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Food Review: Juntos House places San Mateo on Ibiza's gastro map

This classy farmhouse kitchen is arguably the best on the island

Every now and then the Ibiza Spotlight food review team alights upon somewhere truly exceptional, somewhere where the food elicits genuine gasps of astonishment. Our recent visit to Juntos House was one such occasion. 

Situated in a beautifully renovated finca in the scenic village of San Mateo, in the north-west of the island, Juntos House is a farm-to-table restaurant specialising in delectable, locally grown food from its own regenerative farm and local partners.

An oasis of haute cuisine in this sparsely populated area of Ibiza, it celebrates its first anniversary this month. If this is what it's achieved in just 12 months, one trembles with anticipation to think what is in store once it's fully established. No wonder gourmands traverse the island to dine here. 

The setting is divine: a spacious courtyard amid tastefully landscaped gardens replete with ancient olive trees, almonds (more about them later), an abundance of aromatic herbs and shrubs and a lovely, long mosaic mural depicting island scenes.

Beyond lies a large pergola, which houses a cocktail bar that’s home to creative concoctions, downtempo sounds and chilled vibes.

Beside it, there's a sweet kids' zone with wicker dens and toys. 

But enough about the milieu, time to get into the gastronomy. The food at Juntos is doubly blessed: the super fresh organic ingredients take much of the credit for its success, but there's no question that the visual appeal and brilliantly original dishes also owe a great deal to its chef extraordinaire, the Catalan Pau Fidalgo.

A round of aperitifs prepared us nicely for the meal to come. Juntos' mixologists make cocktails with the same care, creativity and 100% organic ingredients as its cuisine: do not miss out on trying them! It’s worth noting that the menu at Juntos makes no distinction between starters and main courses as all dishes are designed to be shared.

Sourdough bread

Thus we commenced with a plate of sourdough bread, marinated olives and a generous smear of free-range chicken pâté.

Salad of baby beetroot with blue cheese and bufala

A salad of baby beetroot transformed by the addition of bufala blue cheese and caramelised pecans came next.

Zucchini flower tempura and ricotta

This was followed by two standout dishes: grilled baby zucchini, red pesto, zucchini flower tempura and ricotta; and thick, tender stalks of grilled wild, white asparagus in a rich bearnaise sauce and kalamata olives.

White asparagus in a rich bearnaise sauce

By now, the team were in raptures; a reaction confirmed when we saw the expressions on the diners at other tables. Our culinary choices were guided by the affable expert maître d, Alberto, whose knowledge of the dishes and the establishment's eclectic wine cellar was exemplary.

Grass-fed sirloin carpaccio in yoghurt

In quick succession, we feasted on superbly condimented grass-fed sirloin carpaccio in yoghurt, pickled onion and toasted buckwheat, and Galician pork Milanese with chestnuts, salmon roe, dill and mustard seeds. The combination of flavours was truly mouth-watering.

Galician pork Milanese

Wild Grouper

Eager to try a fish dish, we had grouper - at Juntos, all the fish are wild catch and they strive to procure lesser-known varieties - with chard, baby leeks and saffron foam.

Chocolate with fresh raspberries, dusted with pistachio crumbs

The team gets its just desserts. Happily sated, we nonetheless found room for sweets. Our waiters - who'd done sterling service all night bustling about among the many patrons - duly obliged with three delights. The first, an unassuming bowl of choice chocolate with fresh raspberries dusted with pistachio crumbs, was an instant surprise hit.

Sorbet of apple, coconut, mint and lime with meringue

The second, a matcha and white chocolate coulant with white gelato made with almonds from the fertile fields of San Mateo itself wowed us. But pride of place went to the exquisitely concocted sorbet comprising apple, coconut, mint and lime with meringue. After the preceding journey of flavours, it was a delightfully refreshing end to the meal.

After a post-prandial digestive drink of high-quality organic hierbas Ibicencas, we thanked the staff and reluctantly set off home. Passing the entrance, we chanced to look up at the finca’s gleaming white wall and glimpse the restaurant's Latin motto: "Sana terram, cura hominum" ( "Heal the Earth, care for humanity."). Never better put.

Be sure to book ahead for Juntos House to avoid disappointment.

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