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Food Review: Passion and flames are ignited at La Llama

Flame grilled delights for red-blooded diners.

Entering via the colourful and bright W lounge at W Ibiza Hotel, a large door slides back to reveal the dark, interior of restaurant La Llama. Evidently, you are setting foot into an entirely new zone, with its own distinct identity. It feels like being welcomed into the inner sanctum of a private members club.

Dark wood, black tiles and smoked glass give an initial impression of a mysterious obscurity, that feels discreet and intimate. The scene is occasionally illuminated by flashes of flame emerging from the open kitchen as Manager Carmen, dressed like an elegant blend between Bizet’s fiery heroine and a matador, leads us to our table. The sumptuously upholstered furniture makes the dining experience a very comfortable one.  

Outside, on the balcony, the light increases, with nice views over the pool towards the sea. Making it a lovely vantage point to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or a romantic evening meal. All the while a cool, funky soundtrack is laid down by well-known local DJ Mar Flores.

Naturally, the cocktails served at La Llama are mixed to the highest standards you would expect from the premium W hotel chain. Sinister names like Voodoo People, Cannibal and the eponymous Flame all fit harmoniously with the shadowy interior. The Flame cocktail, fizzing with cachaça, passion fruit, lime, and a generous dose of zingy ginger, is rapidly consumed before the starters arrive.

Like the décor, the menu at La Llama is stripped down and understated. The statement is obvious, La Llama knows what is good for you and they have chosen the best ingredients to please and to make your choices effortless. There are interesting influences from the Levant, and most dishes are prepared over the open wood fire grill or the in the traditional Tabun clay oven.

First out of the oven are a trio of freshly baked breads. Each entirely different examples of the baker’s art; a gluten free loaf, some focaccia rolls and Halla (or Challah), a ceremonial bread from Israeli, similar to brioche. The bread is accompanied by an interesting medley of Middle Eastern dips, aubergine yoghurt, roasted cherry tomatoes and zhug – a zesty mix of green chilli, coriander, and parsley. Zhug is now officially a firm Spotlight favourite!

A flame-seared Tuna Tataki, with jalapeños and cherry tomatoes, is the first starter to arrive and quickly devoured with gusto.

Swiftly followed by a deliciously creamy Burrata, accompanied with the usual basil but also a less common partner - confit tamarillo from Colombia. Known as tree tomato in English speaking countries, this fruit is rarely seen in Europe. The deep red interior is virtually caramelised by the confit process and makes an interesting, sweet substitute to the typical tomato.

As an interlude, a plate of velvety fettuccine, with butter and caviar sauce arrived, topped with another generous sprinkle of caviar. Any pasta lover’s dream…!

The catch of the day was Dover Sole, so we couldn’t resist ordering a filet. For our taste, the dish was slightly bland and crying out for seasoning. A lemon butter sauce helped to lift the dish, but we feel it was a missed opportunity to really enjoy this majestic flat fish.

However, the Black cod, marinated in miso and sake, with a superb garnish of homemade pickled ginger and powdered truffle, was a triumph. Occasionally, black cod can be a little sweet for some palates, but this dish was lifted to new levels of excellence by the powerful garnish.

Star of the show at La Llama are the top-quality cuts of beef, carefully selected for their deep flavours. We chose the 45-day dry-aged Galician Blonde sirloin steak - winner of the World Steak Challenge Gold Award 2018. It did not disappoint! The steak was as rich and flavoursome and transported me back to happy times in the mountains of Galicia once again.

This home-grown champion required pairing with a suitable glass of wine from northern Spain. So, a bottle of cherry red Traslascuestas from the Ribera del Duero region fitted the bill perfectly. The oaky and dry red was smooth and agreeable and easily matched the strong flavour of the beef.

For dessert we tucked into another Levantine classic, Knefeh - a Lebanese cheesecake, made from shredded filo pastry, soaked in sweet, orange blossom syrup, and layered with cheese and pistachio nuts, as well as a suite of utterly delicious profiteroles with pears three ways; pears poached in white wine, caramelised pears, and crispy pear, served with vanilla crème pâtissière.

After such a delightful and varied feast, all that remained was to elevate to the Glow roof terrace bar to finish off the night with a glass of Hierbas and enjoy the rhythms of DJ Sylvia Operé under the stars. A night at La Llama is truly a feast of fire and emotion - hitting exactly the notes that the owners intended. 

Click here to make a reservation at La Llama Restaurante or download our app for more food recommendations!

PHOTOGRAPHY: La Skimal
 


 

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