Culinary Adventures In La Gaia

Posted on June 28, 2019

Words: Jason Eybe

It’s impossible to keep track of the number of times I find myself counting my blessings that I get to call Ibiza home. The island constantly surprises from turning a corner and witnessing a spectacular view to meeting interesting new people and cultivating relationships with fellow residents and business associates. It is one of those relationships that I can thank for my latest island adventure, the brand new tasting menu at La Gaia, the spectacular dining experience to be found in the Ibiza Gran Hotel. We have enjoyed a fantastic working relationship with Javier at Ibiza Gran Hotel in recent years, which has evolved into a friendship, so when he invited my wife Jo and I to sample the new tasting menu for my birthday, we couldn’t say yes fast enough.

The Ibiza Gran hotel has been setting the bar for excellence within the Balearic hotel scene for as long as we can remember and we have been fortunate to witness the hotel’s evolution. From its early days, where we spent time covering the International Music Summit to more recent Gala Dinner invitations, La Gaia food reviews and family staycations. This time last year, in fact, we hosted a three day workshop for our new technology start up Vedra AI, with our partners from London, Singapore and Glasgow flying in and staying in the hotel for three days. It was the first time we had a chance to experience the business side of the operation, taking advantage of the fantastic conferencing facilities and it was as impressive as every other aspect of the Ibiza Gran Hotel. No matter where you look, Ibiza Gran Hotel exceeds expectations, from the stunning two-pool selection, the relaxing spa and the stylish design and décor, it gets everything just right. It offers a Casino to world travellers, there’s a food, performance and club collaboration with the famous Adriá brothers and Guy Laliberté in HEART and, of course, it boasts one of the island’s finest dining experiences in La Gaia, the hotel restaurant.

Chefs
Aperitif

It doesn’t matter how many times you have driven past this amazing hotel, or how many times you walk through those main doors, there’s still an air of expectation as you stop in front of the entrance, an excitement of the possibilities that lie ahead. Inside, the main lobby boasts a huge atrium, where three dimensional art is showcased spectacularly; in fact, the hotel has a long running relationship with some of the world’s most innovative artists, and their art can be seen throughout. The lovely Louisa is there to meet us when we arrive and take us into La Gaia, with restaurant legend Alvaro walking in beside us, prompting all eyes to turn towards us as we make our way in; we felt like royalty! Our adventure begins at the high table, where a welcome cocktail and a selection of aperitifs are presented. This is just a teaser for what is to come, and one that tantalises the taste buds without impacting our appetite. We’re like a couple of kids at Christmas – the combination of a rare foray out at night as a couple, due to work commitments during the season and being back in one of our favourite restaurants in the work – as we are shown to our table, a nervous anticipation about what is about to unfold.

Cocktails
Orange Blossom

La Gaia is every bit the world class dining destination, in every way but one. There is nothing stuffy or pretentious about the experience; the team is thoroughly professional and ready to exceed every expectation but it’s goes about its business in a relaxed and friendly way, with the calm that comes with knowing you are at the very top of your game. Our needs are well looked after, by Pol and his team, sometimes before we even realise that we need anything, but at no point does it feel intrusive. The tasting menu is a great concept, it offers the chance to sample a diverse range of dishes that really showcase the talent of the kitchen and give you an insight into the personality of the chef, in this case Óscar Molina. This experience is only priced at 80 euros per person, which doesn’t include drinks, we would recommend going the little bit extra and adding the wine pairing, taking advantage of the sommelier’s knowledge to make sure every glass complements that specific course.

Food

Four hours pass in the blink of an eye, time really does fly when you’re enjoying yourself. We are a small part in an epic display of gastronomic theatre of the very highest order! All around something is happening, from waiters searing meat with mini kitchen blowtorches at tables to highly trained staff going about their business with precision. Chef Óscar Molina is known for his innovative culinary adventures, a previous advocate of the Nikkei culinary technique, he has taken things to a completely new level for this season, adopting the Mediterranean Kaiseki philosophy which offers a combination of haute cuisine and creative expression, resulting in an evolving gastronomic ceremony that encapsulates the five senses, embracing the local environment, incorporating high quality local ingredients, turning the Balearic islands and the Mediterranean sea into the stars of this new dining experience.

Guisantes Lágrima Con Bacalao2

The menu is rich and dynamic and packed with unbelievable collaborations; from the fresh ceviche style oyster with ikura roe to the stingray ravioli with marinated razor clams and tsume foam or the tuna belly usuzukuri with aji rocoto tiger’s milk, yuyo and chicha morada juice and a persona favourite, the beef sirloin with rocoto chilli pepper sauce. The presentation is bettered only by the taste but it’s almost a travesty to tick in and destroy the culinary art on the plate in front of us. Our home village of Santa Gertrudis makes a starring appearance in the dessert section with an interesting but tasty curdled sheep’s milk from Santa Gertrudis and there’s an exotic cold fresh fruit option too. It’s the perfect balance between land and sea and one that you will not forget in a hurry.

Tronco De Lomo De Vaca1

A night in La Gaia is so much more than going for dinner. It’s a journey that stars with your entrance into the sumptuous surroundings of this luxury hotel and ends with you looking back on a journey of excellence and sophistication that is best described in the Executive Chef’s own words; “We are not going to settle for an excellent meal and a high quality service. We want to make a difference by gifting our clients with special moments while being able to move them throughout a very personal and caring treatment that makes them feel like at home. This new gastronomic bet at La Gaia is with no doubt my most personal project, it talks about me and everything that surrounds me. Every recipe is a reflection of my travels, experiences, knowledge and influences.”

LA GAIA INFO:
Reservations: www.ibizagranhotel.com/gastronomia/la-gaia-japeruvian
Hours: Monday to Sunday 20.00 – 1.00
Average Price Per Person €80 – 100

Dessert