The world of high-end sushi revolves around quality, freshness, tradition and meticulous attention to detail, with innovation, sustainability and creativity making even further impact as the industry evolves with the times. Purists put themselves in the hands of highly trained sushi masters for Omakase menus, trusting them to treat their palates to a hand-picked selection of premium-grade fish and sublime seafood over the course of an evening, created with pride and passion inspired by ancient Japanese principles. This ethos is at the heart of the new Cotton Sushi Lab in the heart of Ibiza town, where the experience has been designed to satiate all the senses.
Set to open its doors on Thursday December 09, 2021, Cotton Sushi Lab is the first restaurant of its kind in Ibiza. Intimate and exclusive, the sleek, sophisticated space evokes the nostalgia of a back-street secret dining destination in Tokyo – the kind of upmarket restaurant reserved for discerning locals, a very special secret to be shared amongst gastronomically inclined friends and elevated to legendary status through hush-hush whispers and word of mouth reviews. Blond wood glows beneath the flicker of candlelight; the blades of silver chef’s knives glisten as they slice and dice at the bar. Decoration is stylish but minimal; here, the art is reserved for your plate.
Intimate and exclusive, the sleek, sophisticated space in Ibiza town evokes the nostalgia of a back-street secret dining destination in Tokyo.
There are just 24 seats within the warm embrace of Cotton Sushi Lab, and only two sittings – with strictly observed reservation times – per night. Such is the precision of the preparation of each dish that rice is handled like a precious jewel, vinegared at the optimum time for serving (a process which takes up to three hours) at your table. Wasabi is grated fresh from the root and soy and other sauces are made in-house according to ancient, traditional recipes. Sushi is served Omakase-style – made by the minute and served in single or paired portions to be eaten immediately. It simply does not get fresher than that. Make a reservation at the bar to watch the sushi masters in action or opt for one of the more intimate tables for two on the restaurant floor – regardless of where you sit, you’ll be amazed by the dedication of the chefs to their craft.
Becoming a sushi chef is not unlike training to be a Shaolin monk – the education is excessive, the expectations are high and the rewards are concealed behind a steely resolve accompanied by self-admonishment and a promise to always improve. A true sushi lover knows the sacrifices made by the sushi master and will dine at their tables with the humility and respect of the pilgrim. This respect extends to the precious catch itself, which is treated – and then consumed – with the concentration and care it deserves. The sushi masters at Cotton Sushi Lab source the cleanest, purest, wild fish whenever possible and work with just a handful of judiciously vetted fish farms that guarantee animal welfare and sustainable practices. Each piece of fish is personally selected and stored according to traditional Japanese customs and law, wrapped in three different types of paper to prevent drying, maximise flavour and preserve texture.
Sushi came of age in the Edo era, between 1603 and 1868, when Japan’s isolationist foreign policy allowed this culinary phenomenon to develop without any outside influences. While other cultures eat raw fish, sushi is quintessentially Japanese. Even then it was considered a simple, fast and delicious snack yet unlike the fast-food sushi of today, sellers in the Edo period had to retain a high level of quality to keep their reputations. They were, of course, preparing their specialities in front of the watchful eye of the customer. Any digression in quality would be immediately and embarrassingly pointed out. In true Japanese style, the preparation of sushi soon became an art form requiring years of study. Fast forward to today and Cotton Sushi Lab allows this art form to shine through an intimate and personalised fine dining experience in Ibiza.
Behind the sleek sushi bar, the chefs are given the time and space to flourish. The ancient traditions of Japan are the base on which each dish is built, resulting in fresh and flavourful dishes and while heritage seeps through every bite, Cotton Sushi Lab also courts contemporary tastes with less typical pieces such as Maki Rolls and Gunkan. Working systematically and strategically, Cotton Sushi Lab aims to innovate signature dishes, test varieties of rice, trial new suppliers and continue to meticulously craft high-quality menus from the best ingredients as the restaurant evolves. Expect new flavours and combinations to delight the palate and intrigue the mind – this is a restaurant to return to again and again, time after time.
The ancient traditions of Japan are the base on which each dish is built, resulting in fresh and flavourful dishes and while heritage seeps through every bite, Cotton Sushi Lab also courts contemporary tastes.
In the Edo era, sushi was generally washed down with green tea and Cotton Sushi Lab offers premium tea options, but in keeping with modern day tastes and desires, there’s also a carefully curated wine and Champagne list designed to enhance the fine dining experience. High-end sakes are also on offer, for those who like to complement their Japanese cuisine with the popular Japanese fermented rice beverage – your attentive and knowledgeable waiter will be able to recommend the drop that’s perfect for your tastes.
If you have yet to see the classic 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, be sure to add it to your watch list before your dinner date at Cotton Sushi Lab. It explains a lot about the philosophy behind the restaurant and its quest to be a cut above the rest. In it, the octogenarian and reluctant Michelin-starred chef Jiro Ono says: “I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.” While no one knows where the top is, there is no doubt that Cotton Sushi Lab is climbing towards it at a great pace. Be sure you were there at the start of its journey.