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Review: Contra Vent restaurant - fresh every day

Everyone's welcome.....

Situated on the San Agustin road in Cala de Bou is a restaurant that bears some hunting down. Contra Vent goes in a different direction to a lot of restaurants, in that it cares deeply about the freshness and quality of its food. Yes, this is an increasing trend, but what separates this place, is the passion the owner puts into food sourcing. They also want you to leave feeling you've had a good experience and that you'll have a very full tummy. Quality and value are its watchwords.

It's very much a rustic style family restaurant which caters to a mainly local crowd at lunchtimes with its fixed price menu del día and to tourists and locals alike in search of a relaxed, intimate evening experience. Of course, you could go at any time of day and you'll be bound to find something you like since the restaurant offers a wealth of options: breakfast is served till 2pm; there's an all day lunch and dinner menu with grilled meats, fresh fish, fresh pasta and innovative pizza combinations; a selection of cured meats and tapas, and toasted sandwiches. There's a bouncy castle for kids and ample room to run about too, so you can sit back and relax as the children play.


Fresh local produce

A lot of thought has gone into the food provided: local fresh fish, crabs, lobster are carefully selected each day as is the meat, plus since it's all fresh, when it's gone, it's gone. All produce is sourced via the family shop, Es Cuco, and is as local as possible. There's also a traffic-light-like system for allergy sufferers, so all kinds of people are catered for. All potential allergenic foods are kept strictly separate in the kitchen too.

So, to the food: though tempted by the weekly paella, which lands each Thursday for lunch, we chose the all-day menu. We started with a lovely cold gazpacho, with fresh onion and tomato and croutons on the side to add texture; it's a great soup for a hot summer's day. The warm house salad came next, with chicory, salad vegetables, bacon and a good helping of goats cheese. Just for sheer delectability, we also took a portion of the puntillas: it's no lie to say that we polished these off in record time, and if it weren't for the mains, would have ordered more.


Tasty and juicy grills

We decided to share a couple of mains: a meat and a fish dish. The restaurant is well known for it's grilled meats, so we were were keen to sample one of those dishes. We opted for picanha, a Brazilian triangular cut of beef taken from the rump region of the cow. It has a blanket of fat that lent the resulting grilled meat a rich juiciness, with the charcoal adding an additional layer of flavour - it's not hard to see why this is the most popular meat option on the menu. One tip is to make sure you ask how you want it cooked here, since if you aren't local they might assume you'll want it well done since most northern Europeans want it that way.

The squid was really fresh and nicely cooked and came with a tasty side of cooked sliced peasant-style potatoes. Fernando, the manager informed us that they just won't keep fish longer than the day after it's been caught, that freshness thing isn't just empty words. A small warning, it does come with a generous sprinkling of chopped raw garlic, so if this isn't your thing, ask for less.


Rich desserts

We finished off with a traditional dessert of greixonera, a traditional Ibiza dessert, similar to British bread pudding. It's made with leftover sweet pastries called ensaimadas, eggs and milk. It's quite delicious and filling and maybe one to share if you are already full. The chocolate mousse we ordered was rich, creamy and unctuous. Not as filling as the greixonera, but certainly rich and a good choice. There's plenty of desserts on offer – you won't be left wanting.

For a nice family atmosphere, you'll like Contra Vent; if you like choice without compromising freshness, you'll like it even more. It's worth trying at any time of day.


Quick Facts:

What? Contra Vent Restaurant

Where? San Agustin road, Cala de Bou

When? Open all day from 7.30am until 2am

(NB: kitchen closes at midnight, though tapas are still available till close)

Why? Wide selection of very fresh food and a relaxing family atmosphere

Average spend per head? €27.50 without wine

*The menu del dia is €9.80 Monday to Friday and then on Saturday €17.95 and on Sunday, depending what you have is €22.95 or €24

Veggie Options? There aren't any vegetarian mains, though an ample selection of very varied pizzas and pasta is on offer or they can do a veggie paella on request

Disabled Facilites? Easy access from the roadside and a disabled toilet

Top tips? Go on a Saturday night to check out the live Flamenco music during summer

Room for Improvement? We pointed out that the restaurant does need to ask clients how they like their meat cooked. Our point was taken seriously and we hope this small point will be addressed soon.


WORDS | Julian Heathcote

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