Mercat 1930 – Bringing Mediterranean Gastronomy to the Heart of the Paseo Maritimo
Back in 1910, when the then imposing Grand Hotel Mediterráneo was built, the Paseo as we know and love it today simply didn’t exist. There was no Marina full of super yachts, no late-night bars, no road even. Just a few rocks, fishing boats bobbing on the waves and a beach called S’Aigua Dolça where a fresh water spring ran off the hills straight in to the Mediterranean. It wasn’t until the 1940s and 50s that, through the genius of Mallorquian Engineer Gabriel Roca, after whom the Paseo is officially named, the Paseo started to take shape. Built primarily as a road to get visitors from the airport, which was seeing growth into the commercial airline market, to the beaches out west, it would eventually become the defining artery of the Palma that we now know.
20 years before the Paseo came into being in 1930, under the gaze of Mallorquian architect Francesca Roca Simó, the Grand Hotel Mediterráneo underwent an art-deco face-lift that was considered utterly revolutionary at that time. And it is into that present-day version that Mercat 1930 has opened its doors.
The concept behind Mercat 1930 is very simple. To harness the trend for gastronomy within Palma and Mallorca and to return it to the Paseo using Mediterranean produce. For several years now that particular area of town and side of the road been known for clubbing and partying into the early hours. But that is changing and it is the beautifully poised Mercat 1930, in all her reformed glory, that is leading the stylish revolution so yearned for by Palma locals and visitors alike.
Announced back in April 2017 to great excitement, the doors eventually opened to an expectant crowd on the 18th August. And people were not disappointed. Holding true to its Art Deco heritage, it has been brought up to date through the use of industrial style exposed beams and lighting, allowing it to have one foot in the past and one firmly in the present facing in to the future.
Currently made up of sixteen stall holders there is easily one (or more) for every taste. On the evening that Anouska, ever my favourite photographer, and I were shown around by Ramon, the Mercat’s Director, there were sights and smells to get even the laziest of taste buds standing to attention.
We started off at BD Kitchen where we were treated to a mouth-watering array of Thai nibbles. I actually returned the following day to sample the Thai Green Curry. I feel it is always the marker of a good Thai restaurant and I was presented with a beautiful dish, that for the first time had the pitch perfect amount of spice without me having to ask for it to be added. I get the feeling it will not be the only time I am back for that one.
Next up was Eat The Bones, and believe me I would have done. The Solomillo de Tenera was perfectly pink and the sea salt sprinkled over it really brought out the flavours. As for the chicken wings, well…. If I could persuade them for the recipe to the sauce and could bottle it, I’d be a millionaire. They were by far the best chicken wings I’ve tried in Palma to date.
Whilst being showered with so many tasty delights we also sampled the beer paddle from Tap Station, which included a small glass of each of the San Miguel beers on tap from destinations such as London, Bruges, Manila and Hamburg. It’s a really interesting and fun way to expand your knowledge of San Miguel’s repertoire. Just be warned, one of them was coming in at a hefty 9% ABV.
Moving around the market we decided it was time to try some typical Andalusian delights at Frituras Andaluzas 1930. We ordered the prawns which were delivered to us in an old school newspaper cone designed to be from the time of the reformation of the building. The prawns were sweet and succulent and extremely moreish. By this stage we were beginning to fill up as the portion sizes are extremely generous.
But this is the joy of the market, it’s simply not possible to try everything on one night, so it requires you to return again and again and maybe even again. As there are still the pinxos from Txapeldun, tortillas from Eggskisitas, ham and cheese from former soccer star Fernando Varela at De Cabo a Rabo, burgers from Burger Doze, home-made croquetas from Croqueteria 1930, Italian porchetta at Sa Trigo. And if your desires are on the slightly healthier side there are the French coast oysters at Ostras Daniel Sorlut, Mallorquian tartar at Take Sushi and healthy salads and smoothies at Green Food.
If beer isn’t your thing then there is Barra Premium serving up Royal Bliss as its main mixer for most drinks and cocktails. If you really want to get in to the 1920’s swing then no visit to the market would be complete without a quick stop at Vermutaria La Lata, putting its own spin on this returning favourite. Most of the stalls also have a selection of wines, beers and soft drinks that you can purchase.
With all the walking to visit the various super friendly stall owners we had eventually managed to create a very small gap and so decided that we would be remiss of us not to visit Rolling Icecream where we had a pancake each. Okay it was a big gap. One of the pancakes had a gloriously thick and rich chocolate sauce and the other came with dolce de leche that I would have happily had served in a wine glass.
Mercat 1930 is a really positive place. You look around the sharing tables and there are couples, groups, business people and those who just want to read a book, all soaking up the atmosphere and eating good food.
It is open every day from 12 until 12 and has a terrace outside which holds 200 people as well as the internal space that also holds 200. They have their own events team and are happy to plan deliciously delightful experiences for private parties, groups and weddings.
So get down to Mercat 1930 to experience a wealth of tasty delights and join the Paseo revolution in a very special location.