Although my mission is to find good restaurants that offer an interesting lunch menu at a reasonable price (nice setting and a friendly staff are always a bonus!) - I find it quite hard to write about a place where everything is great and I end up using too many superlatives. I worry that it might seem insincere. Still, sometimes “it is what it is”, and Xalest is one of those places. From the moment when a friend and I walked in to the last spoonfuls of our deserts, we were both thoroughly impressed.
Xalest is a restaurant within the Concepcio by Nobis hotel situated in a lovely part of the Old Town. According to their website, this historical property, “originally built in the mid- 16th century, and formerly a soap factory, now presents a warm and relaxed oasis for both travellers and locals with 31 guestrooms and suites, an in-house restaurant, bar and lounge, and spaces for meetings and events — all designed by award-winning Swedish firm Wingårdhs.”
We were welcomed by a charming waiter who enquired whether we have been there before, and when we said that we haven’t, he offered to shows us the place. In the restaurant, I loved the contrasts between their white walls, exposed stone arched ceilings, and jet black ironwork. This was complemented with cool furniture, many green plants and a patterned carpet in matching colours. My friend noted that even the waiters' uniforms followed the interior's colour scheme. Some of them were in white shirts and stone coloured trousers, while others wore all black. It was obvious that attention was paid to every little detail. Yet the place felt welcoming and unpretentious.
We also had a peak at their pool area, serene and tranquil, as if it was a million miles from the bustling city, and vowed to be back to use it at an earliest opportunity. Xalest is described as offering “locally inspired cuisine prepared with Chef Xema Álvarez’s modern touch” and it is open to both guests and visitors for lunch and dinner. We opted for a daily menu and I was pleasantly surprised by the choice of five starters, five main dishes and four deserts, plus a couple of specials for mere five euros more. Daily menu changes weekly, and this week I had a feeling that it was more inspired by Asia than Mallorca. I was intrigued.
To start with, I opted for Panko Battered prawn skewers with mango chutney. A generous portion of three very large prawns on a bed of green salad arrived. My friend chose Green salad with goat cheese, crispy bacon and walnuts. Hers too was a larger than usual portion. I have never tried prawns with mango before, I loved the combination and promised to myself that I will try to make something similar at home. The goat cheese in my friend's salad was light and slightly crumbly, while the bacon was perfectly crispy and I loved this combined with walnuts. We were both very impressed with our choices and could not wait for the next course.
While my Dalmatian friend went for fish – cod with saikoyaki sauce and pak choi - my continental soul craved some pork, so I decided to try the pork tenderloin with miso sauce, honey and mustard with couscous tabbouleh. Both the meat and the fish were super fresh, tender and juicy. I would even go as far as saying that this was some of the best cod I have ever tried, and the pork was not far behind.
Desert was included in the daily menu price here, making Xalest an altogether winner in terms of value for money amongst the restaurants I have reviewed so far (only four, but still!). My banana in tempura with maple syrup and cardamom sauce was simply perfect! Tempura was light and crunchy, nicely accented with a slightly heavier sauce. My friend's Mojito sorbet was even better than any mojito I have ever had – tangy and refreshing!
We took a glass of verdejo wine each and it went down really well with our meal. All in all, I was completely impressed with this place, from excellent service and stylish interior to an interesting menu from start to finish. As I was munching on my last mouthful of banana desert, it occurred to me that each dish here today had slightly more sweet than savoury notes and in my book that can only ever be a good thing!
Hotel & Restaurant Xalest
Carrer de la Concepcio, Palma
971 915 025
Daily menu 18.50 euros
A glass of verdejo 6 euros
Total 24.50 euros
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