“You are what you share,” reads the menu at Neni, the large indoor-outdoor restaurant located in the attractive yet oddly named, Bikini Island and Mountain Hotel in Port de Sóller. The food takes inspiration from Israeli, Lebanese, and Mediterranean cuisines, with purposeful adaptions to Mallorcan ingredients. With its woven chairs, macramé wall hangings and planters, Moroccan inspired dishware and pops of green tiling, Neni has a relaxed, bohemian vibe but with a sophisticated style.
The meal opens with a small dish of labneh, served with a touch of olive oil and fresh spices, along with a basket of spongy pita bread and local olives. Rather than order a la carte off the menu, we decided on, “The Best of Neni,” a chef’s selection of mezze, main courses, and desserts, which offered an ideal selection of plates from which to try. Soon after ordering, two, three-tiered trays arrived bearing colourful and flavourful treats such as beetroot horseradish, cigars – filo dough filled with either ground beef, well spiced but a bit dry, or spinach; Sakuska, a house speciality spread of oven roasted bell pepper, tomatoes, and aubergine with walnuts and rocket salad; and popcorn falafel with lime and sesame dip, a light and slightly crunchy falafel, with none of the heaviness that often comes with it. The Datterini tomatoes with roasted aubergine was another hit. Served with a just boiled egg and tahini, the creamy mix worked so well, like a mini tagine.
With so many tasty dips and spreads, including the special, Neni homemade humus, it would be nice to have a selection sliced veg along with the pita, especially for the non-gluten eaters. A nod to Mallorca’s citrus shone through in the main courses. The sea bream with peas and asparagus offered tiny bits of lemon confit that were a burst of flavour, while the roasted octopus with fennel, orange, blood orange, and potatoes had a touch of honey sweetness but not overwhelmingly so. For dessert, the Knafeh, a recipe from the old city of Jerusalem had an interesting tanginess. But it was the Sesam that was the more interesting – a nutty, sweet combination of halva, raw tahini, roasted sesame and muscovado ice cream.
It is not easy for hotel restaurants in popular tourist destinations, like Mallorca, to find the right balance to attract local residents as well as their guests, but Neni has found the secret, and it brings a refreshing addition to the Port de Sóller dining scene.
Why eat here?
For the ultra-cool decor, luminous port views, warm friendly service and delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.
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