Positioned at the chi-chier end of Palma’s Can Pere Antoni beach, with uninterrupted views along the strip of golden sand all the way to the capital’s majestic sandstone cathedral, the Assaona beach club certainly occupies a prime piece of waterfront real estate.
We visit on a beautiful afternoon in early summer, a few wisps of high cloud softening the Mallorcan sun, a light sea breeze cooling the skin. Assaona’s beach club vibe is similarly subtle, with bamboo, natural woods and adobe-style walls combining with a tastefully muted palette of taupe and greys. The low throb of DJ-provided chill-out tunes sets the mood.
Overlooking bodies bronzing in the sun or seeking shade under straw tiki-style parasols, we’re sat a low wicker seats, which make the circular table feel a little higher than normal – to bring you closer to your food? After the obligatory bread and olives opener, we are presented with starters a ceviche and a tuna tartare.
The ceviche comprises delicate chunks of white fish, whose marinade straddles both sour and creamy tones with aplomb. It was accompanied by a playful spiral of sweet potato puree, which had a texture that was startlingly velvety. The tuna tartare took a very different approach, combining Asian flavours of soy sauce and sesame to give the fish a rich and salty character; mimicking green caviar, wasabi pearls added a pleasing pop and hit of heat.
Next up was the Mediterranean staple of grilled octopus, an elegantly presented tentacle simply dressed with padron peppers and paprika mayo. It tasted fresh and was firm on the tooth, the lively spice of the sauce balancing the creaminess of the meat. Another dish was grilled rice with cuttlefish, which arrived concealed under a dome of butter foam. The first mouthful was mixture of the familiar (sweet yet earthy tomatoes and crispy paella rice) and the unplaceable – somewhere between crustaceous and herbaceous. The mystery was revealed as plankton, one of gastronomy’s newer trends, and a taste for which we had acquired by the second mouthful.
One of the desserts arrived in the form of apple strudel, accompanied by a rich custard and buttery crumble, an odd addition to a beach club menu, perhaps, but one undoubted popular with northern European diners. The second was a panna cotta, its tropical mix of coconut and passion fruit certainly more fitting of a sunny beach, and a tasty closer.
Assaona comes from the Mallorquin word ‘to season’, and it is an apt name for an establishment whose gastronomy isn’t afraid of robust flavours. While some restaurants rely on their setting to pull in the crowds – so less attention is paid to what comes out the kitchen – here they combine a flavourful and innovative menu that lives up to their great location.
Why eat here?
A winning combination of beachfront setting, low-key beach club vibe, and quality cuisine.