When I visited Tokyo many years ago, it took me a while to appreciate Japanese cuisine, particularly the taste and texture of raw fish. Today, sushi and sashimi are common lunch options in Europe and North-America, and even supermarkets offer bento boxes. That’s why I’m always excited when I discover a restaurant that offers authentic, high-quality Japanese food. When Ignasi Ignaçio Crespi, treasured chef at Plaer Natural, told me about Daruma, his favorite Japanese restaurant in the heart of Palma’s casco antiguo, I was excited to spend an evening there.
Even though it’s always compelling to sit in a shady spot alfresco, when there’s a chance to watch my food being prepared I go for it. So we picked a table close to the counter and found chef and co-owner José Manuel Mignorance (aka Mingo) finishing the sushi dishes. We started with a plate of most delicious chicken gyoza, and chose one of the large sushi platters para comparatir. A great composition of rolls, nigiri and sashimi for the entrée, mouth-watering – and also a feast for the eyes. For some reason, I never like desert after raw fish, so the tempting chocolate cake just passed by my table, but it looked really really tasty. During dinner, we had been talking about the upcoming birthday of a friend – so I spontaneously bought a Daruma gift card for him. And I was right: he enjoyed the night at Daruma as much as I did.
Together with Ariel and Sergio Bazán, Mingo opened Daruma about two years ago on Carrer Costa de Sa Pols, right on the corner of Carrer Sant Miquel. Both Ariel and Mingo had been cooking in well-known kitchens for many years, e.g. with Marc Fosh, or in Wasabi. They carefully chose the name for their own restaurant: Daruma is a traditional Japanese talisman, a kind of doll that symbols good luck and perseverance. And, indeed, both apply: While their guests enjoy a wonderful meal, the chefs keep refining the menu.