By Lisa on May 27, 2014 with Comments 1
My experience at Celler Can Amer in Inca was of the best gastronomic menu in Mallorca. I was so impressed that I just had to share…
I know that gastronomic menu sounds more than a little poncey but all you foodies out there will know exactly what I mean.
If you’re not familiar with the term gastronomic menu, you are probably wondering: aren’t all food menus gastronomic just by definition?
So what is a Gastronomic Menu?
In a nutshell, what I mean by gastronomic menu is a restaurant that offers a set menu where you don’t choose what you will eat, but rather are served a selection of dishes chosen by the chef. Normally the dishes are elaborated in a more complicated manner than your favourite pub food and there is a lot of attention paid to presentation.
Gastronomic menus are a chance for the chef to show off his or her culinary expertise and often to experiment away from traditional dishes.
A gastronomic menu is not always the typical three course meal consisting of starter, main course and dessert; often these rules are bent or broken too. Sometimes there might be four small appetisers and a main course and dessert. Sometimes there might be a starter, fish dish, meat dish and dessert. Sometimes the whole menu might consist of miniature tapas… The structure of the meal depends entirely on the chef.
The price of a gastronomic menu completely depends on the restaurant but is always one price for the whole menu from start to finish. The drinks are normally charged separately.
Why restaurants offer gastronomic menus
There are many places in Mallorca offering this type of cuisine. Mostly by successful chefs who have well-established restaurants and a good reputation. Often small restaurants offer this type of menu as they don’t have the kitchen space or manpower to churn out millions of different dishes from a huge menu, and prefer to offer just a few options focusing on quality.
Last week I had the pleasure to visit chef Tomeu Torrens‘ restaurant. A visit that was long overdue. I had been planning to dine at Celler Can Amer in Inca for years and had never got around to it.
I had met Tomeu Torrens for the visit time earlier this year at one of our Winter Activities jaunts to the famous Quely biscuit factory in Inca. It turned out that these two Inca-based businesses had a very strong relationship and that they often collaborate. So who better to prepare our tapas feast based on Quely biscuits than Tomeu Torrens himself?
Celler Can Amer
I was delighted when I walked through the door and down the steps into Celler Can Amer. It was exactly as I had imagined: a large but simple dining room with a high ceiling and enormous wine barrels lining the walls.
A Mallorcan celler is basically a restaurant that was once a functioning wine cellar.
They are normally huge halls in the basement of a building so when you enter from the street you have to go down a few steps to the dining area.
Celler Can Amer was quite the typical Mallorcan wine cellar converted to restaurant, and when we entered, images of wine production of decades gone by jumped into my mind.
We were seated at a large table for four, laid out elegantly with simple wine glasses and cutlery.
My only complaint about the whole evening
Unfortunately our table was right at the bottom of the steps by the door which didn’t close properly. Every time diners came in or out the door was left ajar leaving me feeling cold and uncomfortable for the duration of the meal. It’s the only complaint I have about the whole evening and it’s a careless oversight that could easily be rectified. I would even suggest to the restaurant that they increase the price by one euro per person and get the door fixed. I would happily have paid that in order not to feel cold.
The best value gastronomic menu in Mallorca
Even though the place looked like a simple and rustic celler, the service was impeccable and standards were clearly as high as any high class city restaurant.
Without a doubt, the delicious and elegant feast that we were served during this evening was absolutely the best value gastronomic menu in Mallorca.
The menu consisted of two starters, a fish course, a meat course and dessert. Wine was included in the price and we were served white wine until after the fish, then we went on to red wine with the meat, followed by a glass of sparkling wine with dessert.
Mallorcan trampó soup with strawberries
To start with we were served a very refreshing cold soup. If you are familiar with gazpacho, it was very similar. Personally I love gazpacho – especially my own when I make it in the summer with the wonderful Mediterranean tomatoes we get here in Mallorca.
This soup was made with the ingredients of a very typical Mallorcan salad, trampó. Even if you aren’t sure what trampó is, you’ve probably eaten it in Mallorca. It’s that colourful salad made with red tomatoes, green peppers and white onions all chopped up into tiny pieces, mixed together and dowsed in olive oil and salt.
Well Tomeu Torrens went a step further and made this salad into a soup by blending it and adding an interesting contrast with excellent strawberries. I don’t know where he gets his strawberries but they were a hundred times better than the ones I had bought in Alcudia market a few days earlier.
The dish was finished off with finely chopped chives sprinkled over the top. The soup was heaven.
Warm salad with asparagus and foie gras and orange
I must be honest, foie gras is not my favourite. I don’t like the texture very much and I don’t like the thought of over-stuffed duck livers. It’s not something I would ever order but if it’s on a tasting menu then I’ll eat it.
The foie was perfectly cooked and my dining companions really enjoyed it. I have to say, the contrast between the slightly caramelised foie and the slightly bitter orange sauce was excellent. The ingredients were clearly of the highest quality.
I love green asparagus but I gave up a long time on trying to get it right myself. This was crunchy but cooked, and very tasty.
Denton fillet with king prawns and seafood sauce
Denton is dentex in English. It’s a type of sea bream and is very tasty.
My dining companions loved the king prawns too and their fillet of fish was enormous.
As you know, I don’t eat seafood. This was no problem for the restaurant; they just offered me the same fillet of denton and served it with wild mushrooms instead.
The only oversight was they still gave me the seafood sauce, which I hated. It really tasted of seafood! I suppose this is a good thing if you like it. Luckily I just dislike seafood so I was able to scrape it off. Had I been allergic as many people are, I would have had a problem.
Fillet of veal with truffle sauce
This dish was excellent. The meat was cooked perfectly – slightly less than medium – and was presented in thick generous slices on a bed of whipped potato and herbs and coated in the rich truffle sauce.
Served alongside the meat was a tower of tumbet. If you are not familiar with tumbet, it is a typical Mallorcan vegetable dish similar to ratatouille containing tomato, red pepper, aubergine, courgette and potato, all thinly sliced and piled on top of each other like lasagne.
This dish was excellent but it was huge! It was such a shame that we couldn’t quite get through the whole thing.
The Wine Selection
As I have said, wine was included also with the meal and was served as a wine pairing would be with a tasting menu.
The white wine was what I drank more of and was delicious. This accompanied all the dishes right through until the end of the fish. It was a verdejo, one of my favourite varieties and went down very easily.
The red wine that was served with the meat was just alright, not my favourite. It was Añares Crianza.
With dessert I don’t think that the pairing was very accurate. We were served Ses Nines, a Mallorcan wine. It was quite unusual, being a red sparkling wine. It was nice enough but a little too bitter to be served with dessert. It would have been better as an appetiser instead.
Chocolate mousse with mango sorbet
After having eaten so much already we were full to bursting and the last thing we needed was a heavy sickly dessert to finish off with.
The chef had obviously realised this, as the meal ended as lightly as it had started. We were served a chocolate mousse with a mango sorbet. Simple, but just what we needed.
The sorbet was presented in its own little wafer basket, making a nice contrast.
So when I thought I would be unable to put one more thing in my mouth, I actually really enjoyed the dessert.
I just have one confession: I was completely convinced that the mango sorbet was actually made with local mandarin oranges. I would have put money on it and I was very surprised later when I found it had been mango!
So here is the moment you have been waiting for.
All that delicious food and plenty of it. How much did it cost if I’m claiming it was the best value for money gastronomic menu?
Have a guess.
How much would you pay for:
- Mallorcan trampó soup with strawberries
- Warm salad with asparagus, foie gras and orange
- Denton fillet with king prawns and seafood sauce
- Fillet of veal with truffle sauce
- Chocolate mousse with mango sorbet
- Three types of wine generously topped up frequently
- bread, oil and olives
- excellent service
- Beautiful traditional surroundings (with the exception of the temperature due to door that refused to remain closed)
Well? How much?
That’s all we paid for the whole thing. Twenty five euros.
Have you ever eaten at Can Amer? Which is your favourite restaurant in Mallorca and why? Share it with us in the comments. Maybe we have been too.
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About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....