The old Palma district of Sa Gerreria was, for a period, a place best avoided. How things have changed: thanks to a 21st-century multi-million euro investment, the ‘barrio’ has seen urban, social, and economic improvements. Today, co-working trendy designers, architects, and other creative types have replaced the artisan workers and merchants of past centuries.
Bocalto opened here in May 2016, located between the architecturally distinctive Plaça de Quadrado and the justice courts. Bartolomé Gual co-owns the restaurant with the proprietor of the nearby Quina Creu.
Bocalto has space for 58 diners in different areas. Soundproofing tiles cover the high ceiling to deaden the sound within this large and attractive light-filled space. A bar area with vintage-style velour-covered sofas is perfect for a pre-meal drink. You’re likely to be amongst a 50/50 mix of locals and foreigners.
The cuisine is Mediterranean with international touches. Chef Álvaro del Campo uses first-quality produce, creating dishes where the main ingredients speak for themselves. After his training, the Seville-born chef further developed his skills at Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli. He went on to work at Seville’s La Azotea and, before Bocalto, worked at Forn de Sant Joan in Palma.
The weekly-changing well-priced lunch menu includes bread, appetizer, a drink, and coffee. The à la carte menu changes seasonally and, during July and August 2016, Bocalto also offered a good-value Arabic Culinary Experience three-course menu with wine pairing (dinner only, Mondays to Saturdays).
We went for lunch and tried some à la carte dishes. After some warm focaccia bread with a tasty tomato dip, we shared starter portions of langoustine ‘croquetas’ and a zingy sea bass ceviche. A promising start.
There’s also a section of dishes designed to be shared. From these we nibbled delicious chickpea falafals with yogurt and radish salad. Other sharing plates include glazed pork belly burgers with bao bread; tempura prawns with tonkatsu sauce, and goat’s cheese and quince lollipops with pepper jam.
We tried two mains: firstly, what was billed (in English) as grilled sea bass. Served with celeriac purée, pine nuts, spinach and portobello mushrooms, it was delicious but the texture was unlike ‘lubina’. A look at the Spanish menu revealed it was ‘corvina’ – which has a different texture to ‘lubina’ but translates as sea bass in English. The filleted duck breast (with red quinoa, pumpkin sauce, and shimeji mushrooms) may be served too pink for some tastes, so just ask if you’d like it cooked a little more.
Finally we had a dessert billed as tropical cheesecake – a coconut-and-passion-fruit confection that perfectly concluded our lunch. Bocalto scores a bonus point for serving Illy coffee – another reason to visit this Sa Gerreria gem.
Bocalto is closed on Sundays and, during August, also closes on Saturday night.