Travel Blog: Alcudia Old Town, Mallorca

alcudia mallorca
Alcudia was a bit of a running joke between the family over our week in Mallorca. Though I’ve never spent any time on the main strip of Alcudia, driving along it to get to…well…better places clearly relayed its booze and fast food-fuelled lifestyle.

It’s just not the kind of place I want to spend my downtime.

Alcudia Old Town, however, is a different story. The Old Town is as authentic as Alcudia gets – even coming with its own set of 14th century city walls. Though there were not many people around when we arrived, we quickly scouted an unassuming set of stairs which led us to the top of the wall. At that point, I think we were all rather consumed with Game of Thrones feelings and stomped around the entirety of the village below like the Kings and Queens of TouristTown.

When we returned to reality, we were starving and tried our very best to navigate the cobbled streets into some sort of foodie fate. Alas, we ended up letting The Manfriend pick a pizza place (with a waiter from Essex and Disney characters littering the ‘English’ part of the menu). Eek.

Not that Alcudia was a write-off. Definitely not. As we punctuated our mediocre noms with great, cheap wine and even better people-watching games, we noticed a Spanish family close their pharmacy (next to the restaurant), drag a few of the restaurant’s tables over to the pharmacy, and begin to set up something of a street party.

Less than half an hour later, the full family party arrived, started to sing through the streets, and eventually pulled The Manfriend and I over to join their raucous conga line (which he ended up weaving through the backbar’s of neighbouring restaurants and streets).

Alcudia Old Town gets 5/5 from this woman.

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alcudia mallorca 16
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Live Your Lunch Break

Live Your Lunch Break
What do I eat in a typical work day? Frankly, very little. Though I have the best intentions, juggling a business, blog, and personal life means I often end up nibbling fruits, veggies and nuts while working, instead of taking an old school ‘lunch break’. (My fuel comes from caffeine, 90% of the time). When Flexioffices (I think it’s only a matter of time before I stop browsing their Soho spaces and actually commit to one!) asked me to take part in their Live Your Lunch Break campaign, it was as good a time as ever.

One Week. Real lunch breaks. Real food. Let’s see what happens…
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In Review: Notting Hill Kitchen, London

notting hill kitchen
Last weekend, one of my favourite ladies and I high-tailed it from East to West for a dinner date at Notting Hill Kitchen. This summer, executive chef Luis Baena completely relaunched the contemporary Iberian menu and I have been awaiting the chance to pop down ever since.

After skipping around Notting Hill like I was Julia Roberts circa 1999, I found my way to Notting Hill Kitchen in perfect time and sat down with Charlie to share a cocktail or two before our appetites were geared up for the experience ahead.

Already salivating over the tapas menu which we poached from the delightful barman, we were taken through to our table and left to take in the menus and the surroundings. Every part of the formally informal Iberian restaurant radiates charm. From the domed floor-to-ceiling street windows to the canvased bread baskets, the magic is in Notting Hill Kitchen’s details.

That and, as you can probably tell from the photos, the food.

Deciding to share our starters, we also opted for a small plate of brioche filled with spider crab mousse from the tapas menu. But first? The tiborna alentejana. As a starter, I was more intrigued than enticed by the flavour combinations, but the thin toasted sourdough curves topped with pata negra jamon, bone marrow, cured papada, and truffled yolk turned out to be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever tasted. It took me straight back to the first time I tasted salmon as a child; that moment when you realise a flavour can exist far beyond expectations. The tiborna is a must-try.

After breaking the starters up with bites of the crab brioche, we then forked through a rectangular plate of diver-caught scallops that took the Iberian influence into the stratosphere. As well as perfectly cooked scallops, the plate held an incredible sliver of pork terrine, tomato & crispy onion, a dusting of ‘vilao’ dressing, and a surprise garnish of Ajo blanco pannacotta. I was tempted to swap my main out for a second serving.

Fortunately, I stuck to my guns and was quickly presented with a generous portion of Bacalao Negro (slow cooked cod & squid ink with chorizo crumble and yogurt dressing). As a savoury meal goes, this dish is as light as it could possibly get, yet packed with flavour. Unfortunately, Charlie’s seared beef tenderloin glisten-winked at me through every bite. A veritable war against willpower and tenderly melting beef, truffled potato puree, Madeira sauce, sauteed mushrooms, and white asparagus (“THIS IS THE BEST BEEF I’VE EVER HAD” still tortures me).

It is impossible to avoid food envy in a restaurant like Notting Hill Kitchen.

Thankfully, Charlie’s addiction to – and my current dislike of – chocolate meant the dessert menu was a safe zone for both of us. Her beautifully presented ‘Ménage à trois’ (white chocolate mousse, toffee parfait, and dark chocolate) and my caramel popcorn-topped lemon cheesecake rounded the meal off beautifully.

I could not imagine an occasion where I wouldn’t want to return. I might even have to invent an Iberian holiday or two to ensure that I do.

notting hill kitchen
notting hill kitchen
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Travel Blog: Pollensa Town, Mallorca

pollensa town
The first of two trips to Pollensa Town (or ‘Old Town Pollensa’) was for a leisurely grocery run at the Pollensa Town Market. Though the Sunday market is said to be in its peak in the late morning hours, we found that the square was bustling throughout the afternoon. In addition to the fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and flowers concentrated in the square, the outskirts were dotted with everything from three euro bras to ‘Rooibos Cannabis’ tea (which none of us dared to sample). Culturally, it was a lovely experience. There was definitely a large number of locals milling around, playing music and doing their weekly shop, which was lovely to see in such an attractive destination.

On our return – a few evenings later – we decided to tackle the 365 Calvari steps. I would call them a step and a half, each. The long steps lead to the Chapel of Calvari (Eglesia del Calvari) and offer the most beautiful views of the city below. In fact, I found the process of turning back towards the city to take photos and admiring the quaint homes that lined the steps more enjoyable than the view from the top.

Pollensa. Mission: accomplished.

pollensa town
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