Aubergine Oozes Country Chic

Posted on June 27, 2015

Words: Iain Thomson
Images: La Skimal

The gastronomic explosion that Ibiza has enjoyed in recent years has been well documented, it has become a popular destination for foodies from all over the world, keen to sample some of the amazing dining concepts that have opened on the island. From the world’s most expensive table or celebrity tapas in the heart of Playa d’en Bossa to a shrimp shack at the edge of Talamanca, from fine dining in an exclusive beach resort to paella in the heart of one of the island’s villages, the choice is a varied as it is many. With so many choices when it comes to food you might think it difficult to be heard amongst the noise but, every now and then, a new eatery opens that captures the imagination, no matter how softly they whisper their intentions. One such venue is Aubergine, to be found on the road from Santa Gertrudis to San Miguel, which, after a soft launch without the usual Ibiza pomp and fuss, has steadily won the hearts of everyone that has had the pleasure of finding it.

aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal

From the main road, you don’t get the full picture of Aubergine, it looks very much like many of the charming whitewashed buildings dotted around the island. It’s not until you drive into the heart of the venue and park that you get a sense of its magnitude. Set in 15,000 square metres of Ibiza farmland it combines natural beauty, simple elegance and style to offer one hundred percent country chic, exuding the tranquility, silence and pace that the North of the island is famous for. Yolanda Torres is the driving force behind the concept, and after a successful marketing career that saw her build the biggest agency in Barcelona, she has returned to Ibiza, where she has been active in helping the tourist board stretch the Ibiza season as well as working on one of our favourite Ibiza brands, Atzaro Agroturismo. Yolanda meets us as we walk into the venue and offers to show us around. There are two outdoor terraces, side by side, and the first thing you notice is how much space each table has. Where every restaurant seems to be utilising every centimeter of its floor space, Aubergine offers a private dining experience for each table, even when the restaurant is full.

aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal

The white washed walls are complimented by pastel green doors, window frames and bar edges and as we make our way inside, you can just imagine passionate conversations taking pace over hearty meals in the depth of winter. There is a second space, which is home to a small shop and an area that will play host to art exhibitions and private functions. Aubergine promises a dining experience that is straight from the farm to your table and sitting in the terrace, protected from the midday heat of the sun by the wooden roof, with a cool breeze blowing across the table and fields full of vegetables around us, it is very easy to feel at one with the countryside. Any thoughts of what is happening in the real world soon dissipate as we look over the chalkboard at the dishes on todays menu. These can change depending on the chef and the availability or season of particular veggies. The menu is 70 percent veggie but there are more than enough options for the carnivores. Marnix is looking after us, Dutch born but with roots in Ibiza, where his parents have a home, yet another distinction from the more tourist based, seasonal eateries in the resorts of the south.

aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal

Yolanda joins us for lunch, giving us an insight into the thinking behind the concept. Offering fresh, natural food from the garden was always the foundation for Aubergine but it goes much further than that. The water that we are drinking, still and sparkling, in stylish glass bottles that you can also pick up from the shop, is natural rain water, gathered and filtered through a complicated osmosis system, with a percentage of the profits being donated to an African project to give clean water to kids. It feels like we dropped into Yolanda’s house for our lunch as she orders a series of dishes for the table – capresse de bufala, pollo payes, aubergine pastry – sliced with local cheese, jabugo ham platter, caramelised pumpkin salad with feta cheese and Ibiza wok with skirt steak. When they arrive our table is awash with brilliant colour, texture and some amazing aromas. The temptation to dive in before we have taken pictures was almost too great. We appease ourselves with a sip of a crisp, light, organic white wine – Blanc De Sere from L’Olivera Cooperative.

aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal

I guess the obvious question is do the veggies and salad taste like they have come direct from the farm to our table and the answer is a resounding YES! Fresh, crunchy, bursting with flavor and making for more than one exciting and delicious salad. The caramelised pumkin salad with feta cheese is a particular favourite although we did have to order a second caprese de bufala, which tells its own story. The polllo payes and Ibiza wok show that the kitchen is more than able to exceeding expectations of any palette, the mashed and sweet potatoes that accompany the chicken are unbelievably good. With Yolanda playing mum and dishing out the food, she reveals that although they have just opened, she has a few ideas for the venue, including a summer festival showcasing local produce as well as local musical talent with plenty of activities for the kids. The play area, in full view of both terraced areas, already makes it an attractive destination for families. With an all year round menu, there is also thoughts of an organic market showcasing vegetables and flowers in October. To be fair, the space offers so much; there is no end to the possibilities.

aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal

A short break ensues before the desserts arrive and there is just enough time to open another bottle of Blanc De Sere, I’m not a big fan of white wine but this is light and refreshing and compliments the meal, the weather and our surroundings perfectly. It’s not all about the cool water and the organic wine, however, you can have a coke or a beer if you want and if you want to stay on a healthy tip, there are also numerous fresh juices to choose from. Now, if you follow our restaurant ramblings regularly, you will be aware that we only really take a dessert to make sure you are all fully briefed on what to expect when you get to a venue. Well, this latest ‘one-for-the-team’ could be our favourite to date, and again, if you follow us, you know that is quite a statement. Just as before, when the main dishes landed on the table, the desserts make quite an entrance – crème brulee with apple surprise, pear in red wine, rasberry and blackberry cake with raspberry ice cream, rice pudding and chocolate brownie – offering a variety of decadence that doesn’t last too long after the green light is given. Eating pear soaked in red wine surrounded by fields as far as the eye can see just seems right but, for me, the raspberry and blackberry tart and home made raspberry ice cream is the clear winner. The rice pudding offers a twist on an original favourite, the apple at the bottom of the crème brulee is inspirational and who doesn’t like a chocolate brownie?

aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal

Aubergine is a restaurant where you can relax, be yourself – whether yourself wants to eat a healthy salad and fruit juice or some steak and a beer – without judgement. It a complete experience that includes its surroundings; the great food, the friendly welcome and a priceless, laid back vibe. It also promises to be one of those winter venues that double as meeting places for the community and with plenty of imagination and ambition within the team, there is no doubt that there will be no shortage of activity and reasons to head into the country. Aubergine is closed on a Monday but open the rest of the week all year round, if you do nothing else this year, make a booking and embrace the country chic of this brand new eatery, you will not be disappointed.

Reservations:
t: +34 971 090 055
e: info@aubergineibiza.com
w: www.aubergineibiza.com

aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal
aubergine_Ibiza by La Skimal