Tomeu Caldentey – the first Mallorcan chef on the island to gain a Michelin star for his cuisine (in 2004) – has re-opened his Taronja Negre restaurant in Sant Llorenç (near Manacor), where it originally shared premises with the Michelin-starred Bou Restaurant.
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Taronja Negre (meaning ‘black orange’) has returned to its former characterful old stone mill home, but offering a new culinary concept. When we visited, every table was full. Eating here is all about fun, innovation, and flavourful, reasonably priced but high-quality dishes, made for sharing.
A spiral staircase leads up to the dining room, where a large window offers views of chefs working in the kitchen. The concept is informal: cutlery is presented in a small pot on each table, and the menu is handwritten on a notepad, on which you note the dishes you want to order. This piece of paper becomes your bill at the end of your lunch or dinner. Simple, but efficient.
In 2004 chef/patron Tomeu Caldentey became the island’s first Mallorcan chef to gain a Michelin star. Here we review his restaurant’s Bou Concept menu. […] Restaurant Bou, Sa Coma
Dishes (which change regularly) come under categories including fish, fondue, shabu-shabu, a traditional dish, accompaniments, and desserts. There’s always a ‘pizzaïmada’. Is it a pizza? Is it an ‘ensaïmada’? It’s somewhere in between – and surprisingly good, with a delicious crispy base that melts in the mouth. Ours was topped with ham, cheese from Mahon, and rocket.
Diners have some hands-on fun too, when choosing a fondue or shabu-shabu dish. The latter is a Japanese concept whereby diners cook their food in a pot of simmering broth, at the table. Long tongs are provided and it doesn’t take long to master the technique. If things get a little messy, nobody minds; the tablecloths are covered with a disposable runner, just in case . . .
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The ‘orbegozo’ is also fun: a trolley made to look like an old stove, which a chef periodically wheels through the restaurant, to tempt you. We indulged in a pot of tender plump mussels with salsa verde, cooked alongside our table. They were perfect with the house focaccia, which we spread with Taronja Negre’s signature fluffy orange-and-black-olive-flavoured mayonnaise.
Cheese-lovers can choose from a good selection presented on another smile-inducing custom-made trolley. You sense that Tomeu and his team had a lot of fun planning the new-concept Taronja Negre.
Drinks are reasonably priced. A cava, or their own-recipe sangria, costs 4,50 euros. Wines range from 3,50 to 4,50 euros a glass; there’s no list, but the wines were carefully selected by the award-winning Manuel Pérez (Es Moli d’en Bou’s maître d’ and sommelier) and he seems to have catered for most tastes.
Taronja Negre offers a different eating-out experience that combines good food with a relaxed ambience, friendly service, and some fun. It’s great for a group of friends but, however many at your table, remember that each dish is for sharing. Otherwise you could order more than you can comfortably eat!