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Situated in a 14th century building in the heart of Palma de Mallorca's old quarter, the Puro Urbano Hotel, and its Opio Restaurant are full of surprises. Step off the narrow stone-paved streets of La Lonja, with its centuries old buildings, and you are transported forwards into the 21st century. The building has been carefully transformed into a chic boutique hotel with design elements from the Middle East and Asia, while retaining many of the original architectural features. The ground floor is an open plan layout with direct access to the cocktail bar and Opio restaurant.
The Opio restaurant area is a few steps higher than the cocktail bar, which provides a nice separation while retaining the open plan convenience. Decor is predominantly white, with contrasts from decorated cushions and artworks. The low tables and chairs, mirrored wall niches filled with soft candlelight, and the wall and ceiling hangings combine to create a modern Moroccan atmosphere. We were shown to our table by the young Mallorquin restaurant manager Guillermo, who was extremely helpful and looked after us, and the other diners, in a cheerful, friendly and professional way.
Broadly speaking, the cuisine at Opio has strong Far Eastern influences, with the occasional nod to the Middle East and North Africa, and even a touch of Mexico! Imaginative use is made of fresh local ingredients, and the result is an interesting blend of gastronomic cultures, with plenty of surprises. Opio's menu offers seven starters, seven main courses (four fish or shellfish, three meat), and four desserts so making a choice is not the chore that it can be in some restaurants with long menus.
For starters, we chose the Boracay beach tempura and the Vietnamese tiradito. The first of these consists of a soft shell crab, cooked in tempura batter, and served with a mango and sweet chili emulsion, green leaf salad and a lemon vinaigrette. The strength of this dish was in the emulsion and the vinaigrette, both of which were truly memorable. The tiradito - grilled scallops with miso paste, served with a green papaya salad - was a definite hit with us, and at other nearby tables!
Our main course choices were the Hotaka Tuna and the splendidly named Duckwok. Tuna is a great favourite and we're always happy to try a different presentation of this superb fish - this Opio version is grilled and served with coriander chimichurri, a pak choy and shitake saute with a pea sauce and grated wasabi. That's quite a mouthful and so is this dish which immediately appeals to the eye through its very exotic looking presentation. Once again, the sauces are very well done, with the wasabi being a fantastic addition. The Duckwok was the dish of the evening - it's described as 'duck magret and vegetable wok with fresh mango barbeque sauce and crunchy lotus root'. What that description doesn't tell you is that the dish is a minor masterpiece of look and taste - perfectly cooked duck breast, wonderful fresh vegetables that had barely touched the wok and were full of colour and flavour, and a sensational sauce - wow!
We thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed, chic atmosphere at Opio and the addition of charming and efficient service, plus very good quality food makes for a soothing and reviving evening out. A gentle stroll afterwards around the buzzing local neighborhood, or along the nearby waterfront, completes a very pleasant experience.