In the heat of the peak summer months, it’s not uncommon to want to catch a moment outside of the touristic buzz. The island is restless and sometimes the only way to keep up is to drawback. One of my favourite ways to unwind is with a great dinner and so when the foodie’s one-to-watch Markus Chef’s Kitchen invited Discover Ibiza to the table, it was an invite gladly accepted. A newcomer to the gastronomy scene, the restaurant’s removed location and vision headed by celebrated international chef Mark Gelman makes this establishment a promising contender.
On a balmy midweek evening, we made our descent into sleepy San Lorenzo to find out how Gelman’s creation squares up. With locations in Monaco, Saint Tropez and London, the concept for Ibiza couldn’t be truer to the White Isle’s roots. The eatery sits on what is known as ‘restaurant road’ in the village, thick stretches of countryside lead onto it where a few other restaurants can be found. Being further into the north, yet still central enough to be a quick drive, the air of calm that hit us as we walked in was unmistakable. When glitz and glamour are taken away, the island’s beauty and serenity is best experienced in areas like these. Shrouded in palm trees and leafy shrubs, upon our entrance inside we were greeted by a curt host who swiftly took us to our table, introducing us to the concept and talking us through the menu.
Sat in the open-air underneath suspended wicker lanterns, we felt a world away from the commotion of the south. The sky above us had begun its shift into hues of pink and set the ultimate backdrop for taking in a refreshing drink. A bubbling mimosa and non-alcoholic gin were delivered to the table while we eyed up the menu’s offerings. The sin-free gin was a personal favourite, standing out for its wonderfully fresh zing with the effervescent, herbal tonic it melded with. In front of us we could see chef Gelman and team whizzing up a storm in the outdoor kitchen while the central bar beside it kept punters entertained with flair bartending. We’ve all been there with fiddling over menu choices yet seeing the dishes come to life before us certainly helped our senses come around. With a recommendation from our host, we settled on Moroccan lamb cigars and grilled baby chicken.
Gelman’s philosophy is focused on top-quality ingredients, fashioning them into Mediterranean-based dishes with an international flair. We could see his Middle Eastern heritage when the dishes arrived. The lamb cigars stood taut, crisp in its breaded-shell that came with a smattering of salsa – nested in a bed of leaves. When broken into, the most sensational filling of spiced meat oozed out. It was clear a considered mix of seasoning had come together to create an addictive lamb concoction – the perky salsa a perfect antidote to the warming, full-bodied stuffing. By now, our settings had dimmed, gentle chatter filled the air as soft lighting switched on to illuminate our tropical garden surroundings.
With the atmosphere playing its part in relaxing us further in, we couldn’t help but think of only the food before us. The chicken dish which we sampled next was a standout winner. Served up with baby potatoes chargrilled on the flame, the succulent meat had flavour that reached right to the bone. The ingredients were simple. It can be said that you can’t go wrong with a meat and potatoes, yet here, the attention to quality is what elevated every morsel – we could taste the freshness of produce with every bite.
With the generous portions in check, all that was left to do for the rest of the night was to take in the idyllic settings. We could see the chefs circling the tables and making conversation with guests while the Balinese-lounge had filled up with groups whiling away the night.
It’s fair to say Gelman’s haunt is a must for a relaxing evening away and tasting the fruits of Ibiza’s rich soil.
Discover and book your experience today at Markus Chef’s Kitchen