I brushed the crumbs from the seat, clues of previous passenger’s snack trolley delights. The best thing about the Ryanair flight was the oversized house fly that had hitched a lift and was bombing up and down the aisles, racing between the headrests.
After picking up the blackcurrant berry of a Fiat 500 hire car, and driving down what must be Mallorca’s only motorway, we arrived at Son Brull. A beautiful rural sanctuary on the north of the island.
I’ve been to Mallorca before, accidentally. I told my friend we could do anything she liked for her birthday, she suggested a comedy club, I suggested Eurostar to Paris, she suggested 3 nights in a hotel near Magaluf which was powered by a petrol generator on the roof and had yellowed plastic sheets on the bed. To be fair, those weren’t her search requirements, they were just by-products.
We were shown to our room, a light and airy junior suite. Champagne, oranges and fresh flowers greeted us. Tall shuttered windows with long white linen drapes, high above my head. Washed oak beams and dark concrete floors. A Jacuzzi bath in the corner, and sun hats at the end of the bed. What an absolute dream.
We found our way to the bar and bistro, through the cobbled courtyard of the old monastery, passed the pelargoniums and ferns.
Two enormous olive presses lined the walls either side of the room, and above the large copper bath that would have boiled the olives for their second pressing, a wispy wire sculpture representing steam.
Millstones and big white sofas, like heavy clouds. Good dinner. Nice atmosphere.
The shutters kept the sun out, room pitch black and cool. Outside the window, sunshine and strawberry bushes, palms, and bottlebrush trees with neon fronds.
We took our breakfast on the terrace. Blueberry juice. Eggs benedict. Swimming pool lapping, sparrows darting in for crumbs.
Later, I wandered around, looking at fruit, taking pictures. A woman (from Jersey) stopped to talk to me. Whilst I looked away, she discreetly held up her mobile phone and took a photo of me. Except, it wasn’t discreet, the loud ‘kercher’of the iPhone camera alerted me to it. She didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything.
Adam and I sat in the shade, listened to goats and to the wind in the leaves. Looked at the mountains.
We drove into the mountains. Zipping around in the little Fiat 500, looking for somewhere to pull in, to take in the views. Adam said, ‘We can stop here if you like?’ and I read the sign, ‘prohibited military zone’. We drove on.
At the top of Es Colomer we stopped, walked up to the viewing point, blown by the warm wind, ate Patatas Fritas at the café Mirador.
In the evening we ate at Son Brull. 365 Restaurant, understated and comfortable. Cobbled floors, white linen, subtle lighting, and on the tables, little wound-wire lamps that looked like they were modelled on potatoes.
Often before a meal I begin to feel a little nervous. I have a strange array of allergies and sometimes it’s hard to get that across. I was once told (in a rather unusual restaurant) that, although allergic, I had to eat the ‘gift of almond’ because it was what the chef wanted.
At 365 I didn’t even need to ask. Every member of staff knew who I was and told me what I could or couldn’t have. It was the most attentive and kind response to allergies that I’ve ever experienced.
Sweet, soft, Cannelloni with duck and dark chanterelle mushroom.
Suckling pig with apricots and sweet Tokaji wine.
Prickly pear and fennel sorbet.
All delicious, but then, dessert.
On my list of things which I wish I could eat again (including rice pudding at Neemrana Fort and Sunday dinner at Nanny and Grandad’s), this incredible dessert.
Pine nuts. Soft pine nut brownies. Tiny, beautiful, dark pine cones soaked in honey, rich with the sweet taste of the Mediterranean forest, like fresh cut wood. Creamy pine nut parfait. Pine infused cream.
This may be the most beautiful dessert I have ever tasted. If woodland fairies exist, then this is what they feed on.
In the morning, after a breakfast of eggs, and fresh fruit, and a lot of wishing it wasn’t time to leave, we packed up our bags and headed west.
More mountain driving. Slender curved roads, hairpins, steep drops. Holme oak trees. Goats crossing. We stopped at lakes, listened to lapping water and bird song. Chased velvety chocolate-brown donkeys.
Around every corner was a view to behold. Warm air and the sense of freedom. We turned off the main road, to our next stop. Up the drive. Nine hairpins to the top.
With the greatest thanks to the team at Son Brull for making this trip possible, for hosting us for two nights, and for the power of Chef Rafael Perelló and his puddings. As always, my opinions are my own.