It’s unusual for TripAdvisor to name a small hotel restaurant as their number one on Mallorca, but Hotel Salvia’s restaurant achieved this in June 2016. Success on TripAdvisor can be a double-edged sword: suddenly the world wanted to eat there and, as Patrick Kearney told us when abcMallorca visited, the phone never stopped ringing. With only 30 covers (including hotel guests), many callers were disappointed.
Patrick and his Croatian partner Sasha have run this seven-suite seasonal hotel since 2010. An elegant 19th-century mansion, hidden away where two narrow lanes meet in Sóller, it’s tranquil, romantic (adults only), and attracts mainly British clients – although Germans, Scandinavians, and Americans also appreciate its charms. Sixty per cent of business is repeat.
In fine weather, the restaurant offers separate lunch and dinner à la carte menus (dinner is more formal in style) on the shaded cobbled terrace. The menus change three times during the season. You eat looking at the glorious garden, with the magnificent Tramuntana mountains beyond.
German chef Martin Winkler moved here this year from Es Passeig in the port, and his cuisine is one of the reasons ratings soared. He studied nutrition – evident in the balance of his healthy but delicious dishes. Fresh produce is delivered daily and he sources the best-quality meats.
After the chef’s invitation shot of soup, we tried several starters. Martin makes the savoury ice creams here: the first – in the dish Burratina – was basil balsamic (wow!), accompanying creamy buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, rocket, and caramelized olives. Another stand-out starter was the crispy Asian duck wonton with sesame, mango, mangetout, bean sprouts, and passion fruit and chili ice cream. Seared scallops on a chicory salad with three tastes of Sóller oranges (and a touch of chili) burst with flavour. We also tried a new starter of suckling pig terrine with red onion, apple balls, and honey and Dijon mustard ice cream. Foams and pickled vegetables feature successfully in Martin’s cuisine.
To the mains: a plump perfectly cooked piece of negrito – poached in coconut milk, ginger, and lemongrass – came with glass noodles, Asian veg and spicy wasabi nuts.
Our Argentinian videographer – like us – appreciated the quality of the meat dishes, including fillet of beef and lamb tenderloin (both from New Zealand).
Save space for dessert. Ours were a refreshing strawberry gazpacho with cava and coconut parfait (on both lunch and dinner menus) and a yummy dark chocolate mousse with crumble, cherries and port wine foam, layered in a flowerpot (topped with an edible flower).
Drinks include a decent choice of Mallorcan wines, and tempting cocktails: a G&T made from Sóller Cabraboc gin (with juniper berries and a fragrant sprig of rosemary) will put a song in your heart. And its refrain? Must come back to try the new menu soon …
Restaurant reservations by email only.
Lunch is served daily except Monday; dinner daily except Monday and Thursday. The hotel is closed from the end of October, reopening in time for Easter.