When it comes to gastronomy, Iberostar Grand Hotel Portals Nous Mallorca brings world-class à la carte dining plus the moon and the stars. For drinks or pre-dinner tipples guests can head to the stylish Selini lobby bar. Selini, of course, is the Greek word for Moon. A gourmet experience of stellar proportions awaits In the Astir Restaurant. Astir means star in Greek and this restaurant shines brightly.
Photo credit Iberostar Grand Hotel Portals Nous
The Astir Restaurant has an outdoor terrace complete with Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served at the Astir and we ate all our meals al fresco on the terrace. The weather was warm and balmy and to eat accompanied by the sound of the waves gently lapping the sandy cove was delightful.
Photo credit Iberostar Grand Hotel Portals Nous
If the weather’s not so affable then diners can eat in the inside. The interior space of the Astir is light and airy with vaulted ceilings and the inimitable Marcel Wander signature style.
The Food at Grand Portals Nous
Cuisine at Astir is a fusion of traditional Mallorcan gastronomy and modern cuisine. Dishes, bursting with flavour, use the best local organic produce. We started the evening by getting acquainted with the Champagne Bar and some delicious hotel signature cocktails.
For dinner we indulged in the beautifully presented tasting menu, each dish served up like a mini work of art. First off was Cordoba-style chilled salmorejo soup, dressed crab, lobster caviar, octopus confit with star anise and strawberries. A delicious combination of light seafood flavours with a delicate hint of fruit.
A variety of textures and tastes followed with scallop and wild green asparagus salad, pine nut dressing, acorn-fed cured Iberian ham and light crispy parmentier. Beautifully simple with the saltiness of the ham enhancing the other flavours perfectly.
The fruits of the sea continued with beech wood-smoked cod, char-grilled peppers with marrowbone, Jerusalem artichoke, shimeji mushroom and spinach casserole.
Acorn-fed Iberian pork skirt steak, violetta potatoes, toasted almonds, pink onion and sesame was one of my favourites dishes of the whole trip; beautifully cooked and utterly gorgeous.
The first of two desserts arrived; Pina colada parfait, passion fruit cream, matcha tea, Malibu and fresh mango. I loved all the exotic fruit flavours but will never understand the appeal of matcha. Definitely an acquired taste methinks.
My favourite dessert was the rich chocolate textures and cherries with crème fraîche and kirsch ice cream. Dark fruits and berries complimented the smooth, slightly bitter chocolate to a tee.
Accompanying Spanish wines were a very acceptable white, José Pariente Verdejo 2016, from Rueda. The red, my favourite, was a Ribera del Duero Roble Pago de los Capellanes 2016, with hints of light spice and forest fruits.
A pretty plate of petit fours and coffee finished off the evening with a flourish.
I’d have liked a little more lighting on the terrace as it was quite dark and I do like to see what I’m eating. It’s so true that you eat with your eyes first. My photos aren’t the best due to the light. I don’t like to use my DSLR when in a restaurant so as not to disrupt other diners but I hope you get the gist.
Chef Ruben Aguilar
Chef Ruben Aguilar has worked in many Michelin starred restaurants across Europe. Raco de Can Fabes in Barcelona, Akelarre in San Sebatian, Onelvc in Valencia and Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus in London. More recently he was head chef at the Canvas in London which received three rosettes.
A Light Lunch
Next day I chose a light lunch of tomato salad. I wanted to save myself for the evening which I knew was going to be a bit special.
El Capricho Meat
Gastronomy at Iberostar Grand Portals Nous is taken seriously. This was especially evident on our second evening when we were treated to El Capricho meat said, by those in the know, to be the best steak in the world. El Capricho steak is exceptional in both the way it’s reared and in flavour. The Astir is the only restaurant in Mallorca serving El Capricho.
El Capricho steak comes from Jimenez de Jamuz, a small village in the Basque region of Spain where José Gordon owns a farm and Restaurante El Capricho. In the UK and US cows are generally less than three years old when they’re slaughtered for the table. The ox and cattle that Gordon rears go to El Capricho for retirement. They meander in the meadows for four to five years to recover from the stresses and exhaustion of the milking process. I like that they get a bit of ‘moo time’ before meeting their maker. The result is that the meat, called buey in Spain, has an intense, well-rounded flavour.
El Capricho Tasting Menu
We start with Burrata and torn herb salad. Burrata is a soft mozzarella-type cheese with a creamy centre. If you see it on a menu try it – it’s scrumptious. I also had this for lunch on my first day.
Hummus, tender green leaves and crunchy vegetables make up the next course and by this time we’re eager for the main event.
A sizzling platter of El Capricho ox rib eye steak is brought to our table and expertly carved in front of us. ‘Best meat in the world’ is quite some claim and I was afraid I was heading for a disappointment. I wasn’t. The meat was succulent, buttery soft and bursting with rich flavour. The whole table fell silent in appreciation. The simple accompaniments of nutty Ratte potatoes and Majorcan sautéed vegetables worked perfectly and tempered the richness of the meat.
Next, we’re served El Capricho beef rib eye steak, creamed Ratte potatoes and char-grilled sautéed vegetables. Served slightly rarer this time it’s just as delicious. We then have a final taste of a much rarer piece meat, rarer than I’d normally eat, but again superb.
It seems almost trivial to mention dessert after the El Capricho but the lemon and elderflower cannellone, raspberry jelly and goat’s cheese ice cream made the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.
A vegetarian tasting menu is also available which includes
- Hummus, tender green leaves and crunchy vegetables
- Majorcan tomatoes in dressing
- Quinoa salad with a tomato foam
- Thai-style sautéed vegetables
- Faux bulgur risotto with wild mushrooms
Breakfast at Grand Portals Nous
I always partly rate a hotel on the quality of its breakfast. Iberostar Grand Portals Nous delivered. Breakfast is from the à la carte menu with a small buffet selection of cold meats and cheeses. After ordering coffee, which arrived at my table with a personal display shelf of pastries, I chose a fruit platter followed by Eggs Benedict. Both ticked all the boxes. To sit and eat breakfast in the warm sunshine looking out over the pretty bay to the sound of a classical Spanish guitarist was enough to keep me smiling all day.
IIberostar Grand Portals Nous, Calle Falconer, 19, Portals Nous, 07181 Calvià, Mallorca, Spain. Phone: +34 971 10 02 15
The hotel is a 20-minute taxi journey from Palma airport
My stay at Iberostar Grand Portals Nous was hosted, however, I have complete editorial control and, as always, bring you my own honest views and opinions of the hotel.