The gastronomic landscape in Ibiza continues to heat up. At no other time has there been so much offered to the culinary inclined. And now, joining the fray is Barcelona’s red hot Nuba- opening their first outpost dead centre in the new port. Nuba has carved a giant space out of a sliver of land sandwiched between the yachts and the Passeig Joan Carles I. Greenery and a velvet rope is all that alerts you of the presence inside. Cross that rope – and that is not so easy – and you will step into a world of mauve, white of lanterns and candlelight, with Dalt Vila shimmering over the water at you.
There is a glass enclosed dining room, there are Balinese day beds amidst the foliage for private moments, there is alfresco dining, an outdoor cocktail bar, terraces, a shop and enough nooks to help you escape the summer mayhem. Chef Billy Baroja has been wise to deploy his signature dishes to this new crowd. His experience serving the bold faced names in Barcelona gives him a unique advantage in dealing with the Ibiza fashion set. And it shows. He serves salads in an island strangely devoid of them. And he serves them as mains- to the relief of many supermodels. Lobster salad comes with the crustacean out of its shell and sitting pretty on mango disks atop spring greens with berries. The magenta dressing looked stunning against the mango yellow and the lobster pink. Electric! Large plump shrimp came in another salad, the shrimp shelled and ready for your pleasure. This presentation is a rarity in Spain – and a nod that chef Billy knows his Iiternational clientele. Caprese salad is served with a little pot of pesto that is a fantastic way to eat the warm rolls served at dinner. A white La Sireine Chablis is our choice of wine and the world is good.
Which is not to say that he doesn’t remember his roots. Case in point are the little ham croquettes placed at the centre of the table – a taste of home cooking for the jet set. Bite sized and with the right of amount sin. Mains featured more interesting options for the pleasure set. Monkfish came in a generous portion over sautéed julienned vegetables. The dish was simple and straightforward. Salmon came tataki style over greens with the loin sliced in small mouthfuls and great for sharing. Filet Mignon was grilled simply with sauteed snowpeas. The cut was very lean, making this the ideal choice for those wanting to stay light through the evening. However, all sense of prudence went out the window with the arrival of desserts. Laid out in front of me were a mango clafoutis, a chocolate fondant and a caramel chilled soufflé. Their arrival coincided with the beginning of groovy tracks and Iighting as Nuba transforms from restaurant to club which was a swift reminder that Nuba is many things. And behind the velvet rope, desserts are just the beginning.