Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Romantics

That wonderful old curmudgeon, Michael Winner, did at least raise the profile of the Mallorcan restaurant during his attendance at the Lloyd-Webber shindig a couple of weeks or so back and then in his superbly acerbic "Winner's Dinners" column. He did also mention La Residencia in Deia, formerly Richard Branson's humble inn for the filthy rich. And La Residencia is the connection today, as are restaurants. Not those of the west coast but those of the northern bit around Alcúdia and Pollensa. Or to be more accurate, one restaurant.

It would be unfair to say that the resorts themselves do not have some top restaurants, as they do exist, but it is probably also fair to say that there is perhaps more atmosphere, or atmosphere of a different sort at any rate, away from the resorts and into the towns or in the country; restaurants where the atmosphere can truly be described as "romantic", rather than this tag being applied too willy-nilly to any eating-house that just happens to be within a partial view of the sea. To take just three examples: La Terraza at Alcanada which sits right on top of the sea in this quiet mini-resortette appended to one end of Puerto Alcúdia; Es Turó, just before Santa Margalida, with its robust and highly impressive antiquity; and L'Aup, which exists in a sort of Pollensa triangle, not anywhere in particular on the turning to Cala San Vicente but which boasts what can, with total justification, be advertised as a "romantic" terrace.

And it is L'Aup that is the focus as it so happens I was there yesterday to take photos of the place. There are worse things in life than to be granted the opportunity to photograph a restaurant with so many photogenic features, and one of the results is above.

L'Aup is a place that has long enjoyed a healthy reputation, not only for its attractiveness but also its cuisine. The previous owner-chef, José, took great pride in his scrapbook with pieces from gastronomy guides recommending the restaurant. That he has moved on is to in no way diminish the reputation. And here I come to that connection. By contrast to José who seemed in a permanent state of stress, the new owner-chef Damian seems decidedly laid-back, but you don't get his sort of CV by not putting in the hard yards (assuming one can perform hard yards in a kitchen, which you probably can't). Not only was he at La Residencia, he was also at London's Dorchester, and so now L'Aup is under his command and continuing the tradition of the restaurant's famed grill and wood oven while offering also a market cuisine with a Mediterranean flair.

Perhaps one of these days, Michael Winner might deign to visit the north of Mallorca. But if not, I am quite prepared, for a vast fee, to do his reviews for him. Problem is I'm not a curmudgeon. Yet.

L'Aup is on the turning to Cala San Vicente on the Carretera Pollensa-Puerto Pollensa. Closed Mondays. Tel: 971 532 606.

QUIZ: Yesterday - Dennis Potter. Today's title - who is widely credited as having been a founder of the "new romantic" movement and had his own hits, e.g. "Fade To Grey"?


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