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Review: the coastal oasis of Kumharas Ibiza

Drinks, food and entertainment in blissful San Antonio Bay.

Ibiza is renowned for being one of the prime sunset spots on the planet.

The famous bars that line the paseo have since been replicated with franchises the world-over, but the hustle and bustle of the sunset strip isn't for everyone. Sometimes a more mellow and inconspicuous setting is called for.

Fortunately, Ibiza offers this too - and you don't have far to go to find it. Kumharas occupies an oasis a little further south around San Antonio Bay, though such a contrast from the bright lights of San Antonio, it seems like a world away.

Whether you visit for drinks, food, entertainment or any combination of the three, here's why Kumharas is a must-do for those gorgeous moments at dusk.

The setting - perpetual calm

Kumharas' pre-eminent feature, is its replica of the defence tower. This iconic symbol is a familiar sight along Ibiza's coastline and can be traced back its storied colonial past. The grand centre-piece - and Kumharas' emblem - is a nod to the heritage of the island it calls home.

Distressed wood resembling shipwrecked timber, protrudes out, forming a canopy above the service hatch. These are supported by the skeletal remains of what once were trees, seemingly ravished by some high-magnitude force of nature.

If these features conjure images of chaos and destruction, by contrast, the atmosphere at Kumharas could not be more opposite. Blissfully laidback and tranquil, the scene is surely the perpetual calm after the storm.

Mouth watering concoctions

Indeed, we can scarcely imagine a better place to enjoy a cocktail at sunset - and the range at Kumharas are made lovingly.

Literally a stone's throw away from the patio, is the rugged shoreline. Unlike other seafronts on Ibiza, there's no sand here - but this is no arid landscape.

The rocky floor is striking and provides context to the turquoise waters. As the surf rolls in, it fizzes like prosecco in the shallows. When the light catches the water's edge just the sun dips behind the islet of Sa Conejera, the colours are mesmerising.

Even the tall reeds that line the perimeter and overhang, lend charm to the locale.

Browse the onsite hippie stalls for souvenirs

After the sun has disappeared below the horizon, why not peruse the stalls that line the veranda? Selling a range of worldly trinkets, bohemian clothing and hand-made jewellery, here is another homage to Ibiza's past - this time its hippie culture.

Entertainment - an Ibiza favourite

Paco Fernandez is a fully paid-up Ibiza legend. We should know. We have fond memories of him being our guest of honour at our 40th anniversary celebrations in 2016.

Fusing traditional flamenco with electronic music, he has created a style all of his own. The performance features elements of turntablism as well as a Latin rapper. Paco's own skilled display on the acoustic guitar is the focus. Of course, it wouldn't be complete without a flamenco dancer.

Feel the music - Spanish folk fused with electronica and rap

If you're as yet uninitiated, you can catch Paco Fernandez and his band playing the sunset set at Kumharas every Tuesday until the end of the season.

Food - delights of Asia

Welcoming and friendly, towering Angelino is the gentle giant maître d'. He assisted us in selecting a wine, based on our food choices and his extensive knowledge of the list. The Vina Pomal rioja from the Bilbao region was the perfect complement to the meat curries.

Unlike other island restaurants that choose to err on the side of caution, Kumharas make no apologies for the intensity of some of its dishes. Anybody who likes a kick to their curry should take this onboard.

Inspired by his recent visit to Sri Lanka, head chef Manute Alonso has returned full of ideas, reflected in the Kumharas menu. The taste-sensation that is the lamb curry demands to be tried. Having recently returned from the country ourselves, we can vouch for its authentic aromas.

There are plenty of other dishes to shout about here, like the thai red curry with its crunchy beansprouts and strips of chicken. Other highlights include the prawn curry and the vegetarian wok, with its melt-in-the-mouth chickpeas - a bit of a slow burner.

Kumharas offers a range of curry dishes from India, Thailand and Sri Lanka

Not being vegan ourselves, we perhaps need a few more attempts to be won over by meat-substitute, seitan. There's no disputing the delicacy of the accompanying yellow curry sauce, however.

Those with a more delicate palate can request all available dishes are served with this milder yellow sauce.

Even the desserts hit the spot. If you're looking for something truly Ibizan, order the mint-infused cheesecake known as Flaó. It's definitely worth trying - what are holidays for, but broadening your horizons?

Left: traditional Flaó, right: chocolate mousse

Personally, it's the chocolate mousse with its biscuit base and creamy hazelnut sauce that had us making all kinds of satisfied noises and lingering on that last lick of the spoon.

The decor, the menu and the soundtrack - all draw from a range of influences from around the world, but the result is unmistakably Balearic in execution.

Kumharas closes its doors for the 2019 season on Sunday 29 September, with live performance from musical quintet AWAKAKA Sound. That means one final opportunity to enjoy Kumharas' weekly programme - including Paco Fernandez (24 September) and its street food market (26 September).

PHOTOGRAPHY | by Michael Tomlinson

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