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Food review: La Llama, Santa Eulalia, Ibiza

Stylish and hip dining space offering a mix of high end and traditional cuisines.

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Why go? Great food, a hip setting, cool music and gorgeous decor

What kind of food is it? A successful marriage of top end modern and traditional

What diets does it cater for? It's a meat restaurant, with some vegetarian offerings

Ibiza Spotlight tip. Try the caviar topped cappelletti


The venue

It certainly felt like a privilege to be invited to La Llama, Ibiza's newest eatery at the W Hotel in Santa Eulalia. Many hotels have restaurants and often it's just the guests that frequent them. Here that's not the case: W Hotels are meeting points, places to hang out in, listen to great music and enjoy life.

You get to La Llama past the Bridge Bar, the dedicated hostelry that looks over the amphitheatre-like central atrium. This is a bar that's lined with every premium alcohol you can think of; a very comfortable spot to slink by for a preprandial cocktail.

This restaurant makes a statement. Look for the long sweeping canteen-style table with a gorgeous deep blue surface, the piano-key-like ceiling and the nautical copper heat lamps of the open kitchen. There's a variety of dining chairs, seating by the open kitchen or more privately, a space overlooking the pool and more. The devil is in the oh so stylish detail.

The ambience

Master chefs at work in the open kitchen

This being late in the Ibiza season, it's difficult to speak of what the true ambience is. What we can tell you, is that this restaurant is very inviting, luxurious and cosy. You can sit by the open kitchen and be part of the military style preparations or sit further away, with the pool area as your vista. Essentially, you choose your own level of involvement.

The high-tech mixing decks are a definite portent of things to come: W Hotels are all about the music and this being Ibiza, we can only expect fantastic things. Indeed W Hotels have been collaborating in events on the island since 2010, so watch this (exciting) space.

Mixing up a cocktail storm in the Bridge Bar

We loved the excellent, courteous staff, who kept the meal flowing with their professionalism and knowledge. This restaurant would make a great pre-club treat, post-rave hideout or just a beautiful venue for a quiet dinner with whomever you choose, from family to friends. Whatever it is, you'll enjoy this restaurant's welcoming arms.

The food

Pumpkin carpaccio topped with chilli, pumpkin seeds and olive oil

What kind of cuisine can you expect here? Well, it's pretty, it's cheffy and moreover, importantly, it's very tasty. We certainly wanted to try one of the steaks: there are three types of beef holding sway here, with two gold-medal-winning types, Finnish Ayrshire, the venerable Spanish Gallega Blond, plus Japanese Wagyu completing the triumvirate. More about this later.

Starters are always one of the best things on a menu and, to add even more small plate possibilities, there's an “In Between” section, with more taste treats. We ordered from both these parts of the menu, for research purposes of course.

White fish ceviche, encased in thin rolls of cucumber

From the starters' side came a white fish ceviche, encased in thin rolls of cucumber with a leche de tigre sauce. Exquisite and delicate, tasting of something quite special and achieving a clever balance of flavour without anything dominating.

We loved the dazzling pumpkin carpaccio: thin sheets of, we assumed though it was hard to tell, raw pumpkin, topped with fine slices of chilli, pumpkin seeds and olive oil. You flick your fork under, roll it round and then place it into the mouth, in case you were wondering. The stand out appetiser of all, with a potent chilli kick at the end.

Ajoblanco or chilled garlic soup is served chilled with char-grilled asparagus and deliciously-sweet cherry tomatoes. Our bit “between” was pure luxury comfort food: cappelletti pasta, stuffed with potato and asparagus, with a sauce of white butter and topped with a quenelle of caviar, yes really! I'd be happy to be spoon fed these if I become an old decrepit millionaire, though why wait that long to find out? I'd visit this restaurant just for these.

Our main event was a Tomahawk steak, a whopping amount of beef, which we had with a side of bone marrow. There are lots of other sides and sauces if that's what you wish. The meat came a perfect medium and on a hot plate, so you can turn it on its side and cook it some more if you want. With two of us being real steak lovers, we really appreciated this treat of delicious, tender, juicy steak. It was a meat mountain to conquer and we did it with gusto. The meat is seared and then finished in a wood oven adding layers of smoke flavour. It's a key speciality and very well executed.

A pair of desserts came, one called “Delicate Chocolate”, a blanket of chocolate brownie and poppy seed under which was a hidden a selection of ice cream, custards and crunchy chocolate. This was like hunting for treasure and elicited oohs and aahs from all of us as we plumbed new depths of gorgeous flavour. The second one was a large round goat's-cheese stuffed baklava, topped with pistachio, called Knafeh. This had us divided, it was almost savoury enough to be a starter, though we agreed that it would be ideal for those without a sweet tooth

We were very impressed with all that we sampled at La Llama and left aching to go back. This new restaurant cultivates a high standard of cuisine and the place really does deserve to make an impact on the Ibizan gastronomic scene.

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