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Food Review: K-OBA brings new vibes to Santa Eulalia

Step through the bamboo curtain, into the jungle clearing, and find out for yourself

Stepping through the bamboo and rope archway into K-OBA feels like entering no other venue in Santa Eulalia. From its wonderful position, with its toes touching the soft sand of the beach at the south end of the bay, it feels far more bohemian than any other restaurant in the usually genteel town.

This little laid-back oasis displays the natural, jungle aesthetic that unites all the Umami Group’s restaurants. It's the latest to join the company's growing portfolio of hospitality businesses popping up all around the Balearics.

Just two steps away from the pretty little beach, the chiringuito-style restaurant is resplendent in bamboo and palm fronds, hardwood and grass mats - all the materials necessary to make you feel instantly relaxed and in a holiday state of mind.

The musical soundtrack is also programmed to fit the South American jungle vibes, with deep electronic rhythms and Afro beats.

After dark, the venue looks even more stunning, with its warm lighting. We can envision it becoming a favourite vantage point for one of those legendary east coast moonrise suppers in high summer.

K.OBA have put together a menu that is colourful and artistic and fits perfectly with its surroundings. There is a wide choice of meat and seafood dishes on display, complemented by the liberal use of Asian ingredients, plus a fine selection of excellent sushi dishes.

Each dish has been cleverly thought out, with an attention to detail that is remarkable. But that won’t stop many diners reaching for the massive, mature Tomahawk steaks!

On this occasion, we let the chef Daniel Dorantes go wild and choose his favourite dishes for us and he clearly he knows how to do raw food. His Steak Tartar, using an antique Mayonnaise recipe handed down through his family, was exceptional.

Not only delicious, but also a thing of beauty to behold.

The Japanese elements of K.OBA are best expressed in the quality sushi they prepare. We gleefully tucked into a selection of signature urumaki rolls - Spicy Tuna Rolls and Spicy Tempura Rolls

Okay, use of the word 'spicy' here is a little misleading. But this is Spain after all, where fear of Montezuma's Revenge is real, so don't expect your mouth to be on fire! The promised 'dynamite sauce' on the tuna rolls proved to be a bit of a damp squib and the chipotle in the tempura rolls was also very gentle.

Nevertheless, both rolls were extremely enjoyable versions of the Japanese art.

The tempura rolls having a deliciously creamy centre within their crispy crust that will have everyone fighting over the final slice. The tuna rolls were light and, with a generous helping of home-made wasabi, still gave a sufficient kick.

A great example of the fusion of east and west were the steamed Gyozas. Filled with the local favourite, garlic prawns, and finished off on a hot plate they were awesome – subtly garlicky and with nice crispy bottoms.

Likewise, our steamed Bao Buns with Oxtail (rabo de toro) also were finished off on a flame to crisp them up, creating a more enjoyable crunch ot the bun.

The slow-cooked beef filling perfectly melted together with caramelised pickled onions and chipotle to make a perfect alternative to any beef burger.

Cod, slow cooked at low temperature, served with pea puree, aioli and edamame beans also looked spectacular on the plate. The fish meat was gratifyingly smooth and fluid, although we weren't quite convinced about the need for both legumes – it was difficult to say what the edamame brought to the party.

K.OBA's desserts are the restaurant's piece de resistance.

Clearly the pastry chef has a love for sweet things. The Vanilla Millefeuille, with a raspberry topping, was light, subtle and delicate.

This was a complete contrast to the beautifully presented Death by Chocolate, which was simply one of the most richly indulgent desserts we have ever tried! Even if you usually skip dessert, we strongly recommend you stay around for this course. 

Santa Eulalia del Río already has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to high-quality restaurants.

On all corners of the town, the variety of cuisine on offer and the competition for excellent service means the overall standard is very high. So, for K.OBA to arrive with something new and exciting to offer it is quite an achievement.

We predict that the K.OBA name will become one of the town's most recognised and talked about, especially once the venue evolves into a full beach club. The opening of new premises a little further along the beach at the mouth of the river is in the works.

Watch this space…


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