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Garage Rex is a chic and stylish restaurant and cocktail bar in a typical city neighbourhood of Palma de Mallorca. It’s quite a surprise to find this trendy spot hidden away in C/ Pablo Iglesias, a small street parallel to the busy C/ de 31 Desembre, and not far from the Plaça del Obelisco (Plaça Cardinal Reig on some maps).
The name Garage Rex reflects its origins as one of the oldest car repair workshops in Palma de Mallorca, but a total redesign and rebuild has achieved a complete transformation. The design is minimalist, and makes use of plain colours, nicely lit with modern designer light fittings. This theme is continued with the furniture, which is mainly white, of good quality and comfortable. The individual tables have a single central leg, and are very strong and stable. We wish more restaurants would use tables like this – so much more comfortable for diners than the four leg versions!
The ambience is very agreeable and the soft, smooth, background music is played at a level which allows easy conversation. It’s no surprise that the restaurant is popular, especially at weekends, with young and not-so-young cosmopolitan couples who enjoy the quality and atmosphere. (it is best to book if you plan to visit there at a weekend.)
The à la carte dishes are good examples of the new generation of Spanish cuisine – modern and original in style, with influences from traditional Mediterranean dishes and ingredients. The food at Garage Rex is supported by one of the strongest wine lists we’ve seen, carefully arranged by growing region and age. Owner Cesar Martì has a policy of applying a standard service markup per bottle to his wines, unlike many restaurants who add a percentage markup. Cesar’s policy means that some really good wines are available at prices well below those at other restaurants.
After a delicious appetiser of a tomato and basil soup served in a small glass with a crouton, we began our meal with two totally different starters – Shrimp and Walnut carpaccio with Parmesan cheese and Deep fried Camembert in a batter with spices and nuts. The carpaccio was served with a lovely crisp, dressed salad, and was a light blend of flavours and textures – I thought it was an excellent starter. The camembert was very, very good, but rather filling! The batter was amazing, crisp and crunchy with delicious flavours, all enhanced by a strawberry based sauce. One of the most popular dishes at Garage Rex is Lamb confit scented with mint and rosemary and the first mouthful tells you why. Slow cooked for around 8 hours, the meat is succulent, soft and delicious, and the deep, dark reduction rounds off this terrific dish perfectly. My partner choose the Entrecote steak with a pepper sauce and reported that it was very good, tasty and cooked to her specification.
Unfortunately, we had to leave Garage Rex earlier than we would have liked (to catch a train!), but we plan to go back as soon as possible, probably at a weekend, for a more leisurely visit. This restaurant is only 4 years old, but has a reputation for delivering excellent quality of food, drink and service at an affordable price. We heartily recommend it to you.