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Creating and generating emotions that transcend those of the dish itself

It has been more than a decade since Fernando P. Arellano opened Zaranda, his own restaurant in Madrid, a small and modest space where he could create with total freedom. His style is based around very personal cooking, without artifice, that seeks to excite the diner. Two years after opening, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star from the iconic French cuisine guide. In 2010, Arellano moved to Mallorca and three years later, he found the perfect place for his restaurant at the iconic Hotel Castell Son Claret, in Es Capdellà, right at the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana. In addition to maintaining the distinction over the years, in the 2016 edition, the restaurant obtained its second Michelin star, making it the only one to do so in the Balearic Islands.

Fernando P. Arellano

With the nerve and bravery of a young 18-year old, he left Madrid and went to Ireland, a place he remembers fondly after spending summers there learning English. Working as a dishwasher in the kitchen of a restaurant, he discovered the world of chefs and stoves.

His acquired his first experience working with John Dunne, an Irish chef with an extensive amount of training and experience, at Morels restaurant, while he began his own training. Over a four-year period, he undertook his hotel and catering studies while simultaneously keeping up his daily work alongside Dunne, his master and guide during this period. He graduated from the Institute of Technology in Dublin, where he worked at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud. He had stays in several European cities, in London at Le Gavroche, and in Naples at Don Alfonso, both holders of two Michelin stars. In Spain he worked at Santi Santamaría’s Can Fabes and at Quique Dacosta’s El Poblet.

In 2005, aged 27, he took charge of his own project: Zaranda, at a little premise in a small Madrid street, alongside Itziar Rodriguez. Two years of hard word, creating very personal cuisine, were rewarded with a star in 2007. Three years later, right in the middle of the financial turmoil which particularly affected high-end restaurant sector, he moved with his entire team to Mallorca, first to the Hotel Hilton Sa Torre, before coming to the current location, Hotel Castell Son Claret, in Es Capdellà. They have been busy years, during which he has maintained intact his creative spirit, and his constant, intense work aimed at obtaining perfection. This quest has not only enabled him to keep the star obtained in 2007, but this year he also witnessed the arrival of the second star. It will only be matter of time before we see three Michelin stars in Mallorca.

The Mediterranean has an obvious importance in his cuisine, it is a source of inspiration and creation with products that he already knows really well following time spent in Dènia and the Italian coast. Following his arrival in Mallorca, there has been a constant search for local produce while he has really delved into the traditional recipes of the islands and their most emblematic products.

He is extremely demanding, and of his daily work he notes: “You voluntarily participate in a game of Russian roulette where passion and creation form part of day to day work. It is not only about creating food, you simultaneously have to create spectacular spaces and experiences that transcend the dish itself”. Now, aged 37, he states: “As a chef I have a long way to go, although every day I move a little closer towards becoming the man that I would like to be”.

Discussing the cuisine of Arellano at Zaranda, means talking about creativity and motivation. It is a restaurant where every dish is designed and redesigned, technique and complexity intertwine constantly. The Mediterranean dominates its cuisine, along with foreign presences, trends and fusions that are found throughout the exhausting work that shows exquisite and painstaking technique through a markedly personal sensibility.

Arrival in Mallorca did not cause a traumatic change to Arellano’s cuisine. Over time, he has drifted towards creations with strong Mediterranean influences and local produce. He told us: “Now I have real time access to the sea”

Zaranda, the restaurant
It is elegant and minimalistic, with an abundance of local art decorating the walls, nine tables, and little more than twenty diners per service. The options include three tasting menus: Discover (€120); Taste (€135); Enjoy (€150), as well as Get carried away (€170), a personal selection from the chef consisting of twelve or more steps. Each menu has wine chosen to suit the dishes.

The dishes include the chef’s version of the Valencian All i Pebre with octopus and potato, his Black egg (cuttlefish caviar and white onion), Sea cucumbers and mussels, a light and very Mediterranean pickle. He has not forgotten about a tribute to eel and spinach pie, with his Tribute to the eel of Sa Pobla; other dishes include The Three Little Pigs, a Peruvian and Asian mix; the Majórica Oyster, where the surprise is the pearl; the Andratx Prawn and the Pigeon Sequence.

Waiter service is managed by Itziar Rodríguez and the Sommelier Sebastián Longo. The bar is run by Roberto Muscariola, the barman and master cocktail maker.

The range of wines encompasses more than six hundred varieties, with an extensive range of small Mallorcan wineries and the majority of Spanish Denomination of Origin wines, with a special focus on Catalan Priorat. French wines have a notable presence.

The opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 7pm to 10pm. In July and August, the opening hours are Thursday to Sunday from 7.30pm to 10.30pm on the terrace of the hotel’s inner courtyard.

His creative spirit, and his constant, intense work in search of perfection have remained intact.

Castell Son Claret
Elegance and comfort at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana
It is an emblematic “possessió” whose origins date back to the mid-15th century. In the 18th century, its owner Don Gabriel Claret gave the property its name. Its traditional rectangular body building houses an extensive inner “cloister” courtyard, which is unique in having two defence towers that make it look like a pretty medieval castle.

When the current owner Klaus-Michael Kühne and his wife Christine purchased the property, they began intense and painstaking restoration work that has led to this beautiful luxury hotel, surrounded on four sides by an estate covering more than 300 hectares.

The circle is closed masterfully with the great range of gastronomy represented by Fernando P. Arellano and his restaurant Zaranda. The same premises are home to Restaurante s’Olivera, it has the same philosophy as Zaranda, but a shorter, more informal and changing menu.

Miguel Ángel Adrover

Posted in Restaurantes