Firo Vázquez Turns Food Into Edible Art At Nikki Beach Ibiza

Posted on August 12, 2019

Words: Olivia Ebeling

Images: La Skimal

It’s no secret that Ibiza is a leading destination where world-class electronic music and state-of-the-art clubs are concerned. However, in recent years the White Isle’s culinary scene has massively caught up and you can now expect the same lofty standards for your Balearic gourmet adventures. From authentic local produce to global chef talent jetting in and out of the island, there is a dining experience for every taste – quite literally. And last week saw a uniquely creative foodie event take over glamorous seaside hotspot Nikki Beach Ibiza for a very special occasion: A tasting menu by ‘The Paper Chef’ Firo Vázquez.

Hailing from Béjar [Salamanca, Castile-León], the kitchen star is one of Spain’s most renowned chefs and his restaurant, El Olivar de Moratalla in the Murcia region, has been awarded two suns by the Guia Repsol, the Spanish equivalent of the Guide Michelin. Using edible paper to craft colourful, multi-textured pieces of art on a plate, for his Nikki Beach Ibiza Chef’s Table Vázquez had created a six-course feast full of imagination and flavour using the finest Mediterranean ingredients and, well, paper.

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As we enjoyed welcome drinks on the ME Ibiza hotel’s elegant and mercifully breezy Radio Rooftop terrace in the golden glow of another sweltering July evening, we couldn’t help but wonder what unusual creations would end up on our plates! Paper, while having many uses, is not exactly a culinary element you encounter often – in fact, the only occasion we could think of, was the use of ‘Body of Christ’ wafers in religious ceremonies. Suitably intrigued, we followed down to the neighbouring Nikki Beach Ibiza, which had been transformed from trendy daytime party palace to a glamorous dining spot.

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With floral wreaths hanging from the ceiling and illuminated letters spelling out the venue’s name behind the – now completely still – turquoise pool, the scene could have been set for a wedding or an equally grand occasion. Perusing the menu, we noticed that each course had been divided into the five elements – with one surprise remaining for the grand finale! Chef Firo, the man of the moment, came out to greet us and explained the theme of the night further, as he would continue to do with every course that followed. He told us, “The menu has been designed to demonstrate the different types of edible paper and its uses.”

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Our meal began with the colourful Nikki Beach Millefeuille representing the element air, a flavoursome creation consisting of mango, goat cheese, Manchego cheese and acorn ham layered between edible paper sheets and decorated with delicate snowflakes of the same material for an expert juxtaposition of sweet and savoury aromas. It was followed by followed by The Written Story of Nikki Beach (fire), a hollowed out book with a personalised – and edible – cover that held red shrimp in a garlic dressing served on a bed of shredded edible paper that resembled seaweed or strands of salads.

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After such an imaginative start, the next course was a surprise treat described as a ‘snake egg’, which had some of us crying out in shock while others needed to be reassured that it wasn’t actually real. Painted like a dark green snakeskin and delicated balance on a bed of sprouts that looked like miniature serpents themselves, when we bit into the shell it unveiled itself to be a tasty quail’s egg. The element water was represented by a tender blue fin tuna steak accompanied by black garlic ‘ajoblanco’ and fresh orange zest, served in an edible paper bowl. Symbolising ‘earth’, a succulent Carré of suckling lamb with peas, majao and a delicate sheet infused with lamb juices and dried flowers had us swooning, our minds well and truly blown by now.

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Last, but not least – or so we thought – a hot apple tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was served in an edible paper bag while we were serenaded by a live saxophonist to incredibly romantic effect. However, it wouldn’t be a Nikki Beach dining experience without a final show-stopping surprise, and just as we were about to leave, the pièce de résistance was brought out: a teepee tent modelled after the beach club’s logo, complete with a smouldering miniature fire inside and surrounded by golden sand made from cake crumble. Thank you, Firo Vázquez and Nikki Beach Ibiza, for an evening that truly wowed all of our senses!

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