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23 January, 2017  |  RESTAURANTS
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"In Taronja Negre Mar we maintain our concept of quality at a more affordable price"
We speak with Tomeu Caldentey, chef at Club de Mar Mallorca's restaurant.
By MIGUEL MANSO

Great chefs are looking for the general audience. Tomeu Caldentey explains it with a comparison. "Bou restaurant is like going to the opera. Normally you do it once a year. Taronja Negre Mar is like going to the cinema once a week", he says.

If we continue with the metaphor of performing arts, Caldentey (Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, 1972) plays the role of director. This cook is known by his double facet. In the stoves, he became the first Majorcan to rise with a Michelin star, the Oscar of the kitchen. Before the cameras of IB3, he has reached a significant popularity thanks to the show 'Això es mel'

Today we go to the cinema. Noon session in Taronja Negre Mar, the restaurant of Club de Mar. The restaurant's treat. Unlike other critics of cuisine, here we explain the context. The price of the 'Degusta' menu is 29.50 euros, drinks not included. Do not expect to find Tomeu Caldentey every day in Taronja Negre Mar. His imprint is, though, but the man who holds the reins in the kitchen is a man of his trust, Andrés Benítez. Caldentey and his team insist on remarking this aspect, now that chefs have become the new rock stars and there are foodies chasing them as groupies.

The film starts with strenght thanks to its photography. When the plot unfolds in a place like the terrace of the Club de Mar, you know you have the audience in your pocket. The sea, the cathedral, the light, a soft breeze... You know, the ingredients for the best coastal cinema. Fidel, the maître, a pleasant and very professional fellow, becomes, without stridency, the voice-over. At first, one is puzzled with the small bowl of chips with a pinch of spicy paprika that welcomes the guest. We go to the cinema but we do not want a Sunday afternoon TV movie, I think. The fact is that these chips with paprika have that twist, and I keep the idea for when I have friends over for dinner.

"Do not expect a supergastronomic place. We do maintain our concept of quality but at a more affordable price". The disorientation caused by the chips lasts very little. A waitress pushes a drink cart and gives me a choice of several wines. I choose a glass of Albariño Granbazán. Perhaps this is one of the hallmarks of Caldentey, the ludic aspect of his restaurants. Besides the taste, he tries to make your time entertaining. The drinks cart is followed by another with cheeses and artisan cold cuts. I am surprised by the goat cured in wine one made in Menorca and a another of soft buffalo cheese. I have no mercy with the light orange mayonnaise and black olive puree. I spread some and then some more on the olive oil bread until I have my bread basket refilled twice.

Then the five-act plot begins. On screen, we see some shrimp marinated in yellow peppers, a mussel with green curry and some very well resolved moments of humor with the Pizzaïmada. This hybrid of ensaimada and pizza was born in 'Això es mel' and, truthfully, who would think that pesto marries so well with the sweet. The cod fritters from whose interior sprouts an alga sauce deserves a separate mention. And the suckling pig with pickled carrot. The suckling pig, cooked at low temperature, is served boneless in a rectangular portion. We stay with this much juicier remake, as opposed to the traditional Majorcan version.

The film has kept a good rhythm for an hour and a half. And I would have stayed a while longer but Tomeu Caldentey was waiting in Club de Mar's Lounge, by the pool. There we talked about the making-of of the film. "Do not expect a supergastronomic place. What we do maintain is our concept of quality at a more affordable price ", explains Caldentey about Taronja Negre Mar. True. Quality and price go together. A blockbuster for the general audience.

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Club de Mar - Quality