Words: Olivia Ebeling
Photography: Tamara Sini
With its breath-taking views over the sparkling sea, chic interiors and outstanding culinary offering, in only two – well, one and a half – short summers Cotton Lounge Club in Figueretas has established itself as a real hotspot on the outskirts of the cosmopolitan Ibiza Town. However, as the stylish bar and restaurant entered its second season on the White Isle, it surprised us with some considerable changes to both the venue and its menu. While we – firstly – didn’t think that Cotton Lounge Club was in any particular need of an update and – secondly – that it was possibly to elevate the already impeccable hospitality experience even further, Christian and Merete Marstrander have done it again and surprised us with a simply stellar new concept this year.
The ground floor of the eye-catching white washed venue now houses the hip Bar Baboon, another one of the Cotton Group’s new openings last year which was previously located a short stroll from Cotton Lounge Club. Held in dusty pinks and rich brown hues, with plenty of quirky design details and decorations, as well as an expansive cocktail menu, it makes for a cool watering hole to toast the night ahead. With DJs playing every night and tasty concoctions such as the citrusy and refreshing Lychee Spritz or the flirty and floral Topless Summer tempting you, it’s the perfect place to start your evening in style.
Upstairs on the first floor, new head chef Alex Arquero is welcoming guests to take a seat on the venue’s vast balcony and immerse themselves into his imaginative and innovative menu, which was strongly influenced by his own travels all around the world. He told us, “The menu is all about sharing. We have completely changed the concept to focus more on technique. The cuisine we do is hard to describe, but it definitely has a ‘backpacking spirit’. From the age of 16, I have been travelling all over the world and the foods you will try have been inspired by my experiences and my personal life.”
An unexpected touch that gives diners unrivalled access to the kitchen talent himself, Alex prides himself on bringing each dish out himself and explaining its breakground. Guests will feast on starters such as fruit salad made with yuzu infused watermelon chunks topped with homemade honey and miso cheese, a perfect balance of savoury and sweet or ‘fake tortellini’ parcels made with beetroot gelatine that bring together the aromas of Andalusia, Norway and Japan thanks to a creamy filling of sweet king crab, salty nori seaweed and ajo blanco, a thick soup made from almonds and garlic.
A standout main is the thick, juicy king crab, which comes smothered in chilli sauce and pays tribute to a trip Alex made to Hong Kong. The delicate flesh is a seafood lover’s dream, while the tingling burning sensation left in your mouth can be quenched with. The surprise frozen Midori Sour cubes guests are handed afterwards. Meat aficionados will love the delicate slices of Galician beef that are served with a plate of glowing coals so diners can grill their own meat. On the other side of the platter, you will find tender Amberjack sashimi to be dipped in a homemade ponzu sauce, divine in both flavour and texture.
A million miles away from the classic cheesecake or brownie desserts you might encounter in many other eateries, the selection of postres is just as mind-blowing. A tribute to his daughter, a pink sponge cake inspired by her favourite ‘Pink Panther’ biscuits comes served in a soup of pineapple juice, lychee juice and Aperol (a nod to Alex and his wife’s favourite tipple) and a fluffy cloud of pink cotton candy, his little girl’s favourite weekend treat. Another highlight is the silky coconut and violet custard accompanied by roasted apricots, rhubarb sorbet and crunchy cardamom.
Alex told us, “I think our dishes are beautiful, we work closely with a florist for edible flowers and pay a lot of attention to detail in the presentation. But flavour is always the most important thing – even more than the technique. Some people use a lot of technique to make a dish happen, but the most important thing is the way it tastes. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it must taste amazing.”
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