Chef Fernando Pérez Arellano is a culinary treasure on Mallorca. He is the only chef on the island to hold two Michelin stars for his gastronomical landmark, Zaranda. Flying high, it was a gamble for Chef Arellano to open a second restaurant on the island – it is a rule of the trade that the sequel often suffers in comparison.
In 2016, the chef risked it, and opened Baiben Brasserie, in Puerto Portals.
The concept of Baiben to combine a gastro-bar and brasserie is a trend we have seen amongst chefs, with a relatively low success rate. When Baiben opened in collaboration with cocktail aficionado Rafa Martin – we were dubious.
Thankfully, Baiben is not riding on the coattails of Zaranda-by-the-sea. International influences – including Lebanese, Latin American, Italian, Moroccan, and Mexican – quickly confirmed the intention here was more down-to-earth, making the art of cooking that made Chef Arellano famous less exclusive and more relaxed. Many dishes are designed for sharing … with your fingers no less! Fernando believes restaurant dining is gravitating toward less formal, more experiential, and we agree.
Among our sharing plates were two varieties of ceviche (one vegan), both bursting with zesty freshness, and vitello tonnato. Made here with veal tongue, it has a softer texture than some diners may expect, and is an acquired taste. The Italian parmigiana de melanzane accompanied by a small rocket salad, flame-cooked steak, and homemade lightly-smoked Bresaola with burratina cheese and salad were delightful.
Main courses include paella and rice dishes, homemade 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. The wine list includes interesting labels from Mallorca.
In Baiben, Chef Arellano has created the kind of place where we want to eat on the island, no pomp, no circumstance. Sophisticated world flavours respect the intellect of his signature style and his fans, and truthfully, who doesn’t love a chance to eat with their fingers sometimes!