An edgy exterior marked by striking graffiti has occasionally led Vandal to be mistaken for a night club. Inside this Santa Catalina restaurant in Palma, corrugated metal walls, exposed piping, metallic curtains and a moody palette of red and blacks perpetuates an urban vibe. Chef, Bernabé Caravotta, is keen for the atmosphere to be informal, however, his calibre of cooking guarantees a sophisticated experience.
Caravotta received top training while working at Copenhagen’s ‘Noma’, Japan’s ‘Momiji’ and France’s ‘Mirazur’. The Argentine of Italian descent arrived on the island in 2007 and became the head chef at Forn Projects, overseeing the menus for the popular Palma-based restaurants Sant Joan, Koa and Ombu.
At Vandal, he’s joined by the sommelier Sebastián Pérez and also counts on the expertise of mixologist, Matías Iriarte. The marriage of dishes with their respective beverages is an outstanding feature on Vandal’s menu; with cocktails, wines and beers chosen to enhance each mouthful.
Caravotta wants to avoid tags. “We don’t call them Tapas,” he says, about the dishes he refers to in Spanish as ‘mouthfuls’, or the larger plates designed with sharing in mind. This isn’t a place for hearty, filling mains, but a space to experiment with new flavours you may not have tried before.
We begin with a ceviche cone with coconut foam, which arrives playfully presented in the form of an ice-cream. The tender sea bass and langoustine combine exquisitely with lime, sweet mango and avocado; the Vino Sour cocktail proves an excellent accompaniment and comes in a beautiful mini cocktail glass with delicate petals decorating it. We follow with Japanese roasted glazed eel with foie gras on potato ‘causa’, a traditional Peruvian ingredient. The art and devotion behind each creation inspire you to connect with the taste and texture of each component.
The hake with fresh pil-pil herbs demonstrates Caravotta’s passion for getting the best out of each product. Left to soak for an hour, vacuum cooked á la sous-vide and then finished in a carbon oven, results in the fish acquiring a firm texture. Drops of kalamata emulsion and subtle seaweed garnish complete this visually uplifting dish.
We can’t resist ordering the ‘Childhood Feelings’ desert. The ball of candy floss arrives with a dollop of ice-cream, caramel popcorn, chocolate sprinkles and crackling candy snaps. For those less nostalgic for the treats of their childhood, we highly recommend the deliciously creamy Cristal Cheesecake.
Why eat here?
To indulge in exquisite flavours from around the world in an urban yet glamorous setting.