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Food Review: Ve Café, Santa Eulalia, Ibiza

Super-healthy eating cascades onto Santa Eulalia's promenade.

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Why go? To eat delicious and nutritious vegan and vegetarian food

What kind of food is it? Fresh raw food and cooked tofu, served in bowls

What diets does it cater for? Everyone who prioritises a healthy and meat-free lifestyle.

Ibiza Spotlight tip. Make sure you order plenty of pitta bread to enjoy every dollop of the delicious hummus.


The Venue

As the diversity and quality of dining options available to visitors to the genteel resort of Santa Eulalia continues to improve, a new café offering plant-based food has just opened on the seafront. Strollers along the town's promenade will be halted by the arresting sight of this impressive new venue, Ve Café, at the front of the deluxe W Hotel.

Open all year from morning to evening, Ve Café is glazed on three sides giving it a brightness, which is further illuminated by the vibrant colours of the fresh produce on display. The interior is clean and functional with rustic touches, including some unique and ingenious juniper wood chandeliers.

The aquamarine tiled surfaces of the kitchen spill out of the doors and flow down a stepped terrace towards the sea, uniting the inside with the superb view.

The Ambience

Relaxed and welcoming, Ve Café entices visitors from the moment their eyes catch the alluring cascade of colourful cushions dropping down to the promenade. It is such an inviting spot to watch as the people pass by on their way to the beach and to indulge in the morning sunshine. There is an abundance of shade too, so you needn't worry about sitting in the direct sunlight.

Informality is the key. The service is fast and friendly and it is a pleasure to wander through the venue to view the chefs hard at work preparing your food in the open kitchen.

The Food

Ve Café has taken the concept of bowl dining, which is currently sweeping the culinary scene, and applied it to a purely vegetarian and vegan menu. The owners have designed a selection of dishes, each with a distinct identity, that are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the restaurant or to take away for a picnic on the beach.

Produce is sourced from the owners' market garden in the island's rustic interior and everything is organic and ethically farmed. The result is a menu full of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, straight from the farm to the table.

Making our selection from no less than five alternative hummus varieties, served in giant portions with home made pitta, we opted for the "Alla Norma" with stewed tomato and aubergine. I'm going to stick my neck out here, at the risk of upsetting my wife, and proclaim this particular blend to be the nicest hummus I've ever tried, testified by the three-way contest to mop up the last drop.

We experimented with a selection of bowls from the hot and salad choices, representing the typical recipes of various nations, some accompanied by vegan substitutes such as cauliflower rice or couscous. Each bowl was uniquely different and all of them captured the essence of that nation's cuisine.

Spicing it up Mexican style

Mexico was represented, as you might expect, by a spicy combination of beans, avocado, tomatoes and limes, for a spice lover like me, some more of those delicious jalapeños would have made this even better.

The Chiang Mai was a mild, yet still satisfying, version of a traditional Thai green curry. Packed with roast aubergine and tofu, the curry sauce was given a sweet and sour lift with the addition of lemon juice and fresh mango.

A Korean noodle bowl, enhanced with all the flavours of that country's increasingly popular cuisine, contained glass noodles, wakame, avocado, toasted sesame and a hint of wasabi. However, I feel a little vegan kimchi on the side would have been a nice addition.

We were bowled over by the fishless shirashi

Biggest surprise was the Japanese fishless shirashi. This deconstructed sushi, with roasted tofu and the crunch of crispy nori chips, was an excellent demonstration of what Ve Café does so well. Everything we love about going to a sushi bar was there but with a huge dose of eco-sensitivity. The deliciously salty roasted tofu (what is happening to me?) easily compensated for the lack of fish in this intriguing dish.

Fabulous poached pear

Almost all of the desserts at Ve Café will satisfy vegans and those with gluten intolerance. The three that we tried, chocolate and tahini mousse, a very soft poached pear with a toffee chocolate sauce and a vegan brownie, were all very rich and tasty.

Ever wondered how they could make a mousse without dairy or egg white? Me too. The one we tasted was smooth and creamy, enhanced by the extra dimension of the slightly bitter tahini and a sprinkle of roasted sesame on top. Delicioso.

Ve Café certainly has the promise to become Ibiza's premiere plant-based venue. The variety of dishes to choose from and beautiful location mean that we are itching to go back and sample some of the bowls we have missed. We left feeling happily full and healthier than when we first walked in.

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