Chef, Juan Portillo, is most definitely Ibiza born and bred. Hip and trendy, he has ditched traditional kitchen whites for a trendier black version; sporting a neatly trimmed goatee, the only thing missing is a pair of designer sunglasses.
But as head chef at one of Palma’s coolest restaurants, his real fashion is his food; the dishes he creates, strictly chilled – or at least created to strictly chill the diner, as Restaurant Senzone at the Hospes Maricel is a ‘true journey for the senses’.
Right on the waters edge in Palma’s Cas Catala district, Hospes Maricel mixes traditional Mallorcan with smart contemporary. High ceilings, polished marbles floors and minimalist décor only serve to enhance the feeling of space, leading the eye and the mind to the large terrace windows that open onto the sea. Relaxation is certainly the name of the game, solace and tranquillity the players.
But bringing this to the restaurant would be somewhat challenging, one would think. Not for Juan. His father, also a chef, taught him the basics, then working his way from Ibiza to Menorca and finally Palma, his creations are the epitome of Mediterranean cuisine. Working with nutritionists he has cleverly compiled an exceptional menu that revitalises the body and relaxes the senses, leaving the eyes and taste buds wide awake…. or alternatively, leading them into relaxation, depending on which menu is chosen.
Offering a diverse choice of dishes, Juan’s Mediterranean inspired innovations draw heavily on the islands fresh produce, combining first class quality products with outstanding presentation. The gastronomic menu offers riskier creations; modern cooking techniques enhance the flavours and aromas of the food and in Juan’s own words he ‘works the product’ to achieve the desired taste and texture. Expect anything fr om Red Snapper with Squid Sausage to Tartare of Duck with Fruit Salad and Cereals, and Banana Sushi for dessert.
Dining here is not to be rushed. Every moment should be savoured in this hedonistic world of calm. The understated textures and fabrics in the restaurant have been chosen carefully so as not to detract ones attention from the spectacular sea views, with soothing tones that enhance luminosity and encourage wellbeing. With this in mind, don’t be thinking that the Senzone experience has to end with lunch and dinner. Setting a new trend, Senzone offers a seven course breakfast journey that has been nominated “The Best Breakfast in the World”. From sweet and salted butters to delectable breads and pastries, two hours is the time recommended to partake in this gastronomic sensation which will awaken the palate whilst you gaze out onto the endless horizon.