While occupying the space vacated by the Port Blanc restaurant, Arallo brings something altogether new to Palma’s Moll Vell marina. Gone are the glass beaded dome chandeliers and studded white leather, and in its place a decor – and vibe – that is distinctly more laid-back.
Staff dressed in sailor stripes usher us to a chunky wooden table, carved with serial numbers suggestive of marine flotsam and adorned with coconut husk lanterns; it conjures up what one might describe as ‘castaway chic’. Devised by acclaimed designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the theme contrasts playfully with the shimmering row of immaculate yachts the Arallo’s sun-dappled terrace directly overlooks.
Presented with the menu it was hard to know where to begin – traditional sections have been jettisoned for a freewheeling list of dishes. Still, the scallops seemed like a good place to start…and we weren’t disappointed. Best slurped right from the shell, a citrusy sweet-and-sour zing provided the perfect contrast to the plump creamy flesh; subtle notes of the deep were evoked by a sprig of codium algae.
Next up was slow-roasted suckling pig on a bed of smushed avocado, squeezed over with orange and swirled together at the table into a pork-infused guacamole. A colourful pouch spilt forth tortillas whose smell had the delicious and earthy warmth that only the maize variety possess. Rolled together the dish proved you should never underestimate the humble taco.
The tuna tartar was a chive-topped islet surrounded by tomato water, and with a subtlety of flavour that was testimony to the freshness of the ingredients. However, the following grilled horse mackerel with mashed potato only confirmed the taste of this strong, oily fish can be a little overpowering. Recovery came in the form of steamed mussels and cauliflower in homemade kimchi sauce, a simple but delightful dish that had me reaching for bread to soak up the remnants.
The almost dizzyingly eclectic menu leans heavily towards seafood, though with red meat eaters also well catered to; the 12-hour oven-braised beef rib was a perfect mix of tender and fibrous, while steak tartar served over grilled bone marrow will certainly satisfy the most carnivorous of appetites. Also if you’re not feeling too spendy, the price-to-quality ratio is pretty good too.
At its heart it is Galician cooking, though often pulled in unexpected directions – or contaminada as they put it – by global influences that range from Indian to South American to Scandinavian. The Amicalia Group behind the restaurant already boasts Michelin star credentials, with their Alborada restaurant in A Coruña, where the first of the three Arallo restaurants was also opened in 2016 (the third being in Madrid).
And with their latest opening, the chef behind the concept, Iván Domínguez, has brought to the island a class of top-quality fusion cuisine that is as fun as it is tasty, and as adventurous as it is accessible. To round off the experience, head upstairs to the restaurant’s rooftop bar, 49 Steps, offering views that sweep from the iconic cathedral opposite, across the marina’s forest of masts, to Bellver castle perched dramatically on its pine-clad hilltop.
Why eat here?
Inventive but unpretentious food in a relaxed waterfront setting.