The restaurant Tristán used to reign supreme in Puerto Portals, having the port’s best waterfront location and renowned German chef Gerhard Schwaiger in the kitchen. When it closed in 2015, the empty building looked increasingly forlorn.
Baiben Puerto Portals
English, Spanish & German
Today, it has a vibrant new look and ambience, thanks to Fernando Pérez Arellano (of 2-Michelin-starred Zaranda) who opened Baiben here in Autumn 2016. He’d thought about locating his second restaurant on the Peninsula, perhaps in his home city Madrid. Unexpectedly able to have this prime island address, he grabbed the opportunity: “Puerto Portals is Mallorca’s number one location and this corner is the number one place to be,” Fernando says.
Baiben is not Zaranda-by-the-sea but a new concept combining gastro-bar and brasserie. BrassBaiben opened first, in conjunction with cocktail supremo Rafa Martin – owner of BrassClub in Palma. Open all year and with a large al fresco terrace for fine weather (and views of chefs working in the kitchen), the smart BrassBaiben offers a Cocktails & Cook’s Tales menu.
We tried Baiben Brasserie shortly after opening. International influences – including Lebanese, Latin American, Italian, Moroccan, and Mexican – abound on the menu. Many dishes are designed for sharing … and even eating with fingers; Fernando believes there’s a growing tendency towards informal and entertaining eating out.
Among our sharing plates were two varieties of ceviche (one vegan), both bursting with zesty freshness, and ‘vitello tonnato’ – made here with veal tongue, which has a softer texture than some diners may expect (or like). Of the other shared dishes we tried, we were unanimous in praising the spicy tuna Mexican crispy ‘flutes’ and crispy mini tacos. Individually, we chose the Italian ‘parmigiana de melanzane’ accompanied by a small rocket salad, flame-cooked steak, and home-made lightly smoked Bresaola with burratina cheese and salad – finding the beef more like carpaccio than Lombardy’s traditional air-dried Bresaola.
Main courses include paella and rice dishes, home-made pastas, and flame-cooked fish and premium meats (including Black Angus from Nebraska, Chilean Wagyu beef, and Iberian pork). The international influences continue in the desserts, which include two for sharing … or not, if you’re a fiend for apple tarte tatin with ice cream! The huge wine choice includes labels from Mallorca.
Baiben ticks the boxes for eating out with family and friends in glamorous Puerto Portals. Fresh, fun, and friendly, its buzzy ambience has finally laid the ghost of Tristán to rest. Long live Baiben!