A combination of dusky tones and chill out music mellowed by clever sound proofing makes Japo in Santa Catalina feel like a relaxed cocktail bar. Ceramic dishes bring a splashes of colour which compliments the dark wooden tables, grey walls and gunmetal seats.
Its identity has transformed over the last couple of years. Rather than a fast-food sushi bar, this well-positioned restaurant offers noteworthy fusion gastronomy.
Venezuelan Chef, Edu, tells us about his intensive training at Benihana as he artfully prepares sushi rolls and our selection of Nigiri. Chef Alberto García plates up with a flourish.The warm overhead lighting catches on the copper mugs holding stylish cutlery, which we ignore in favour of chopsticks.
We taste butterfish with black truffle, salmon with teriyaki sauce, smoked eel with foie gras and red tuna. The combinations are delicious; the smooth texture an indication of high quality produce. The presentation, complete with edible orchid, is beautiful.
Our attentive waiter recommends a bottle of Kensho. The cloudy Sake, made in Barcelona, has a delicate taste which doesn’t overpower the food. Not being Sake lovers, we opt for a bottle of Aix. We agree that the lightly perfumed dry Rosé from Provence pairs well with our selection of sushi rolls.
We sample California, Carpaccio and Crazy; each plate of colourful sushi comes with eight pieces. The Carpaccio roll consists of tender tuna topped with Black Angus and white truffle mayonnaise. Furthermore, talking of beef, there are also 100% Kobe burgers on the menu.
Their Tartares and Hawaiian-style Pokes seems like ideal dishes for hot summer days, while the ‘Nikundango’ is irresistible, whatever the weather. The latter consists of two balls of melt-in-your-mouth slow-cooked pork topped with spicy jalapeño chutney.
The generous desserts arrive in attractive glass cases. We share a warm chocolate coulant topped with sesame ice cream and passion fruit. The fresh fruits of the forest certainly add a luxurious touch. The second dessert of ‘ensaimada’ in tempura is an affectionate nod to Mallorca.
A steady flow of diners are drawn in by the three-course lunchtime menu (€14.90). El Japo is even busier in the evening as a result of its excellent location on one of Santa Catalina liveliest streets; as well as its emphasis on a creative dining experience.
Why eat here?
Excellent sushi in Palma’s trendiest neighbourhood.