Two favourites in Palma revisited

During the last few years I have come to love Spanish cuisine. In London there are plenty of authentic and nice tapas around, at Barrafina, Barrica and the Saltyard group for example.

Palma has plenty of nice restaurants and it was especially two I couldn’t wait to go back to; Tast and Puro Chef.

Tast

On Saturday we had lunch at Tast in the middle of the town centre. There are cold pinxtos at the bar to pick yourself and warm pinxtos and tapas on the menu to order. Further in there is a proper restaurant serving more filling maincourses but I prefer the all day bar menu. We ordered some pan con tomato because the neighbouring table had some and it looked amazing. And it was. Of the cold pinxtos we had crab mayonnaise with smoked salmon, white fish with pickled pepper and fried quail’s egg and beef with tomato and mayonnaise. The marinated camembert (looks like a fish tartar) was the only one we didn’t like – the others were amazing! From the menu we ordered a crab and gulas (mini eels) gratin each (so so good!), a kebab with monkfish, king prawn and peppers and a mini toastie with the local sombrassada sausage and cheese. All great!

I like the fact that Tast is unpretentious, nice but not fancy and that the food is consistently good. Everything is well-cooked but simple and you can pop in for a proper dinner or just a glass of wine and nibbles. The wines, by the way, are very good and very reasonably priced!

Tast, C/ Unión, 2, 07001 Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Puro chef

Another afvourite is Puro Chef in Santa Catalina. Here they take pinxtos to gourmet level, serve nice tapas, proper maincourses and puddings. I never seem to be able to order anything other than the amazing gourmet pinxtos and a few tapas to share.

The jamon iberico croquetas were the best I have ever had (and I have sampled my fair share). They came out piping hot, were incredibly delicate and creamy and of course the flavour was spot on. How they were able to deep-fry anything so soft is a mystery to me! The amuse bouche was a creamy concoction with tuna and eggs served on sourdough. Of the gourmet pinxtos we both had the scallops with paprika purée which was delicious. Laura had the anchovies and lime toast full of salty goodness that she really liked and I couldn’t help but order the crispy suckling pig with Spanish sauce that I fell in love with last time. And it was just as delicious as I remembered. But the star of the evening was a brand new pinxtos the waitress recommended to us. Octopus with potato foam. It was utterly amazing. The foam was rich and light at the same time and had the most amazing flavour and hidden underneath were pieces of wonderful octopus.

Puro Chef, c/ Sant Magí 66, Palma De Mallorca, Spain

Postcard from Palma, Mallorca

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I spent the weekend in lovely Palma with 30C, clear blue skies and lounging by the pool mostly. My friend Laura had signed up for the half marathon and convinced me to keep her company for the weekend. And easy job, since I love Palma and wanted an excuse to go back. It’s such a pretty city, so before I start telling you about all the amazing pinxtos and tapas we had I thought I’d share some scenic photos with you.

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Dinner at Polpo, Soho

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A few weeks ago my Uni friend Lena was in town and suggested meeting up on a Monday night. We hadn’t seen each other since we were actually at Uni in Lund in Sweden, several years ago, so it was lovely to see her again!

We met after work looked in some shops on Regent Street and Carnaby Street and as we walked past Polpo on Beak Street, we thought why not go there for dinner! It was a 45 minute wait for a table which we spend in the basement bar having a drink and catching up.

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We were starving when we sat down and followed the waiter’s suggestion of three dishes each. It was actually too much food for us, but we enjoyed sampling it all.

The first dish (top picture) was a wonderful bruschetta with mozzarella, nectarine and pea shoots. Also the pizza bianco with prosciutto, rocket and parmesan (above) was very good! 
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We wanted something green to balance all the heavy food and without a simple green leaf salad on the menu we settled for the fennel salad with almonds which was really fresh!

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The cuttlefish risotto with ink was absolutely fantastic. The terrible picture (it was dark and I used my iPhone) doesn’t do it justice at all. That and the bruschetta were the highlights of the evening!

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The meatballs made from pork and beef in tomato sauce were soft and full of flavour and a reoccurring dish on the menu.

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The lamb stew with tomato was also nice, but not as nice as the other dishes.

Polpo describes itself as a Venetian bàcaro; a simple restaurant serving rustic, well-cooked food. And that’s exactly what they do! And they do it very well. It’s cosy, a bit noisy and a nice atmosphere and there are plenty branches to choose from all around London.

Polpo Soho, 41 Beak Street, London W1F 9SB

Brunch at Idala Gård, Skåne, Sweden

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September was filled with weddings for me. Two were in Britain and one at home in Sweden. All the weddings were great fun and when in Sweden for the weekend I wanted to do as much as possible. I got to have lunch and get ready for the wedding with four friends that later stayed over and the day after the wedding I went for an Italian themed brunch very locally, at Idala Gård.

The farm is very rustic and the restaurant’s interior is a mixture of old Swedish farmhouse furniture and Italian accents and the food has the same mixture of Italian and local influences.

The wines are all Italian so ordered a lovely Gavi di Gavi before filling our plates at the buffet. The cold spread was amazing, lots of nice charkuterie, pasta salads, hot and cold smoked salmon, eggs, even crayfish (love!), crostinis with rocket crème, Insalata Caprese with lovely mozzarella and so on.

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The cheeses were great too! I ate a lot but preferred the cold nibbly bits to the cooked more substantial food, but I can assure that was very nice too as my dad sampled it all. The only hot dish I tried was a lovely mash with pancetta and rosemary.

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There were three puddings to choose from so we chose one each and tried them all. The chocolate torte was dense and very chocolatey like it should be, the pannacotta was very smooth and the tiramisu almost perfect!

Strangely I was positively surprised. Although I have been here before – at an amazing wedding with great food for example – I didn’t expect the brunch to be this good. Maybe perhaps because brunches in general aren’t. But I am very happy Idala Gård is at my parents’ doorstep, I will definitely visit soon again.

Idala Gård, 231 91 Trelleborg, Sweden

Zuleika cake (chewy almond base with custard topping)

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When I last baked for the office, this cake from the Swedish baking bible Swedish Cakes and Cookies, was very popular. I have a similar recipe on the blog already, that I must say I prefer, but it is always fun to try different recipes and make comparisons.

This is still a very nice cake, it’s smaller than the other recipe and especially the custard tastes different, almost lighter actually.

Zuleika cake, serves 10

From Sju Sorters Kakor (the Swedish version of Swedish Cakes and Cookies).

Base:

100 g almonds, ground

3 egg whites

100 ml / 80 g caster sugar 

Topping:

3 egg yolks

75 ml / 60 g caster sugar

200 ml double cream

50 g butter

35 g almond slivers

BUtter a regular cake tin. Beat the egg whites stiff. Mix the ground almonds and sugar in a bowl and fold in the stiff egg whites. Spread out the mixture in the tin. Bake in the bottom of the oven, 160C (fan oven) for 30 minutes. Leave to cool. 

Mix egg yolks, sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan. Simmer until thick while stirring. Leave to cool a little. Pour over the base. Garnish with almond slivers. Best served really cold.

Sushi Samba, The City – revisited

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One of my dear American friends, Erin, moved back to her beloved US or A at the end of August. I was away most of that month and I missed her leaving do so to be able to say goodbye properly we squeezed in one last dinner with two more friends, before she left. Since we wanted to give Erin a proper send-off we booked a nice restaurant I have only been to once before, and the other girls not at all; Sushi Samba.

Last time I came here I had a great time and really enjoyed the evening although the level of the food was a bit inconsistent.

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We started our meal with a nice bottle of Sancerre and some plantain crisps and dip what we all enjoyed.

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The sashimi was lovely too. I had the same as last time; yellowtail sashimi with yuzu and black truffle oil, and it was just as nice this time.

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Amy is not a fan of sushi so had some nice beef incredibly crispy calamari – both very good.

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We also had some Peruvian corn as a side to share. The kernels are bigger, lighter in colour and a bit chewier than regular corn. The taste also differs; it’s slightly less sweet but still very nice.

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I couldn’t help but order the Sasa rolls, a real favourite of mine. They come two per portion so you don’t have to be greedy like me and have one portion to yourself. They are delicious but one per person is totally enough as they are quite filling! But absolutely lovely! Erin loved them too.

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The sushi came out last as it takes a while to make but it was definitely worth the wait. Last time here it was actually the sushi that was a bit disappointing but I clearly ordered the wrong thing or the chef was having a bad day, because the sushi we had this time was marvellous! My favourite was the Sushi Samba roll (left) but the Sao Paulo and Yoyogi rolls (all on the platter) were great too!

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It literally was our last evening together (sob) so we asked our kind waiter to take a photo of us to remember it by. And then we couldn’t help ourselves and took some silly selfies in front of the amazing lit-up tree on the terrace.

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Sushisamba, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Dinner at Evans & Peel Detective Agency, Earl’s Court

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This place has been around for a while, I know, but my first visit was this summer. Amidst holidays, heavy work loads, birthdays etc. four girls managed to get together for some food and drinks. The place really look like a hardboiled PI’s office in the 30s in America and when stepping into Evans & Peel Detective Agency you’re greeted by a receptionist to whom you present your case. While you wait for the detective to do some background checks you’re welcome to wait in the bar/restaurant – the hidden room behind the reception.

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The restaurant is dimly lit with candelabras on every table and the space gives off a prohibition era vibe. We started our evening with a bottle of prosecco, served in coupe glasses and then moved on to some food.

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Two of the girls wanted to be healthy and thought salad and chips would even each other out whereas me and Amy couldn’t resist the sliders. We had three to share, a beef each, which was the best, and one chicken so share which was quite good too but not as good as the beef. We also had some chips (very good) and a creamy mac ‘n cheese (yum). The salad actually looked really good with crispy leaves and corn on the cob.

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After dinner we settled on cocktails instead of pudding and we all had a different one. Mine was with elderflower and gin (I think), and it was delicious and not too sweet.

I really like this place; the 30s vibe goes through everything, the drinks are fun and different, the food good, the setting great and not to mention what a great idea it is!

Evans & Peel Detective Agency, 310c Earls Court Road W.8, London SW5 9BA