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Food Review: A glimpse into the avant-garde cuisine of Etxeko

An essential landmark on the gastronomic map of Ibiza

We are very privileged at Ibiza Spotlight to have the opportunity to eat at the best restaurants on Ibiza and Formentera and to share our experiences with you. Usually, our mission is approached with anticipation, occasionally with trepidation. However, when the invitation comes to dine at the table of no less a celebrated chef than Martín Berasategui, who has amassed an incredible 12 Michelín stars at his restaurants during an illustrious career, the excitement level is off the scale.

We knew we were about to embark on a gastronomic adventure, introducing us to the flavours of chef Martín’s native San Sebastián, on Spain’s Cantabrian coast, married to more familiar local Ibizan ingredients, with each dish being the culmination of many years of experimentation and refinement.

For Etxeko (meaning ‘home’) at Bless Ibiza Hotel, Berasategui has designed a degustation menu that explores the chef’s humble origins and the local products from his native Basque Country, while introducing some of the secret weapons that have earned him so many decorations during his illustrious career. In Ibiza, it is the unenviable responsibility of Head Chef Paco Budia to translate Berasategui’s precise and detailed vision to the plates of this Mediterranean outpost, but he clearly handles the pressure with ease.

Squid ink rice wafer with sobresada

It is not really possible or instructive, in this format, to describe each of the wonderful plates on the tasting menu in detail – so, hopefully, our photo gallery will do the talking for us. You will see colourful works of art on a ceramic canvass – surreal, deconstructed masterpieces worthy of Spanish maestros such as Picasso or Miró.

Jalapeño foam with black garlic ice cream, cucumber mayonnaise and mackerel sashimi

Deconstructed gazpacho. Every spoonful has different explosive capers and pistachio

Nevertheless, it is worth highlighting the standout dish of the day, one of the plates that earned Chef Martín his very first Michelin star back in the ‘90s – caramelised millefeuille, with foie gras, smoked eel and green apple. An analysis of this exquisite dish is sufficient to reveal the complexity, depth of flavour and precision of plating for the many unique creations forged in the Etxeko kitchen.

Caramelised millefeuille with foie gras, smoked eel and green apple

Every laminated layer of the bite-size cubes reveals a subtly different texture that combines to create an explosive exotic pleasure. The final step of the culinary process takes place inside your mouth, as all the flavours and textures merge into one sensual delight - the intensity of the almost liquid smoked eel, the smoothness of foie gras, the crispness of the apple and the crunch of the caramelised onion glaze unite in perfect harmony.

An appreciation of the exemplary level of service provided by Maitre d´ Hector and his highly motivated waiting staff is also essential. The standard was perfectly personified by the charming Esther, who attended us in the most courteous, informative and light-hearted way throughout the whole experience.  

Fried foie in fermented soy sauce. 

Likewise, knowledgeable Venezuelan sommelier, Alejandro took us on a wine tasting odyssey around Spain in 8 glasses - starting the journey with a creamy cava aperitif and ending proceedings with a smooth and satisfying Sherry. Every selection was from a different one of Spain’s many wine growing regions: from Penedès to Navarra, to Jerez, to the Rueda and, of course, to the Balearic Islands, with both Ibiza and Mallorca starring.

Grilled hake loin, creamy Massaman curry, mollusc in a crispy shell and hints of Bloody Mary

It would be possible to write an entire review just on the wine pairing. Suffice to say that Alejandro hit all the right notes with his choices for each course. An excellent example is the only red we had, Ànima Negra from Mallorca, which was boldly paired with the hake dish and it worked perfectly. For those interested in the wines we sampled, you will find a full list at the bottom of this article.

Gin fizz strawberry granita

It is hard to imagine any enthusiastic foodie visiting Ibiza who won’t be making a gastronomic pilgrimage to Etxeko to indulge in this hedonistic pleasure. After a stuttering start in 2019, when the Bless Ibiza Hotel reform over-ran and followed by the disaster that was 2020, this is the first full year the restaurant can crystallise all the elements that make Berasategui’s kitchens the massive successes that they are.

Coffee-caramel cream with a sprinkle of cocoa crumble and mascarpone ice-cream

Clearly, the qualities needed to come together to win the coveted 13th star are all in alignment. It is surely only a matter of time...

The wine

1st Juvé & Camps Milesimé creamy cava.

2nd Chiviritero La Seca Verdejo fennel lemongrass.

3rd Ereso Can Rich from Ibiza brandy nose

4th Kha Mé Garnacha Blanca. almost sake much sweeter

5th Las Envidias nutty Jerez flavours  berries salty and fresh hot zone. Robust

6th Ànima Negra from Mallorca. Smoky, spicy and earthy. 

7th Loxarel 2016 from Penedes Catalonia. Fermented in clay amphoras, sealed with bees’ wax. The sweet honey flavour goes well with foie

8th Fernando de Castilla Cream Sherry from Jerez

Astonishing petit fours

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