produce.

Cuttle fish was the next offering. Cut thinly into noodles and served raw in a light broth, this was very delicate – almost overpowered by the flavour of the previous course still in your mouth. It was followed by another assertive dish. Mussels, shelled and served cold, the plate decorated with dabs of an orange emulsion and one made from mussels.

This was followed by the only dish that neither of us liked. The plate comes with a few little chunks of sea snail (whelk ?), again served at room temperature. The waiter invites us to eat these with the accompanying slices of radish and he’ll return to finish the dish. Well, the snails are just unpleasantly chewy and not at all nice. He returns with a warm broth made from ordinary land snails, which he spoons into the bowl. It’s very bitter. Again, not nice.

That’s followed by a little bone marrow – soft and unctuous. It’s served with little slices of bread, as for Sopas Mallorquinas, and herbs. It’s suggested that we mash everything together. So we do. It’s good.

And then there’s a tartare of John Dory, enhanced with lime & lemon. The zingy contrast with the previous course is something of a wake-up for the tastebuds.

Next up is a dish described as “sea cucumber”, so we’d been expecting a vegetable. But it isn’t. I had to Google for it later to conclude that it's a sort of sea slug that, with a knobbly skin, looks something like a cucumber. Strips of the beast were served in another broth but, in itself, it didn’t really seem to taste of anything much. That was followed by a lovely fillet of scorpion fish, served on mashed potato, with another powerful just, and decorated with a couple of slivers of crisp green bean, which contrasted nicely.

The final savoury course looked simplicity itself but contained real skill. Thinly sliced duck breast, served rolled up, in an intensely savoury and ducky sauce.

In what’s very much the modern fashion, there was now a dish that linked the savoury ones with dessert. In this case, a green bean sorbet managed to be both sweet and tasting of green beans. And, yes, I mean that in a good way. It’s topped with a couple of almonds.

The first proper dessert, no more than a couple of mouthfuls , starts with a disc of lemon cake on the plate. Then there’s a quenelle of orange ice cream, topped with almonds. It’s pretty much North Mallorca on a plate. It’s absolutely fantastic – one of the nicest things you could put in your mouth.

The final course, described as “ensaimade”, had a little crisp pastry straw, some vanilla ice cream, apricots and cubes of vanilla jelly. Really clever and a such a “clean” ending to the meal.

As you might expect, coffee was excellent. And so were the petit fours. And full marks here to the staff. One of the petit fours was chocolate filled with vodka – although mine was alcohol free. I hadn’t been drinking and, much earlier, staff had asked if I ever did (I don’t) and this was the reason for what seemed a very casual bit of conversation. That’s the sort of attention to detail that I meant when I said at the beginning that service is “proper”.

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