k Heart k
k ...beats like no other k
Every summer in Ibiza there is usually one major happening that overshadows everything else. The opening of Ushuaia, Nile Rodgers and The Prodigy appearing live and the world’s most expensive restaurant Sublimotion at Hard Rock have certainly ticked the boxes in recent years. But when rumours started to circulate last year that the world famous Adrià brothers were launching a restaurant with Cirque du Soleil in the heart of Marina Botafoch, it was deemed the grandest of news the white isle had seen in a very long time. Here LoveFoodIbiza Founder Tess Prince gets her golden ticket for the press opening party…
Heart was born after a conversation brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià had with Guy Laliberte – the director of the infamous Cirque Du Soleil, after witnessing one of their spectacular shows. And perhaps for the first time in their glittering careers, the Adrià brothers are now involved in a new cutting edge project where the food is not only the main attraction…
I was honoured to get an exclusive invite to the Press & Faces of Ibiza party on June 23rd. and with the camera crews at the ready, we were given a full insight into the extraordinary world of Heart. Walking into the building, we were met by the remarkable sculpture of LOVE by Gim Hong-Sok alongside masterpiece’s by Takashi Muurakami and became immediately aware that art is one the essential ingredients of the experience.
Deliberately being made to wait in the darkened corridor, I was quite literally bubbling with excitement at the feeling that I was about to enter a private theme park. Greeted by two goddesses dripping in a Versace/Dolce-like creation, we are handed individual sweet wrappers filled with light-as-air freeze dried beetroot profiterole that instantly disintegrated on the tongue.
Next I am given watermelon infused in sangria by a lady with a peculiar lampshade on her head covered in hair, all very reminisent of the Box nightclub in Soho. Wonderful weirdness!
The crimson and rusty hues of red envelop the space around us – the décor is the brainchild of world class interior designer Patricia Urquiola, giving a true essence of decadence, luxury and uniqueness. Stepping over 10 pairs of twitching human legs that protruded from behind a long black velvet curtain is certainly a different way to enter a dining room…I’m now really ready for the ride.
It is impossible not to be awestruck by the incredibly high ceilings and 20 metre sound sensitive screen that is projecting shifting graphics and visual effects which would not be out of place in Tate Modern or The Guggenheim.
We leave the vast ground floor and make our way up onto the roof terrace – the place which excites me the most – a street food extravaganza – all with the stamp of the Adrià’s utter genius. In recent press Ferran says, “it is street food at a level that you won’t find on any street”. And he’s so right. Standing on the cusp of the 800 square metre space I cannot take it all in…I’m weak at the knees transported into the world of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – and I have got THE golden ticket…it’s Christmas Day and my birthday all rolled into one, I’m beyond excited.
I’m actually hoping there is a Roman vomitoram because I intended to (and did) eat everything. Hopping from one incredible stall to another, leading my palate around the world…Japan, Mexico, France, Italy, Spain and Puru all with the unmistakable stamp of the Adrià genius. It’s attention to detail at its finest and above all fun, so much FUN.
Every vendor, chef and member of staff are as excited as I am. Everyone is clearly honoured to be involved and working for such a prestigious project. No time or need for haughty pretentiouness here which is one of the winning factors in the whole formula.
I am talking nineteen to the dozen with every vendor and they are as passionate and proud as I would hope they would be. I was thrilled when I saw morsels of food being lowered in baskets attached to a fishing rod to unsuspecting passers by on the street below – so wrong but so right.
I’m now being called over to the Patron tequila bar.
I have not had tequila since my ritzy nightclub pre-university days. ‘Never drink tequila again’ – was my alcohol poisoning prevention mantra that I have stuck to until now. Limited edition Patron XO Cafe Tequila Liqueur…oh yes, a taste sensation beyond my preconceptions. So now I’m on the Patron.
There is a jaw dropping display of street vendors. I am a sucker for a pink caravan so straight away this caught my eye…
…and inside were three chefs making an incredible parmesan pizza as thin as paper, garnished with caviar jelly using micro tweezers.
It is then handed around inside a magenta pink pizza takeaway box.
Another waiter hands me a platter of Kumamoto oysters with kimchi and wild strawberries served in solid sliver shells.
Not the only bling around though as the tables all around the terrace have full sized Iberian ham legs made entirely of gold with the finest slivers of pata negra placed immaculately on top.
There are takeaway-style branded cardboard baskets of homemade bread sticks and Payoyo cheese – an artisan cheese of the Sierra de Grazalema, which is deemed one of world’s finest cheeses. Whilst munching/gorging on this, I was given off-the-scale patatas bravas – wafer thin shaved potatoes with a slightly ferocious pepper sauce that was instantly cooled down by a glass of incredible tomato and basil soup – summer in a cup! Perfecto.
Sticking to the ‘Made in Spain’ journey, I skip over to the Heart Olive Stall which adorns one of the Adrià brothers immortal creations…‘Olive juice spherifications’ – a feat of molecular gastronomy that was introduced at el Bulli in 2005. I’m all over them.
When I placed a liquid olive on my tongue I let it roll around for a second or two, texturally similar to an oyster, it almost felt like a tiny water balloon in my mouth – then suddenly the balloon splits on its own, its ruptured skin released a stream of incredible liquid across my tongue. The juice had a slightly gelatinous consistency and tasted like a premium olive oil, perhaps with a hint of salt in it. So Heston Blumenthal’s theory about training your brain to like olives after eating them 16 times absolutely goes out of the window here – I would say if you are not a olive fan you could be hooked instantaneously.
I was also ridiculously impressed by the Spanish Tortilla Takoyaki. Being one of Japan’s best-known street snacks which are normally made with a batter concealing a creamy filling made with boiled octopus – these were an adaptation of a classic Spanish tortilla made into perfect spheres by a very clever man using only chopsticks!
The outside was light, golden and crisp with a divine liquid egg centre and a hint of caramelised onion. They are served looking like bosoms (sorry, can’t help myself) topped with the famous tonkatsu sauce and with mayonnaise. I think I had four in a row.
Taste sensation after taste sensation…boiled prawns in a cocktail sauce – what did they do to them? Try and think of the best prawn cocktail you have ever eaten and times it by 100.
Ham Croquettes crunchy and oozing velvet heaven. Ham and Cheese grilled sandwiches that I would beg for after a post Pikes hangover. Sticking to a bread theme, I tried the Fried Fish Sanguche, a Peruvian wonder (think of the best fish finger sandwich ever) – it was served in a miniature finger bread roll called roseta with a gorgeous crispy crust and a light interior. Almost empty on the inside with enough room to accommodate all the ingredients – light as air battered white fish, coriander, lettuce, classic Peruvian sauces aji amarillo paste and salsa criolla, plus of course the all important mayonnaise with perhaps a hint of mustard. When my husband asks me for a fish finger butty next time, I will give this recipe a go for sure.
For an Asian inspired trip I headed to the Thai salad of green papaya and pink grapefruit to awaken the palate…
This was followed by some perfect “Boisan” Vietnamese rolls – these rice paper vegetable spring rolls are unbelievably refreshing, clean and cool with ‘front of mouth’ zingy flavours and served with a nuoc cham dipping sauce which has to be one of the most addictive sauces on the planet.
The Salmon Nigiri stall had me lingering quite a long time…
– I think it’s quite safe to say that it was best sushi I have had since living in Ibiza.
Staying in Asia I had the most moorish chicken yakitori, my favourite ever – gyozas filled with spiced pork, some veggie siu-mai all cooked to order and served in a classic bamboo steamer basket…then obviously I had to have a side of spicy edamame to go with it – rude not to.
I totally adored the Taco stall, embellished with Mexican street art and a revolving spit.
Taco al Pastor originates from Central Mexico and is an adaption of the Shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by the Lebanese immigrants to Mexico (also similar to the good ol’ Turkish doner kebab but with pork)…it was deeeelish.
And then it was back to the Patron stall before a palate livener of the finest seafood ceviche – clean, fresh citrusy juices…an absolute dream.
So whilst in my food fantasy here, I forgot to mention the craziness going on around me…random rioters running around with vintage suitcases, a naked girl getting body painted and dancers on an elevated grass lawn as the who’s who of Spain arrive to join the party.
We are escorted downstairs for supper and ‘The Show’. The acts were avant garde, edgy and industrial alongside electronic visual creations, performance artists interacting with the sensory screen and a graffiti artist inside a perspex box.
Not to mention a dolly bird with an amazing shot-dispensing device that looked like it was being poured from the heart. It was time for more champagne.
Individual desserts were now being served in a huge white perspex box with individual compartments holding magical mouthfuls of heaven; hot and cold ninyoyaki, yoghurt biscuits, ‘strawberry with strawberry’, cupuccina babba, the cherry tree, the chocolate box, infused melon, frozen pineapple…I am experiencing sensory overload as I remember it all. Now I hate the statement ‘I should have saved room’, but boy it bit me on the bum this time good and proper.
In the cold light of day the morning after, all I can say is Heart BEATS like no other – you will experience multi sensory artistry, extraordinary creativity and attention to detail at the highest level. Expect all the thrills of the circus…but more than anything else, expect the unexpected. Ibiza is now firmly on the world class gastronomy map.
So that was the street food fully sampled, next time I’ll be back to try their sensory supper…after a few days of fasting! Check out some of this summer’s awesome line ups below…