Exploring Avant-Garde Cuisine in Ibiza
Roncero’s creations are a fascinating combination of traditional Spanish foods and radically modern preparation techniques. At one of his Ibiza restaurants, Estado Puro in the newly-opened Hard Rock Hotel, he reimagines the Spanish tavern experience. Modern décor is dotted with endearing signs defining fun Spanish colloquialisms. (One such sign declares that “comer por la patilla,” meaning ‘eat for free,’ literally translates as ‘eat because of your sideburn,’ though a more accurate translation may be ‘eat for a pin.’)
Estado Puro serves up traditional dishes and tapas made with very fresh ingredients, love, and passion — and often with cool twists. The ham croquetas are completely and delectably classic, while the tortilla de patatas, or Spanish omelette, is served as a liquid. This sounds like a disaster, but tastes like heaven in a martini glass. With layers of sautéed onions, egg foam, and potato foam, the unexpected beverage is warm and comforting. The onions provide depth and texture, nicely balancing the airy foam. By keeping the flavors as expected and altering only the consistency, Roncero demonstrates his deep love of tradition.
Moving further from tradition — and completely leaving the realm of a normal person’s wallet — is Paco Roncero’s other Ibiza restaurant, Sublimotion. Sublimotion is said to be the most expensive restaurant in the world at $2000 per person. Absurd? Absolutely. Worth it? If your wallet is overflowing, absolutely. For the price it would cost to feed a family of four for three months, you don’t just get a nice meal. You get a carefully curated, multi-sensory dining experience with twenty imaginative, innovative courses. Everything from the playlist to the wait staff’s vintage-inspired attire to the detailed images projected onto the table and walls are designed to complement and integrate with each course.
Just as Ibiza is a playground for partiers, Sublimotion is a playground for foodies. The avant-garde restaurant is the definition of surprise and delight, with wonders like drinks that magically stir themselves, plates that float in mid-air above the table, and hyper-realistic images that make you feel like you’re deep underground or picnicking in a beautiful forest. The multi-sensory experience is an adventure in itself, but ultimately it serves to supplement Roncero’s similarly intrepid gastronomical creations. A particularly memorable course was Olive Oil Three Ways, which included powdered olive oil presented in a small cracker boat, liquid olive oil served in a small, clear, plastic-looking pouch which was actually an edible sugar wrapper, and a fabulously melty soft cheese in which the natural cheese fat had been removed and replaced with olive oil. This course encapsulates Roncero’s modus operandi: fresh, traditional ingredients served up in a fun, unpredictable fashion. The love and care that goes into planning each course at Sublimotion is clear: every bite is both interesting and divine; every sense is catered to thoughtfully.
“Dining is an experience that goes beyond the plate,” Roncero decrees. “It’s an all-encompassing experience — eating, sharing, socializing.” When he puts it like that, all of his wacky preparation and presentation techniques truly make sense. Avant-garde gastronomy draws people together in a shared experience and encourages diners to discuss their food, their environment, and their related emotions, allowing everyone to be immersed in the present.
With the arrival of Estado Puro and Sublimotion on the island, Ibiza is ripe to become a foodie destination. For now, you’ll still want to have a club-ready attitude to get the most out of your trip, but Estado Puro is a must for the travelling gourmand. And for the extremely well-heeled among us, you’ll definitely want to take your private helicopter to Ibiza for a magical evening at Sublimotion.
One of the Most Expensive Restaurants in the World
At $2,000 per person, an evening at Sublimotion is well worth eating ramen for the rest of the year to save up for the experience. The restaurant serves only 12 guests per night, allowing the chef and servers to focus on making the 20-course meal absolutely perfect.
A Multi-sensory Experience
Each course at Sublimotion is accompanied by a carefully curated soundtrack and hyper-real images projected on the table and walls. Your journey can take you all over the world, from a secluded forest, to a club, to the center of the earth, and beyond.