Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Little Taste of Ibiza

A quick couple of days in Ibiza made for a seriously therapeutic treat. We did manage one rather short evening of partying but the main focus was food and a bit of sun-cramming before enduring a long British winter - and having endured a long British summer.

The highlight was a spa day at the five star Hotel Hacienda. For €70 we got to experience the incredible view, stunning surroundings and luxury of the venue, along with a full body massage delivered through various kinds of water jets in a series of pools, AND a three course lunch.

The place is normally pretty crowded by its supermodel and DJ clientele, but by the beginning of October there was hardly anyone else there, which made it feel even more exclusive.

We felt very pleased with ourselves, admiring the view in the hot sun (imagining the cold in England) and sipping cava while we waited for our spa slot.

Next, we were admiring the view again, but this time from bubbling pools of salt water, teetering on the edge of the cliff.

After that we enjoyed the view from our restaurant table, right at the highest point of the hotel and indeed the mountain. The starter was a tapas plate of broad bean and mint salad, tempura prawns and sweet chili sauce (yawn), ricotta toasts, rabbit samosas and chilled asparagus cream. All very nicely done.

The main course was grilled salmon steak, octopus stew, steak and a lamb chop, all served on solid slabs of salt – ideal for a sodium chloride addict such as myself. The meat was seared to crispiness on the outside, pink within. They were accompanied by a buckwheat tabouleh.

Steak and lamb chop was served on a block of salt

I thought I didn’t have room for dessert or care much about it, but the beautifully presented platter of mini-puds was particularly good, and rather less of them than promised were donated to a friend. I forgot to photograph them in my haste to taste. They included a little ice-cream cone filled with chocolate, a rich vanilla ice-cream and a lemon tartlet.

We didn’t want our special day to end just yet, so after lunch we slurped on the best mojitos ever in the world ever while watching the sunset. The designated driver had the best ever virgin mojitos in the world ever, which were literally – and I mean literally – as good as the boozy ones.

We went home for a nap followed by cava and a giant paella at the unassuming Villa Manchega. Such a waste – it was a really good one but the three-person pan-full was enough to feed 12. We didn’t have a fridge at the hotel so we had to leave the copious leftovers at the restaurant.

Other memorable meals included our first meal of the holiday when we had seafood and the saltiest, most garlicky garlic purée/mayo imaginable (that is a good thing, by the way) at the Restaurante El Carmen; a seafood selection with chips and rosé from the Cala Gracio beach café (owned and run for 40 years by a charming native Ibizan guy who’s married to a lady from Burnley and called us 'lasses'); and posh nosh at Villa Mercedes.

Squid and grilled red mullet at Resaurante El Carmen (above); 
Last meal of grilled sardines (below).