Palillos y Cuchillos, Palma de Mallorca: ‘Bao, Tom Yum and Nachos all under one roof.’

This understated restaurant offers food from all around the globe, with a three course menu del dia for just €16.

  • Food (7/10)
  • Service (7/10)
  • Value (7.5/10)
Pork belly bao with avocado and coleslaw.

If i’m being honest, i’m finding it incredibly difficult to write a review about restaurants that are actually good. Like Jay Rayner said, “Narratives of positive experiences are cloying and twee and eventually just a little dull and samey.” Who cares to read a review of a nice place? Apart from the owners of that place, or people who live in that city and fancy going to said restaurant. Jay Rayner also said “All nice evenings out tend to be nice in similar ways. But terrible experiences tend to be uniquely terrible.” My boyfriend noted that Jay Rayner was in fact ripping off Tolstoy’s opening line in Anna Karenina  “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” He also said that it was a really good book and I should definitely read it, to which I replied enthusiastically “Yeah, I might actually!”I can guarantee I will never read it.

Back to Jay Rayner’s point, there is not much fun in reading about someone’s pleasant experience at a restaurant, but its hilarious to hear all the gory details about a failed meal. The terrible food, the wasted money, the awkward experiences. Also, I don’t exactly eat in super high end fine dining places (if I have to pay) so the bashing of food feels a little bit more horrible and personal, as I didn’t exactly spend a lot of money. However, if the restaurant is pretentious and shit, then I will go to town. I also use the excuse that nobody reads this blog, so it isn’t like i’m Anton Ego (the food critic from ratatouille whose name I just googled) and my review will not make or break a restaurant. One day when I am a revered and feared food critic, I may have to be more careful.

Tom Yum soup with rice

So, because I thouroughly enjoyed my lunch at Palillos y Cuchillos, I have been putting off writing a review. It wasn’t mind blowing, but aspects were pleasantly suprising, and everything was cooked nicely enough. They’ve taken everyone’s favourite parts of various cuisines and put it on the menu (bao, tom yum soup, croquettes, risotto, gnocchi), and it seems like they are big fans of delicious, hearty comfort food. The starter of bao came as two big portions, stuffed to the brim with deliciously fatty iberico pork belly, avocado and coleslaw. From the large starters list, we also went for the Tom Yum soup, a huge bowl of soup with rice on the side. It was thick, hearty and fragrant (and big enought to be a main.) Honestly though, I could’ve chosed any of their starters as they all sounded insane, pork dumplings in a vietnamese sauce, tuna tartare with mango and ginger,Mushroom croquettes with garlic and truffle oil, Gnocchis with coconut and pumpkin. I had to list them all here, as it’s just a dream list of starters, so many damn good options to choose from. The chef, Raul Garcia, used to work at the Michelin starred Marc Fosh Restaurant, so its not surprising that he knows how to write a mouthwatering menu. Raul Garcia knows how to write a menu.

Risotto with Mahon cheese and crispy duck leg.

Hoping the hype would continue from the starters, our Crispy duck with Mahon cheese risotto arrived. The duck was cooked to perfection, and the risotto rich and deeply flavourful. Dare I say, too rich? Hmm, I don’t dare, because we ate it all and it was bloody delicious for a risotto. The Korean pork with parsnip puree, corn tortillas and grilled pineapple was a plate of pure confusion. I don’t know why I was surprised to think this, because even reading it on the menu makes you wonder why this dish would ever exist in any univserse, apart from being one of those “Lets just eat whatever is in the fridge to get rid of it” meal. Like when you know you shouldn’t oder a takeaway so you resort to the dredges of whatever can just be reheated in the microwave. Yesterdays stir-fry with some leftover parsnips from a sunday roast, and the cling filmed but nearly stale tortillas in the bread bin from last weeks Mexican. It’s an edible, quite nice meal, but thats about it. I’m sure its the first and last time I put pork, beansprouts and parsnips together in wrap. I was also a bit irritated about this main, because deep down I KNOW i wanted the Iberico Llonguet (sandwich) with brie, confit onions and a truffle sauce with chips. My boyfriend did that kind of “mmmm really?” face when I thought about ordering it, and I wish I wasn’t such a pushover and stuck to my guns. We had however already been given massive rolls of warm bread with our starters, which had also consisted of bread and rice, so I get it, but its always nice to find a scapegoat for your own blunders. I don’t often get menu regret, so I guess I was due a heavy dose of it at some point.

Korean pork with parsnip puree, corn tortillas and grilled pineapple.

At the end there are big, flavourful desserts of brownie with caramel and banana icecream, and a mole rojo (which was like a creamy raspberry fool) with white chocolate and rose icecream. Quantity is everything I desire in a dessert really, and there was no skimping on portion sizes here. By the time we were on our desserts, the place was packed. This is pretty impressive considering its location, tucked away a few streets behind the bus station. Honestly, I had never ventured to this part of Palma and if it wasn’t for Palillos y Chuchillo’s pretty constant instagram presence, I never would’ve heard of the place.

Mole rojo with rose ice cream.

I like this restaurant, I would definitely go back. Its a cheery alternative to most menus del dia around Palma, and you certainly get your moneys worth. They’ve only been open since the end of July, and doing extremely well considering the circumstances. If this is just the beginning, I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

Palillos y Cuchillos, Carrer de Jafuda Cresques, Número 6, 07004 Palma, Illes Balears

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