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Food review: Pacha Restaurant, Ibiza Town

Decadent pre-club dinner at the iconic twin cherries.

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Why go? Convenient late dinner option for anybody attending Pacha club night later the same night or for those who want to immerse themselves in a vibrant setting.

What kind of food is it? Mediterranean and Japanese fusion food, dishes with added flamboyance.

Who is it for? Whether as a couple or as part of a larger group, this is a restaurant for those with plenty of disposable income and an appreciation for ambitious dishes presented with flair. Meat, fish and vegetarian options available.

Best table? Much like the rest of the building, the layout doesn't conform to classsical symmetry and here each table tells a different story - all tables are great in essence.

Although Pacha's lineage can be traced back to Catalonia in mainland Spain, for all intents and purposes it is a brand that has adopted Ibiza as its home. That bond is one that's been reciprocated.

During its '70s heyday, the island's glamorous and hedonistic nature aligned with that of Pacha's own evocative spirit. Its name and iconic cherry logo is synonymous with discernable sophistication. Decadent yet classy.

Pacha's network of clubs reach around the world, but the flagship Ibiza venue is the measuring yard against which all the others are compared. Any establishment that bears its name is a guarantee of quality, with this onsite restaurant being no exception.

Pacha restaurant head chef, Andy Ruano

Himself being Ibicenco, that heritage will be more than familiar to new head chef, Andy Ruano.

Replacing former incumbent Luis Lassa in time for the 2019 season, Andy has the challenging task of continuing the fine work of his predecessor. We can already tell you that his abilities have met that grade.

Starting out

A seductive platter from the adjoining Sushi Lounge

To begin, a bite-sized appetiser arrived in the form of a macaroon burger. Sprinkled with parmesan cheese and filled with a pesto pattie, it succeeded in being both sweet and savoury. These dainty snacks energised our tastebuds from the off.

Sushi forms a large part of the menu here, what with a specialist lounge being located next door. The sampling platter would be next to arrive. A pretty dish, this selection of raw fish and rice morsels came with a spicy ginger compote. Fiery wasabi cleansed our palate, before we cooled our throats with bountiful slabs of salmon and tuna dipped in fine soy sauce.

Chicken gyozas - parcels of joy

Making sushi is a real skill and we were very taken by the art of one of them with rolled vine-leaves, scattered in salmon eggs - their subtle heat stole our hearts.

The next sizeable portion to arrive was the chicken gyozas. Delectable parcels drizzled in a rich aromatic curry sauce and tossed in peanut shavings, they were again presented with an acute eye for detail.

Moving on

The Mediterranean octopus, a dish where flavour and aesthetics align

Thus far we had tasted the delights of the orient, but time had come to sample a Mediterranean delicacy. This manifested in the form of a majestic grilled octopus dusted in seasoning. Sitting on a throne of olive mash, from the crispy tip of its tentacle to the succulent body, it was arguably the height of our culinary experience.

Both the flavour and texture fell somewhere between poultry and shellfish. The splashes of lemon, avocado and olive puree gave further depth to a compelling plate of food - where flavour was matched by a striking visual prowess. Like a recipe smuggled from Davy Jones' locker from 20,000 leagues under the sea, this was a dish to be treasured.

On the butcher's block

Having already eaten so much, our main courses were next out. With juices running to a hint of pink, the beef fillet was perfectly charred on the outside and rare within. Even the novelty butcher's cleaver - deputising for the traditional steak knife - seemed an authentic touch, instead of an impractical gimmick.

Equally, the blackened cod was cooked faultlessly. The mouthwatering fish came accompanied by a dazzling honey glaze, a seeded poached fig and a quaint pile of shiitake mushrooms.


Rude food: Pacha's self-styled orgy of desserts

Referred to us affectionately as an “orgy”, an assorted platter of highlights from the dessert menu was presented for tasting. Much like its conjugal namesake, active participation was key here. There was nothing left to do but grab a spoon and indulge without shame.

Graham Sahara spins for diners above the iconic cherries logo

Miniature lemon meringue pies mingled in the centre. Milk chocolate twirls arched over melt-in-the-mouth blancmange bites. A mango ice cream lolly, coated in a layer of white chocolate bent over backwards in full-frontal audacity. All served on an inverted ceiling mirror - our eyes didn't know where to look first.

Yet the most surprising element of the whole dish was the unassuming basil sorbet which seduced us from the peripherals. We would never have guessed unless we had been willing to loosen our inhibitions.

Naturally, the centrepiece was a giant glacier cherry - what else? Filled with whipped cream and glittering with a gloss of gold cosmetics, she was Lady Muck - orchestrating the other elements of the dish. Naughty but nice, we wiped the plate clean feeling a little sordid but very satisfied.

Appropriately, given the extravagant curtain that ran the length of the restaurant, our visit would fall on a Monday. Mondays at the club being home to cloaked host Claptone for his Masquerade residency.

By activating the minimum spend (€95pp), you gain admission to the club night afterwards - there's no need to buy a ticket. With ticket prices on the door reaching up to €70 on selected nights, you can understand why this represents great value. Particularly if you have a plush dinner planned anyway.

Monday night club host, Claptone the conjuror

After exercising our right to another glass of wine each post dessert, we would eventually meander to the dance floor.

Claptone may be the illusionist known for his powers of suggestion and manipulation, but there was no smoke and mirrors when it came to the food. Bold, flamboyant dishes made with assured vivacity. Perhaps there was a sprinkling of magic, but no deception.

PHOTOGRAPHY | Michael Tomlinson

WORDS | Stephen Hunt and Jo Dargie

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