The ‘one to watch’ right now on the island is a Mallorcan chef´s chef, the Oliu proprietor and chef Joan Porcel. When exhausted restaurateurs come to Mallorca for a respite from hectic kitchens in Paris and London, they make a reservation at Oliu.
The restaurant is located in an unassuming former olive press, the Son Orlandis tafona, on the road between Andratx and Port d´Andratx. In fine weather you can dine on the open terrace surrounded by a typical Mediterranean garden and the low-lying mountains of Andratx. The restaurant decor is smart and contemporary, with exposed stone walls, cream-painted ceiling and beams, as well as comfortable dining chairs. The kitchen – open to view – reveals a young team that are veteran colleagues and work together seamlessly.
Chef Joan’s secret ingredient? It is hiding in plain sight. A fine Mallorcan Treurer de Algaida olive oil features heavily on his menu, proving you can reinvent the wheel. His use of olive oil is unprecedented; pearls, biscuits, even ice-cream, all integrate the island staple. It is a current trend in Mallorca to do olive oil ’tastings‘ but they seem rudimentary in comparison to Oliu’s imaginative creations.
We sampled tasters from each menu section, starting with the innovative ’mini airbags‘ – puffs of thin bread dough are filled with melted cheese and topped with Joan’s own pearls of olive oil. Another excellent starter marries white asparagus with melt-in-the-mouth foie and a vinaigrette made from calçots – the charred outer leaves of leeks – giving a subtle smoky taste to the dish.
Fish dishes on the menu include scallops with egg yolk truffles and almond cream and the white tuna Baobab. It was one of the best tuna dishes we´ve ever eaten, and accompanied by a confit baby turnip (delicious). Slices of pork fillet on a light flaky pastry were topped with morsels of sobrasada, honey and pine nuts. Sautéed vegetables and crispy straw potatoes completed the dish.
For postre? Made from olive oil, vanilla and dark chocolate ice-creams are a thing of beauty to see and a revelation to eat.