My other half’s been telling me for ages that Palma was wonderful. He said I’d like it a lot. And he knows me relatively well. But I had an impression of Spain stuck in my head that was somewhere between stag dos and Thomson family package holidays (sorry Thomson).
Turns out I was wrong again. I don’t even mind admitting that cos it means I’ve learned something new. And it only cost £42 return each. Cray.
Palma is in fact like a really laid back Barcelona. Lots of little winding cobbled streets, beautiful architecture, great designer and high street shopping, amazing food and classy al fresco dining. We spent the majority of our time in the old town, a convenient 10 mins from the airport in a taxi. We did plenty of mooching about, eating and checking out the enormous Zara and H&M. By this time I knew I was nearly 3 months pregnant (more on that in a later post) so I couldn’t partake in all the lovely wine and gin (Spain have a big love affair with gins and tonics) but I’m already planning our return so it’s not much of a loss. And I could still eat plenty of food…
Highlights on the culinary side included Fosh – Mark Fosh’s Michelin starred restaurant serving the most stunning à la carte menu, and also a lunch menu which was only £27.50 for 3 courses or £39.50 for 5. Unreal value when you consider the food looked like this (below) and tasted even better. The venue is gorgeous and we sat out in the glass courtyard of dreams for a leisurely few hours. We met Mark, the man himself, when he popped out from the kitchen to say hi (Mr SarahBosson.com had met him before a few years ago) and ask how our lunch was, and he was a lovely chap.
I’d also firmly recommend Forn – similar name to Fosh but not even remotely similar experience. Much less modern, trendy and hushed, and more warm and Spanish but still really fancy, Forn is part of a cluster of restaurants with different identities but owned by the same collective. I had a beef shin and truffle cannelloni for a tapas/starter and it was a revelation. Everything looked and tasted wonderful and the service was spot on.
I’d recommend booking ahead to guarantee a space, particularly Fosh, even if it’s just a day or two in advance. I think we actually only booked Forn the night before and that seemed to be fine but just rocking up might mean you have a long wait.
Other places I’d make effort to get to if you’re over there include the chic Nassau Beach Club, right on the sand, where we whiled away half a day in the sun with bottles of crisp white wine (him), virgin Pina coladas (moi) and some amazing food. Abaco is another good one if you fancy a drink somewhere a bit different. They have a strict no photography policy behind the big wooden doors which are kept closed for privacy. Inside it’s kind of like an old Spanish stone stately home, there are flowers and fruit strewn around extravagantly, huge fireplaces, chaise longues, sofas, huge floor cushions and layers of rugs and drapes. It’s like a hedonistic, Dionysian grand hall. For cocktail-ing in. Bit bonkers but interesting.
We also had a lovely time in The Ritzi (though we didn’t eat there), The Brass House bar, and Tasu where we ordered far too much of some of the best tapas I’ve ever had. I know I’ve left places off the list because we ate nigh on constantly for 4 days/nights, but I’m going to leave it there.
Also worth a wander is Portixol. The little port is right down the other end of the beach, past the Cathedral, past Nassau and keep walking – no one seems to be in much of a hurry in Palma though so just take it nice and slow along the sandy beach. It’s a cute little beachy strip of little painted Spanish houses and nice seafront bars. It’s also where we ate the paella shown below.
We had planned to get the train up to some mountain village place too, but as we were there over the weekend the queues at the station were long, the sun was hot and I was in major first trimester fatigue mode so we sacked that off and spent a day relaxing on the beach instead. Something else for next time!
In case you can’t tell, I’d really recommend Palma, for convenience and cheapness as much as anything. I already can’t wait to go back, either with my new little family next year, or with some friends on a girls’ trip. There’s plenty to do and see but it’s relaxed, warm and feels very food centric which is definitely may kind of place. Well worth a visit.