Swill Magazine Issue 5 - Out Now

A food lovers guide to Ibiza

Pat Nourse

PINGERS-EDM

Septuagenarian club rat Ibiza. Tech evangelist shaman Ibiza. Born-again PornHub Ibiza. Cokey regenerative farmer Ibiza. Hiking influencer Ibiza. This island off the Mediterranean coast of Spain is lots of things to lots of people. And so it goes with the food. 

You could spend a week here and live on a perfectly authentic diet of pingers, mushrooms and Chupa Chups, or you could deep-dive into the other side of the island, chasing down its fisherman’s stews and sweet, cinnamon-scented puddings. They coexist here happily, and in the case of many locals, they cross over, as in the case of the lady I met who supplements her income as a goat-herder by working at a neighbouring superclub in the season. It’s part of what makes it such a compelling place. 

I’d like to offer a few highlights of my recent visit in that spirit. I’m an enthusiast here rather than any kind of expert on the subject. There’s also a strong bias in this selection that stems from the fact that I was staying with my friend Grumpy Max and his excellent wife Izaskun. Max is a chef who is profoundly allergic to anything sceney, so if a place that’s cool or blowing up on Instagram or if anyone there worked at Noma, he’ll be like, “fuck that guy, fuck that place, we need to go where the truck drivers go to eat pigs’ feet”. Izaskun will shrug as if to say, “hey, try living with this guy”, and let him get his way about half the time, and we’d go out for some pigs’ feet. 

So.

Pig’s feet at Bar Can Marsa

If you’re not a fan of pigs or feet, you might also like the cuttlefish frito or indeed the octopus frito. What you’re here for is a carefully tended sofrito – that’s the sauté of garlic, tomatoes, onions, and peppers that’s the base for a lot of trad. Spanish cooking. At Can Marsa, it provides the savoury stage for that beautifully tender octopus and cuttlefish. Everything comes with fried potatoes – cooked in together with everything in the case of the seafood, discrete and crisp in the case of the pig’s feet. Dragging the last of the potatoes through the porky sofrito after you’ve stripped the pig feet of every morsel of flesh and fat is a fine, fine thing. Décor-wise, we’re talking unreconstructed truck-stop – Coca-Cola blackboards, paper napkins, paper map placemats – and you can chase your manitas de cerdo with a Maxibon or a Magnum (they’re called Nuii here: fun!) from the freezer chest in the dining room, or a truly diabolical coffee.

Calamari rolls and Bloody Marys at Casa Jondal

Sometimes, of course, Izaskun would prevail with an argument something along the lines of “fuck’s sake, Max, we can’t just eat in truck stops every day.” Casa Jondal is about as far as you can get from a truck stop. It’s a chiringuito. Chiringuitos are, at their simplest, beach bars – some so slight they’re barely bars at all. But they can also be much more, as the extremely fucking fancy Casa Jondal amply demonstrates. It was started by a bunch of guys who’d worked at the fabled El Bulli, but this is not that. It’s a low adobe building on a pebble beach in a stand of pines. I can’t tell you what the restaurant is like because we rolled in without a booking and we’re not that rich, but I can tell you that kicking off your espadrilles and eating in the bar is a very good time indeed. Even here, it’s preposterously expensive – there’s an Especiales section of the menu designed, seemingly, to help people who have too much money to spend it on hundred-euro smoked salmon toasties with caviar. But they do a damned fine Bloody Mary, rock a decent wine list and do a bloody good bocata de calamar – a shiny bun loaded with perfectly tender fried calamari – that might even give you change from a 50-euro note.



This is an excerpt from the latest issue of Swill. Want more? Order issue 5 today 

 

 

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