They say first impressions count and Fulla D’Ostra have certainly taken this in to consideration. What was once a pleasant café has been transformed by the team from Barcelona into a delightfully elegant restaurant serving up food that would not look out of place in a Michelin starred restaurant.
Brainchild of Chef Hector Marceló and founding partner Claudio Gutman, this Barcelona institution upped sticks and moved over to Palma to join Mallorca’s gastronomic revolution on one hot July day in 2017. Deciding that they wanted premises large enough to seat 50 out front but still have enough room for the theatre behind the scenes, they found the perfect venue. The Fulla D’Ostra team moved into their new premises on Carrer de Cotoner, a quiet street between Carrer de San Magin and the market in the heart of Santa Catalina and they have not looked back.
Fulla D’Ostra translates simply as Oyster Leaf and is named after this sea-side growing edible herb that tastes surprisingly like its namesake, the oyster. It is not just the surprising taste that has inspired the name, but the musical way that it rolls off the tongue, leaving two very memorable impressions. And this is not the only musical element to the team at the restaurant. Fulla D’Ostra and the friendship and partnership between the two leading men is a wonderful marriage of arts. Those of the culinary and the musical arts. Hector is very much the conductor behind the scenes, creating the masterpieces that arrive beautifully presented at our white cloaked table. Whilst Claudio, himself an opera singer, helps create the atmosphere with carefully chosen pieces of music that range from the quiet drama of Ennio Morricone’s The Mission to the more upbeat strains of swing jazz courtesy of prominent musician Count Baise. Each piece is specifically chosen for the atmosphere it creates and the senses it conjures.
The final member of the team is the delightful Martha, sister of Claudio and the veritable face of Fulla D’Ostra. Her welcome to us and all of her other guests that evening was full of enthusiasm and happiness. You can see that she has had a strong hand in the design of the restaurant which is unrecognisable from its former self thanks to Martha and the designer and artist Paca Iglesias. It exudes class and sophistication, as does the whole international team who looked after us that evening.
Once the scene had been set by the décor, music and a delicious Mallorquian cocktail, it was time to move on to the main show. The food. And we were not disappointed. Hector has managed to create a menu that is short in length but packs a serious punch when it comes to depth of flavours and intrigue. Much like Oyster Leaf itself, there is a delight around every corner.
We asked for Hector’s recommendations and he started us off with the delicious Chilean dish Chefs’ ceviche – Eagle fish, salmon and mussels marinated in lemon juice, purple onions and cilantro. Served with caviar of olive oil. The ceviche is served up in a beautiful white ceramic oyster shell bowl and decorated with delicate iridescent blue flowers. It was the perfect balance between the delicate sweetness of the fish and the zesty nature of the lime and coriander. The flavours, along with the molecular caviar of olive oil, popped in our mouths and it was so fresh that I could have happily eaten it all night long.
Next on the recommendation list was another favourite of mine: Steak Tartare – Beef Fillet, cut by hand with mustard sauce and toasted bread with oregano. It came out served on a luminous red plate that seemed to glow in the candlelight. It was perfectly spiced to exactly the right level and was complimented by the slight sweetness of the wholegrain mustard and the tartness of the accompanying caper berries. It felt a shame to tuck into it and spoil how beautifully it had been presented, but tuck in we did.
Whilst both starters are light we were starting to be concerned about having enough space for mains and, most importantly, for dessert. So, we had a break, enjoyed the Albariño de Fefiñanes DO Rias Baixas chilled white wine, soaked up the atmosphere and chatted to our amiable and fascinating hosts. Once we were ready we turned our attention to the main courses.
First up from The Land section of the menu was the Duck Breast – Magret with apple puree, sautéed fennel and Pedro Ximinénex reduction. As with all of Hector’s food the presentation was impeccable, as was the way it had been prepared. Beautifully pink and succulent with a delicious flavour seeping through the meat from the fat juices. What can sometimes be a heavier dish was lightened by the freshness of the apple puree and fennel which also served to lift the colours off the plate.
Finally we came to what I personally believe to be the absolute piece de resistance of the menu. From The Sea section came the Easter Island inspired Atún Rapa Nui – Bluefin tuna marinated in tangerine juice and coconut milk, turmeric, smoked coriander seeds and chilli peppers, hummus, Pedro Ximinénex reduction and cassava chip served in such a way as to resemble the Easter Island heads. I don’t think I spoke a word for the entire time I was eating. The last time I tasted such perfect tuna was on a Hawaiian island what feels like a million years ago. I have been searching for something to come close ever since. At last I have found it. All I am going to say is go and try it as no words I write here will do that dish justice. It was sublime!
To complete our gastronomic adventure we finished with the Cheesecake covered in red berries. The cheesecake was simple and light was accompanied by palate cleansing berries. It was the perfect way to round off what had been a spectacular evening of amazing food, perfect hosts and wonderful company. This is a genuine find in Santa Catalina. If you are looking for an incredible place to take a loved one for a romantic meal or to treat a friend or family member for a special occasion you will not go wrong choosing Fulla D’Ostra.
Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday – Saturday 1pm-3:30pm & 7pm-11pm (Daily menu available for lunch Tue-Fri)
Contact +34 629 759 904
Calle Cotoner, 47 – Santa Catalina – Palma de Mallorca
By Victoria Pearce
Photos Credit: Anouska Foss