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Food review: Nobu Ibiza Bay, Talamanca

One of the best restaurant experiences around.

The low-down

Why go? For one of the best restaurant experiences you will ever have

What kind of food is it? Peruvian-Japanese-fusion

What diets does it cater for? Fish is its speciality, though you will find plenty for non-meat eaters.

Ibiza Spotlight tip. Black Cod Miso!


In the world of high-end gastronomy, the Peruvian-Japanese-fusion restaurant Nobu has achieved worldwide acclaim almost beyond parallel, with branches in major cities all over the world. Head to the end for a short history of Nobu.

A few years ago, Ibiza became one of the lucky locations to be blessed with this outstanding restaurant. Nobu Ibiza Bay's executive head chef Giacomo Notarbartolo has created a menu that combines both the classic dishes for which Nobu has become famous as well as his own interpretations that have the flavour and influence of Ibiza. The results are stunning.

Nobu Ibiza Bay is located within the supremely stylish Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay in Talamanca Bay and is, we believe, one of the best hotels on the entire island. Walking into the main lobby here is like walking into a dream: gorgeous yet understated luxury with the idyllic pool area and its daybeds plus the sparkling sea beyond. Heavenly.

Hugely curious, we went along to sample the menu and see if we too would become fans of what Giacomo has created. Spoiler alert: we absolutely loved it, though read on to find out why.

The food

Spicy edamame

Arriving, we felt immediately at home. Matteo, who looked after us during the entire experience, was the most excellent host. We began with spicy edamame to open up the taste buds, before we were presented with a dizzying array of dishes as part of their tasting menu.

First we had an amazing sashimi dish: Yellowtail Jalapeño that came with garlic purée, shuzu and soya sauce topped with the chilli in fine slices. If you are looking for an auspicious food moment, this dish will do it - it was fantastic. Matteo suggested eating the coriander leaves on the plate to counter the jalapeño heat. It worked. Try it.

Yellowtail Jalapeño

More raw fish with the New Style Sashimi dish came along: tuna and salmon both slightly seared, flavoured with olive and sesame oils and simply divine. A special note goes to the Spinach Salad, which followed and managed to use truffle oil without it overpowering the dish as it often does. The secret: dry miso and yuzu juice.

Slightly seared tuna and salmon sashimi

With the next plate we were advised to eat the sweet/sour King Crab Tempura with its accompanying watermelon - again another great suggestion. Words almost fail me on how good this was.

Nobu's famous signature dish, the classic Black Cod Miso

And so, to the classic Black Cod Miso, a true Nobu signature dish. It's marinated in miso for three days and comes with a miso sauce, apricot and a type of pickled ginger called “aji-kami”. This you eat at the end to cleanse the palate after what was the most succulent and sweet cod we had all ever tasted.

One of our favourites, the Arctic Char

Next it was on to the Arctic Char fish dish. Yummy crispy skin still attached, the tenderest of delicious fresh fish, that's somewhere between salmon and trout and served with an excellent chilli salsa that was all about flavour rather than heat. Do try this one.

“Gambas al ajillo”, Nobu style

We moved on to a classic Ibizan dish - Nobu style: “Gambas al ajillo”. Sweet Ibizan
red prawns with yuzu, sake and soy. Absolutely fabulous and it pains me to say it, but for me it beats the classic version of the dish by a mile and a half.

Our trio of fantastic sushi

Finally, we had sushi. At Nobu, you really do have to. It's a big thing of theirs. Three different types came. One with tuna “toro”, the soft underbelly of the fish that is much prized by the Japanese and is the very best part. Another of sea bass, with more of that dry miso plus garlic chips on top, yes, chips! Finally we had the scallop “tiradito” with soya salt and rocoto (Peruvian peppers) paste, which my fellow diners absolutely adored.

Semifreddo - the king of desserts

It's really difficult to say which dishes are the best as they all vie with each other for amazing flavour, quality, freshness and originality. The same went for the Semifreddo dessert: passion fruit cream with a coconut crunch, pistachios and a Malibu foam. We could not have scraped clean the glass it was served in any more than we actually did. It was for us the king of sweet finishes.

The drinks

From left to right: Geisha Kiss, Lolita and the Lemongrass and Strawberry "Martini"

As you would expect, the drinks list here is awesomely good. My fellow Ibiza Spotlighter Tim was adamant that I give mention to the Asahi beer, which being dry and crisp is one of the most perfect complements for this style of food.

So, finally we move to the cocktails, which were quite extraordinary. I'm going to start with my non-alcoholic “Geisha Kiss”, because it was a revelation. Using the world's first alcohol-free gin, Seedlip, it had the most wonderful dry taste. With more and more people avoiding the booze, this cocktail means you really will not feel left out. They also do a nifty selection of intoxicant-free Gin and Tonics!

My colleagues were looking for more punch in their drinks and went for two regular cocktails. One, a Lemongrass and Strawberry Martini, a brilliant variation on the classic drink, served short and finished off with a dash of plum bitters.

For those that like a longer drink and more delicate flavours, we'd recommend the third cocktail in our trio, the Lolita: gin, elderflower liqueur, lime, jasmine syrup and a prosecco “foam”. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into their cocktails and we loved them.

If you think we've been over effusive with our praise in this review of Nobu Ibiza Bay, there's a simple reason why. It is absolutely sensational and one of the best eating out experiences we all agreed that we had had anywhere. You must give this place a try. Thank me later.

A brief history of Nobu

After training in Tokyo as a chef, Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, or “Nobu” as he is known to all, moved to Peru, where he found few Japanese ingredients and so improvised with what was available there. This sowed the first seeds of his now famous signature style of cuisine.

After gaining success in his Los Angeles restaurant, following a couple of failures and a fire which burnt down one restaurant, he was asked by actor Robert DeNiro, a fan of his food, to open a restaurant in New York back in 1987. He wasn't ready. Eventually though, four years later he gave into DeNiro's persistence and the first Nobu restaurant was born.

Today there are 32 branches of Nobu in major cities around the world, plus 12 Nobu hotels, with six more planned. A veritable success story.


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