SABA Restaurant, Santa Ponça
Korea meets Japan meets Spain. And it all happens in a peaceful enclave of Mallorca’s Santa Ponsa. Welcome to SABA Restaurant, one of the two eateries at the Kimpton Aysla Mallorca hotel – Kimpton’s first European property when it opened in October 2022 on part of the site of the former Santa Ponsa Country Club.
On arrival at SABA Restaurant, we sat at the counter to watch the chefs at work in the large, open kitchen, rather than at one of the conventional tables indoors or in the conservatory-like dining area (which will be appealing once the summer heat has gone).
Aloft on two of the 14 surprisingly comfortable armchair stools, we began with a drink. I had the cocktail of the day: Mallorcan Flower, a delicious combination of the island’s Cabraboc gin, tea flowers, and citric, topped with a passion fruit mousse. Delicious!
We were there for the Omakase menu. The word ‘omakase’ comes from the Japanese word for ‘to entrust’ – which means the chef chooses what dishes to serve to diners. What you get at SABA is a carefully chosen compilation of Japanese and Korean dishes – five for 60 €.
Our charming waiter, Ben, first brought us each kimchi and banchan – three small portions of different fermented vegetables. As a huge kimchi fan, I soon emptied my small bowls; the first steps on an exciting Asian gastronomic journey.
SABA’s executive chef Alejandro Bermúdez lived in Korea for more than a decade and is married to a Korean; his dishes are based on authentic recipes and culinary techniques, using local products. Unfortunately, Alejandro was unable to be there for our visit, but his team ensured we had a great dining experience – and we shall meet him next time.
Chef Ana prepared most of our dishes and impressed us with her care, attention to detail, and explanations.
Although we weren’t choosing our dishes, Ben brought me a menu to peruse. Korea, Japan, and Spain share a culture of sharing food, so the menu layout isn’t as conventional as most restaurants. If you’re eating à la carte, feel free to choose dishes from whichever sections you wish. The more of you in your party, the more dishes you’ll be able to taste.
The flavours, textures, and variety of the dishes we ate were exquisite and if you’re a Korean-cuisine virgin, you’re in for a treat at SABA. Save some space for a dessert, as this place has a pastry chef, rather than offering bought-in desserts. The passion fruit mousse makes the perfect mouth-freshening end to dinner at a restaurant that was worth my drive from north of Manacor.
Photos: Jan Edwards
Prices correct at time of writing.