Palma by Day: Tast, Sobrasada and A Supermarket Basement
…So you’ve seen what we got up to by night in Palma – what did we do by day, other than sunbathe on the beach and cool off in the sea?
Palma was bloody hot. So hot, that you really had to know of a place to relax in the shade during mid-afternoon – 35 degree heat is not conducive to ‘strolling’, ‘ambling’, ‘bimbling’ or ‘pottering’ in any way. Luckily, we discovered Tast early on.
As it’s a kind-of-chain (there are more than one), you’re not getting anything massively authentic, but it hit the nail on the head in every way – great food, friendly staff and (vitally) air conditioning. Solo or groups, benches or tables, just drinks, or drinks and food; all were welcome to stay awhile in the calm and cool of the brick and steel-piped bar. For lunch: Croquetas made with Jamon and Manchego or Bacalao and Potato, with a Romesco-esque sauce on the side. Seared Cod in a Honey Mayonnaise. Fried Cheese with Black Cherry. Rich, unctuous Oxtail and Onion, in bite-sized portions. To drink: fountain-cool Paulaner Helles, which was odd enough in itself but so crisp and so clean and so refreshing you couldn’t stop at one…
Pintxos (which we are now totally au fait with) line the counter, crouching under hams and beer fonts, and the staff are seen hard at work chopping, frying, shouting, singing, sweating, slicing and pushing out plate after plate from the hot kitchen onto the cool steel server; only pausing to sip a glass of water and admire the fact that their little masterpieces are disappearing as fast as they can assemble them.
If it’s cool enough, you can stroll about with an Empanada, which are little shortcrust pies filled with Fish, Meat (for example, ground lamb and peas), vegetables, or – our favourite – Chicken and Sobrasada. Surprisingly filling, they should have really been a lunch option but we soon got into the habit of having one mid-morning – as the myriad of bakeries that line the streets of Palma are open then – and that would put us through until a late lunch.
Equally ruinous are Ensaimadas – spirals of airy pastry, doused in lick-your-lips white sugar, which are fantastic with a sharp, hot coffee, and Cocas (Coques), which I guess are like a Bruschetta. Sheets of Cocas sit on the counters of bakeries and you just buy them by the slice; a crisp, thin dough base topped with Green Pepper, Onion, Tomato and Garlic. Yep, there’s snacks-a-plenty.
Hunting for beer, I got a tip-off that one place to look was the basement of El Corte Ingles, the well-known department store. Seeing as though it was near our bus stop, I ambled down into the basement – only to be faced with a huge food court (the fish section in particular was eye-opening) and a decent array of Spanish and German beer.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed by my haul of ‘ones I have not seen before‘. Mahou Negra (5.5%abv) was the most interesting; loads of Toffee and Caramel on the nose, a light start to the body which dried out quickly with a sudden rush of molasses and sugar. More Alt-esque than simple dark lager, it was entirely pleasant and, honestly, I wish I’d bought more.
Cruzcampo Reserva (6.4%abv) did a decent impression of a strong golden ale – a lasting, thick white head and a malt-biscuit, rounded, smooth body which didn’t particularly hide a hit of warming alcohol at the end of the sip…but It wasn’t the beer for summer months.
Estrella Damm Alsace-Style Beer was again clean, light and devoid of any real character, as Damm Weiss was undrinkable due to being oxidised to high heaven. Crave something different all you like, but I quickly learned there was much to be gained from sticking to what you know.
If there’s one food that I will remember though, it’s Sobrasada. Mentioned before, it’s basically a spreadable, slightly sweeter Chorizo, and finds its way into loads of dishes. Minced Pork, Fat, Paprika and Salt mingle within the skin and hang ominously from the rafters of delis and butchers, filling the air with salty, Porcine goodness and making you rue the laws on bringing meat goods back into the UK with you. Hot or Mild. Regular pig or Pata Negro. A cornucopia of sizes. The choice is yours, but the taste of Sobrasada is something I’m missing already.
Posted on 05/07/2012, in Uncategorized and tagged Cruzcampo Reserva, Eating in Palma, Empanadas, Ensaimades, Mahou, Mallorca, Palma, Restaurants in Palma, Sobrasada, Tapas, Tast. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.