On the far end of Fabrica, where the pedestrian street meets the up and coming Avenida Argentina, is the next opening from the lovely Italian family that have really made Fabrica their own. This time it is Enoteca. Opened six months ago, it is the collaboration between Michele of Bottega di Michele (featured in the July issue) and his son. Manuel opened his first restaurant Bianco e Rosso, with its film poster lined walls, seven years ago. Serving traditional Italian pizzas from a wood burning oven, pasta, meats and fish, it feels as though you are stepping back in time into a real Roman restaurant. And it’s not surprising as this 4th generation Italian family are celebrating 100 years of their family’s restaurants, started a century ago by their matriarch and grandmother just outside of Rome.
The latest offering Enoteca, named after the Italian for ‘wine cellar’ is a Mediterranean restaurant serving local, seasonal produce from a monthly changing menu. The atmosphere is convivial, with staff chattering in Italian and Spanish in the open kitchen. It is evident from the smiles and laughter that they are very happy in their jobs and this translates into the service. Nothing is too difficult for the wonderful Andrea, be it patiently listening to me attempt to order in my very bad Italian, to talking us through the amazing temperature controlled red wine cellar that features bottles from the best regions of Spain, Portugal and of course, Italy. He didn’t even look all that concerned when the imitable Anouska and I locked ourselves in to photograph and, if we’re being honest, look covetously at the selection on offer. And the fantastic service did not stop at Andrea, all of the staff that night treated not only us, but every table, as if we were the only people in the restaurant.
Soon after being seated Manuel came over to personally greet us and talk us through what he would recommend on the menu. Full of charm, with a warm and easy smile, it was plain to see why his staff are so happy with him. Not one to shun responsibility, he was working in both restaurants that night, splitting his time and self, without the hint of a sweat and it was clearly an ethos that is instilled in every member of staff. It is a genuinely work hard, play hard restaurant. IT’s a way of working stretching back ten decades, back to when he was pulling on his grandmother’s apron strings, learning his love of food and cooking in the kitchens of his family. I asked if he goes back often to Italy and he says he manages about once a year. He goes back to rest, but more importantly he goes back to pick up on the latest Italian trends in cooking, to gain inspiration from the latest ingredients and plates that are gracing the tables of his countrymen. He then brings them back with his own particular twist, making them truly his own. It was with genuine excitement and passion that Manuel talked us through what he had on the menu for us that night.
We were to start with Red Prawn tartar with flavours of the island, using Mallorca’s own famous Soller Prawns. The prawns are pinker than average, in fact they are almost red, and are caught by local fishermen from the feeding grounds of Soller and bring such a distinctive gastronomic delight that they have been lauded by many a celebrity chef as the best prawns in the world. And who were we to argue. They came beautiful dished up in two exquisite oyster shells and were served ceviche style, so for once I actually had no argument about them being overcooked! Despite the delicious Italian Meoru Albarino we were drinking, Anouska was actually upset that she took a sip after finishing the dish as she wanted to savour the flavour for as long as humanly possible. I made no such mistake!
For our second starter Manuel treated us to Slices of sashimi Black Angus beef with shavings of foie gras. Once again it was an inspired choice. Not only did the beef stand out beautifully against the plating, it was perfectly balanced by the foie gras it was served with. We continued with the beef theme for the main as we were treated to one of Manuel’s personal favourites, the Filet Mignon with fried potatoes and fresh truffles. So proud of the truffle are the team that they brought it out in a jar to show it off to us before the dish arrived. The aroma was pungent and spoke of hearty fare, countryside and log fires, all on a Summer’s day in an urban metropolis. Such a trick is no mean feat. When the dish arrived I literally had to wrestle it from Anouska’s hands to get a bite. It melted in the mouth.
But then came the main event, the piece de resistance – mother’s own linguine pasta with Soller Prawns, Beluga Caviar and a vodka and lemon sauce. To say it was sublime was an understatement. The linguine, literally made by Manuel’s mother, the other half of the chef duo that have produced this talented young man, every single day, was light and delicate. When oftentimes pasta can weigh you down, this lifted you instead, and that sauce…so delicate, so evocative, do downright delicious. This dish would be a perfect lunchtime indulgence which would still leave you able to carry on through the afternoon without needing a nap. However, it is equally sophisticated enough to stand its own on a date night when you are looking to impress. It is a true god of pastas. In fact, it is probably, and I will stand by this, the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. No hyperbole at all. If nothing else takes you to this delightful, friendly and charming restaurant, it should be this dish!
You could be mistaken for thinking that three Italian restaurants from the same family within 100 yards would be a bit of overkill, but you would be wrong! Each restaurant has a very different offering, vibe and menu. They are each unique. Though there is one chord that binds them. Family.
C/Fábrica, 3, Palma De Mallorca, Spain
Tel: +34 871 53 13 72
Mon -12-16 and 18-23:45
Tue – closed
Wed – 18-23:45
Thur – 18-23:45
Fri, Sat, Sun – 12-16 and 18-23:45
Review by Victoria Pearce
Photos Credit: Anouska Foss