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Food review: La Llama evokes exclusivity at destination W Ibiza

A night of flaming intensity, from arrival to dinner to post-meal club.

Few holiday destinations do exclusivity quite like Ibiza and that is the end of the market that W Ibiza has positioned itself since arriving in 2019. From evening drinks to dinner at onsite La Llama to later after-dark entertainment on the dancefloor, the Santa Eulalia establishment has the whole night wrapped up under one roof.

The Bridge: Decadent pre-dinner drinks

Our night starts in the stately Bridge Bar as you pass through the main lobby, overhanging ground floor zone, W Lounge. It's the type of place you could imagine a suited James Bond exchanging come-to-bed eyes with Miss Moneypenny, whilst twirling a vodka martini.

Indeed, we're feeling pretty suave tonight, and bury our heads straight into the cocktail list.

Dinner is forthcoming, so this calls for something from the aperitif range (our faithful espresso martini, a digestif, will need to wait until later). Coming somewhere between a mojito and a Bloody Mary, the gin-based medium rare is our weapon of choice.

As we wait for our table reservation, our drinks are not only shaken but stirred, strained and zhuzhed, each given loving attention to detail that you would expect from a five-star hotel.

Without doubt, this is the ideal way to start your W Ibiza experience.

La Llama | W Ibiza | by Peter Young

La Llama: An exclusive main course

Upon approaching the entrance of La Llama you are greeted by a wooden panel. Like some kind of under-the-radar speakeasy, Masonic society or concealed room in Bruce Wayne's mansion, the panel slides open to reveal the restaurant inside.

Even before being seated, this gives an air of exclusiveness. Perhaps the notion that you are part of an elite, private members club (or entering the lair of a millionaire capped vigilante?).

As is customary, our appetite is swooned by the offering of bread. This comes in the form of warmed focaccia, doused in garlic and scattered with rosemary.

La Llama | W Ibiza | by Peter Young

The flatbreads are seasoned well enough to make their mark felt alone, but it is in the side dips where the wonderment is really waiting to be found.

Be advised, that the herby green sauce masquerading as pesto, isn't - the zhug harbours a fiery kick! The black olive tapenade offers something different again, providing a welcome bitterness. However, it's the creamy smoked butter that we covet the most.

Flavoured with blackened leek and a touch of saffron, when generously applied to the focaccia, it has our eyes rolling back in our heads in giddy pleasure.

Observing the menu, we are struck by how concise it is. In deciding whether to be a jack-of-all-trades or a master of a few, La Llama stands defiantly in the latter's camp.

La Llama | W Ibiza | by Peter Young

The sea bass arrives on a bed of richly desiccated sun-dried tomatoes. We wonder whether the fish is in danger of being lost against this thick accompaniment, but we needn't have worried. The tender fillet more than holds its own against the flavoursome pulped fruit.

Combined with the salty skin, these elements created a mouthful of cascading textures. Very occasionally, there's the suggestion of heat creeping through from the presence of green chilli, though never overpowering enough to put off even the most spice-averse of Iberian palates.

Perfectly packaged parcels of potato and leek tortellini come crowned with a cluster of Baerii caviar. But it's the buttery sauce that caresses our mouths - its subtle use of Parmigiano Reggiano philanders in the background, but never overbears.

Lighter still are the sculptured curls of celeriac, which come dressed in a feather-light buttermilk sauce seasoned with dill.

La Llama | W Ibiza | by Peter Young

Just as we are commenting on how full we are getting, the main event arrives.

Cooked in the stone oven, harnessing the carnal power of the flame, the lamb shoulder is then passionately presented and prepared tableside. After we've stopped gaping, we unanimously agree we've found a bit more room.

This visually amazing and equally tasty shared dish feels like the sum of well-travelled head chef Eitan Doron. With postings in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Ukraine, the journeyman Israeli draws inspiration from a range of cultures.

La Llama | W Ibiza | by Peter Young

Influence from his own Levantine upbringing is clear. The juicy pulled lamb, wrapped in doughy Arabic tacos and spread liberally with tahini and harissa paste is very typical of Middle Eastern fare. Market stall style food given a lavish, restaurant-standard upgrade.

Even the modest-looking corn and herb side salad is a mouthful of surprise. Generous coriander and mint leaves create an aromatic sensation, with flakes of almond and a hit of citrus from the lebnah yoghurt providing the perfect foil.

La Llama | W Ibiza | by Peter Young

Are we finished? Please. On the recommendation of past visitors, we feel compelled to try the chocolate coulant. The dish is a sweet-tooth's fantasy, combining sponge, mousse, ice cream and praline crunch. The high praise is more than warranted.

Just desserts for the dessert.

Reservation is highly recommended: Reserve your table at La Llama here.

W Ibiza | Santa Eulalia | by Peter Young

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