First impressions are the most important, right? And the first one here is a warm Irish welcome from Patricia, the wife of German chef/patron Sebastian Pasch. This vivacious woman from Offaly, in the heart of Ireland, is one of those front-of-house characters who make a restaurant experience particularly memorable. Patricia takes all the food orders from customers, says goodbye to each of them as they leave after their meal, and maintains a professional eye over everything.
English, Spanish, German
Sebastian is located in an 18th-century stone-built former stable, renovated to create this charming restaurant. We ate in the 16-cover dining room: a cosy candlelit space with a beamed ceiling and attractive stone walls, decorated with cheerful surrealist paintings by Deià artist Arturo Rhodes. For alfresco dining there’s seating for 36 on the covered front terrace.
The à la carte menu changes every three months, offering Mediterranean cuisine (with some Asian hints) based on fresh, locally grown seasonal products. There’s also a menu of specials. After dropping the couple’s teenage children at school in the mornings, Sebastian heads to Palma’s Mercat de l’Olivar; although he has trusted suppliers for most produce, he also likes to see what’s available on the market stalls.
There were four of us on this mission so, after a delicious complimentary appetizer of tuna with avocado and tomato, we shared several dishes to enable us to taste a variety. First, two starters from the specials menu: pan-fried scallops with sugar peas, kumquats and a blood orange emulsion, and a very good version of the classic Italian veal dish ‘vitello tonato’, served with tuna tartar and capers. From the à la carte starters – of which there is a decent selection – we ate pan-fried foie gras with raspberries, and Sebastian’s very popular lobster ravioli served with green asparagus spears. We enjoyed them all, but would have liked a larger portion of the scallop dish.
Following the pattern of the starters, we had both main courses from the specials menu: a perfectly cooked piece of hake topped with sautéed fig – an inspired pairing – with Asian hints of miso sauce and black ginger rice, and succulent beef tenderloin with garden vegetables (colourful and cooked to retain just the right degree of crispness) and herb purée. The first of our two main courses from the à la carte menu was a medallion of monkfish ‘tandoori’ with pea purée and lemongrass-infused vegetables, garnished with a violet-potato crisp. We couldn’t fault the dish’s execution but it was our least favourite of the evening – probably because it transpired that none of us was really keen on monkfish anyway!
We ended the savoury part of our dinner with rack of lamb with a honey and rosemary crust and green beans. Succulent and flavourful, it was easy to understand why it’s become a house speciality. Two portions sizes are offered.
Of the three desserts we tried we had two favourites: a superior fresh-tasting lemon meringue tartlet served with basil ice cream – number one for us – and the indulgent crème brûlée of Baileys and marinated cherries.
Wines here are mainly from the Peninsula and Mallorca, with a small showing from France, and a wine from Formentera.
The combination of Sebastian’s excellent cuisine (up there with some of the best on the island), the lovely Deià location, and Patricia and her service team, is a hugely successful one. It’s not really surprising. Patricia used to work at the famous 2-Michelin-star Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire, England, before moving to Mallorca to El Olivo, when it had a star, at La Residencia Hotel (then owned by Virgin).
She came to work for Sebastian and – with his culinary talent and her professional experience, business brain, and personality – the restaurant soon began to build a good reputation and loyal clientele who return year after year. And yes, dear reader, she married him. Patricia and Sebastian celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this October, not long after the restaurant notches up its 21st year in business. First impressions are also lasting ones . . .
Sebastian is open for dinner only, every night except Wednesday. It is usually open from March to the end of October.