La Vieja de Jonay Hernandez, Palma de Mallorca: ‘A restaurant where pretentious absurdity rules, and skills lack.’

With rave reviews flaoting about all over the bloody internet, I thought I should see what the hype was about. I have lost faith in Google reviews, and I don’t know who to trust anymore.

The Incredible Hulk (€9)
  • Food (4/10)
  • Value (5/10)
  • Service (8/10)

The evening hadn’t got off to the best start. We arrived at 7, however its true opening time was half an hour later and my boyfriend insisted on setting up camp to wait on a nearby bench whilst he exhibited his tetris skills on his phone, rather than going for a drink somewhere. I was literally sitting on a bench for 25 minutes outside the restaurant waiting for it to open, so I was already feeling a bit irritated about the whole affair. The solid 4,5 star review on google maps and 9,4 out of 10 on The Fork led me to believe that this would be the first genuinely good tapas place I have been to in a long time. The staff were incredibly welcoming, knowing all the dishes inside out and helping you choose what to order. It definitely exuded a sort of ‘young person energy’, in the sense that I couldn’t imagine my mum there. The location is perfect, the small restaurant sitting in a hidden square near Plaza España, next to some other bars and restaurants. After looking at the rather pricy menu and hoping it wouldn’t be me paying, we ordered a bunch of tapas.

The arepa stuffed with veal cheeks came as one singular small arepa for €4.10. It was fine, deathly boring and had a noticeable absence of any salt. The same with the pork bun with majorero cheese, there was just no flavour there. It was a laughably dead dish and began to set the tone for the evening. I think i’d already sunk a glass of wine at this point, which perhaps made the next course even more hilariously terrible. If you see the words “Chorizo cake with red wine icecream” on a menu, you’re going to bloody order it. Oh sweet jesus it was the most bizzare thing I have ever eaten, I was pissing myself laughing. The chorizo “cake” somehow tasted like an eggy, cakey version of when I used to put packets of burger cheese in the microwave on top of doritos. It tasted neither of cake, nor chorizo. It had generous piles of icing sugar on top, so it tasted incredibly sweet. The red wine icecream also didn’t taste of red wine in any way shape or form. It wasn’t even red, or cold? It was a big dollop of cream cheese and fucking €9.50.

Chorizo cake with red wine icecream (€9.50)

By this point in the meal I was resigned to the fact that we were throwing money down the drain in the name of trying new places. There was one plate still to come that held some sort of mysticism about it. I’d read a review of La Vieja by a local writer about an elusive “Fried egg cooked at two different temperatures with Potato Truffle Cream“, so I just had to order it to see what the fuss was about. Just the fact that they had to mention in the name of the dish that it was cooked AT TWO DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES, is so ‘look at me look at me!’ Its just baiting someone to go ‘oh wow, how can this be? Two..t..two different temperatures? my god we MUST ORDER THIS.’ There was a quotation from the Majorca Buletin review of this dish that really stuck with me. It was the most intense praise of something i’ve ever read in my life.

Good ol’ Andrew Valente from the Majorca Daily Bulletin described the fried yolk dish as “worth more than a 10 — perhaps also a gold medal so gigantic that even a black hole in outer space would be unable to suck it in.” Isn’t that a bit intense? Calm down, Andrew, it was just a fried and breaded yolk surrounded by foamy truffly averageness. The yolk was clearly frozen, crumbed and then deep fried, although poor Andrew seemed to think that the chefs performed some sort of witch craft to make it so. The yolk was liquid and cold in the middle, Andrew, its no mystery how they did it, and they didn’t even do it well at that. I might actually link this full article at the bottom as it’s quite entertaining to read. The dish was dead, and i paid £6,75 for it, so it hurt just that little bit more to eat.

We also had the canneloni, which tasted like any supermarket canneloni but cost a million times more. I feel like i’m being rather mean, but its not like anyone reads this blog anyway. What astounded me the most is that after all this my boyfriend still wanted to order dessert. He went for the ‘Incredible Hulk‘. Served on a ceramic hand, with a microwave sponge, a green chocolate lego (just why?) and a macaron, it was a rather confused dish. But, perhaps because it was sugar, we ate the whole thing anyway.

I’m just so perplexed. This place is really expensive for what it is, and the dishes lack flavour and direction. It seems as if they WANT to create edgy, intriguing dishes, but are just severely lacking something. Its plain arrogant to offer me a chorizo cake with red wine icecream and not deliver something genuinely delicious and interesting. It has all the pretentiousness of a fine dining menu, but without following through. I don’t care how ridiculous something sounds on a menu, but it needs to deliver. To me, it feels as if they want to shock and provoke, and be the restaurant with the ‘out there dishes’, but it’s not just hitting the mark, nowhere near. What is most bizzare is that the reviews online are often so positive, everyone appears to love it! What am i missing here? Someone has written “I have been in Palma many times, I have eaten in many places, but this one is just crazy! Amazing food, great presentation really affordable prices! Highly recommended.” I just don’t get it. So there we are, thats my opinion. Nothing makes sense anymore.

La Vieja de Jonay Hernandez, Plaça de Raimundo Clar, 11, 07002 Palma, Illes Balears

Mallorca Daily Bulletin Review by Andrew Valente


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