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Food Review: BiBo Ibiza punches above its weight

A taste of Andalusia beside the sands of Talamanca Bay

When Bibo Ibiza first opened as a pop-up in 2021 at the island’s premier gastronomic destination hotel, Nobu Ibiza Bay in Talamanca, it was a muted affair. Despite being the brainchild of renowned chef and previous owner of three Michelin Stars, Dani García, the restaurant made a quiet splash - opening late in the season, to little fanfare, whilst under the ever-present spectre of C****19.

A member of Spain’s illustrious pantheon of highly innovative and award-winning chefs, García, head honcho of Grupo García Restaurants, is also one of the country’s most easily recognised and highly decorated.

In 2019, he stunned the gastronomic world by abruptly closing his eponymous Dani García Restaurant in Marbella upon achieving its coveted third Michelin star. Having become “fed up with haut cuisine” he decided instead to concentrate on sharing his vision of culinary excellence (and his notorious cherry gazpacho!) with the rest of the world.  

So, despite the pandemic, the group has continued to expand around the globe, opening a chain of 6 BiBos and other restaurants around Spain, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the US, including his niche here in the tranquil surroundings of Talamanca Bay.

To go toe to toe with the internationally recognised culinary powerhouse that is Nobu takes cojones and an unshakeable faith in your product.

Clearly the Andalusian contender is well-endowed in both! But could the light and nimble challenger hold his own against in a tough bout against the heavyweights of Japanese cuisine? We came to find out…

Pre-dinner aperitifs are usually an excellent indicator of the standard of fare on offer - setting the tone for the rest of the meal. At BiBo, the cocktails are expertly blended by one of Spain’s top bartenders Tomas Cecere who sets the bar very high.

Tomas came out of his corner blazing with a couple of sour delights: a Marriage, with vodka, honey, fresh lime juice, angostura bitter, and sprinkled with dried raspberries and a smoky Whisky Sour with pumpkin syrup and a citrus mix. Both were delicious, but the Marriage slightly ahead on points.

This year, after an initial flirtation with Mexican themed fusion in 2021, the menu in Ibiza has been stripped back to the basic essence of what the BiBo brand stands for - the very best of homegrown Spanish produce, with inspiration from Dani’s worldwide journey.

Another Dani, in this case Ramírez, is the young man on whose broad shoulders the responsibility falls for delivering García’s message to the patrons of the Nobu Ibiza Bay Hotel.

Ramírez enthusiastically describes the BiBo menu as being “Mediterránea, with touches of ‘Dani’” and is keen to emphasise the quality of the produce. This includes the importance of the intimate relationship with the dedicated local and national farmers and fishermen, and the delicacy and subtle techniques with which their produce is handled.  

This respect is instantly apparent as the first round of plates arrive. All of which were raw foods that were skilfully prepared and bursting with wholesome, natural goodness and flavour.

Even the aperitif, a humble salchichón (cured sausage) from García’s hometown of Málaga, was peppery, finely sliced, and simply melted in the mouth.

Settling into an early rhythm and delivering a classic one-two combo the BiBo Ibiza Bay Red Tuna Tartare Duo was simply out of this world. Raw food at its very finest! Two cuts of tuna, lomo (loin) and ventresca (belly), precisely cubed and gently marinaded in olive oil and zingy white soy, could not have been bettered.  

Spotlight’s review team really do love a ceviche and we tend to try them wherever we go as a good indicator of the basic culinary skills on offer. BiBo’s Red Striped Bass Ceviche could possibly lay claim to being our favourite on the island. The super-fresh bass was perfectly marinated in a leche de tigre that was thick, spicy and totally addictive.  

Even our vegetarian option of Vegetable Crudités, with spicy Muhamarra sauce, was crunchy, colourful and vibrant.

When chef Dani mentioned there was turbot on the menu, we just had to give it a try. Without imagining he meant the entire fish!

Nevertheless, it presented our waiter Andrea the perfect opportunity to display his superior filleting skills and gave the author an abundance of flavoursome leftovers to add to his Pea and Prawn Risotto the next day! Truly a meal that just kept giving…

Star of the show, the buttery turbot flesh was perfectly complemented by Bearnaise sauce. Paired with a super-sweet rock lobster (langosta) from Formentera and seared broccolini spears, smothered with a delicious lemony drizzle, you have a pescatarian’s wet dream!

To finish, (and to stretch this tenuous boxing metaphor even further) one of the dreamiest sharing desserts ever, delivered the knockout blow. A layer of chocolate mousse hiding beneath a topping of vanilla Chantilly cream. Rich, yet light and fluffy and ludicrously pleasing. It’s hard to imagine the better finale to any meal.

BiBo Ibiza Bay no longer feels like a pop-up experiment.

It feels like an indivisible component of the Nobu Ibiza Bay DNA and is certainly here to stay. It can stand tall, side by side with Nobu, with its own strong identity and clear set of gastronomic ideals.

On this evidence, BiBo might have just edged the competition. We look forward to coming back for a rematch.

To dine at BiBo, reservation is essential.


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