Ibiza’s famous Pikes hotel is known for its hedonistic night time parties. But as Scott Manson finds out, it’s become a favourite with discerning diners too….
On an island full of legendary places of eat, drink and party, Ibiza’s Pikes stands head and shoulders above much of the opposition. It’s been the hotel stay of choice of many decadent celebrities over the years – Grace Jones and Freddie Mercury to name two of its most regular customers. And no superstar DJ who visits the island can claim to be a true Ibiza veteran unless they’ve spent at least one ‘lost’ evening at its legendary in-house nightclub.
But, more recently, a gastronomic renaissance has hit this wonderfully quirky finca-turned-boutique bolthole. While the island’s hippest in-the-know visitors still flock there for its brilliant parties, more and more of them are also dropping in for a long, lazy lunch or a late-night dinner – prior to a night of cutting loose on the dance floor.
It’s a truly unique space and worth wandering around before dinner. There’s surprise and delight at every turn, from a giant mural of a cat wearing a monocle, to a piece of Tracy Emin-esque neon slogan art. The restaurant, Room 39, serves up modern takes on classic dishes, many of them with a British stance. Indeed, its Sunday roast has been described by many as the best on the island.
But we’re here to sample Saturday’s fare and, settling in with a bottle of delicious Whispering Angel rose wine, our table was soon filled with nibbles – fat green olives, beautiful breads, gossamer-thin slices of local ham and pungent aioli – with the added bonus that our meal was soundtracked by a DJ playing low-key, atmospheric Balearic classics as we dined.
It’s a well-chosen menu, just staying the right side of experimental, with plenty to challenge the palate – but without making less adventurous diners feel intimidated. The pressed octopus, served with burnt grapefruit, avocado and pistachio was a delightful starter, as was the silky, simple pleasure of a white onion velouté, delicately studded with truffle.
But it’s the mains that are the star of the show, with one in particular – the Gallego beef sirloin – providing a melt-in-the-mouth, umami-packed punch. The beef hails from Galicia, where cows are allowed to live for longer, which gives the meat more marbling and a deeper flavour. In short, it tastes like beef should and, at €32, is an absolute steal. Similarly strong was a beautiful, pearly chunk of cod loin in a mahon crust, served with buttered leeks and curried mussels. It was a subtle, almost smoky dish and one that saw me scooping several servings of it from my partner’s plate. On the side, some crispy fries with a perfect fluffy centre (served with Ibiza salt, of course) gave us the carb energy boost we craved.
Even better was that, once done, we could waddle over to the poolside and sit in the shade as our children played, as we ruminated on a place that’s managed the near-impossible feat of being a raver’s paradise by night, and a gourmand’s delight by day. But when you go for dinner at Pikes, it’s surely rude not to head on in afterwards for a bit of dance floor action? But that’s a story for another day….
Need To Know – Great Events At Pikes This Summer
Back for the second year running, Choose Love is a charity event in aid of Help Refugees. Syrian TV Chef and former refugee Imad Alarnab takes over the Pikes kitchen to prepare a mouth-watering Syrian dinner. Booking essential!
Ronnie Scott’s Live
Straight from London’s Soho is Ronnie Scott’s Live – a series of dinner and live music dates throughout the season as part of the legendary jazz club’s 60th birthday celebrations.
For more information and to make a booking, go to www.pikesibiza.com.