‘In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.’ Great philosopher Eric Hoffer’s theory has been proven time and time again throughout history and as we shift into the new age, a new breed of learners is emerging in Ibiza as they instigate, inspire and facilitate much-needed change. A positive change is brewing on the south-western shores of Cala Moli, thanks to the powerhouse collective behind innovative new beach restaurant El Silencio.
A decade after iconic Parisian brand Silencio opened the doors to its first avant-garde private club – personally designed by cult filmmaker David Lynch, no less – deep underground in the artsy 18th arrondissement of Montmatre, the brand brings its independent spirit and untamed soul to Ibiza through the creation of an all-new beach house. More than simply a restaurant, a bar or a venue, El Silencio is an experiential hangout, designed for local and global creatives to come together and establish meaningful connections beneath the Balearic sun and stars. A sanctuary for soul searching and a magnet for creativity, this new venture is a return to the halcyon days of old, as we collectively navigate today’s altered reality.
El Silencio is comprised of three spaces – a beach restaurant, a poolside contemporary tapas and cocktail bar and a chill-out and art installation area – but the paradisiacal destination is so much more than the sum of its parts. Described by Silencio founder and owner Arnaud Frisch as ‘a new kind of experience – a beautiful mess that rekindles the laid-back, interconnected vibe of the 70s, where all ages and backgrounds mix and will want to spend hours together,’ El Silencio evokes nostalgia, hope and bliss. Simplicity, quality, comfort and connectivity are at its heart – here, freedom, inclusivity and happiness reign.
While the original Silencio and its subsequent pop-ups at Miami Art Basel, Cannes Film Festival, Venice Biennale and London’s Serpentine Gallery Future Contemporaries are the embodiment of modernity, opulence and eccentricity, the Ibiza outpost sits gently and harmoniously within its environment. El Silencio is intentionally pared-back and at one with nature, its founding design principle guided by the desire to embrace EL Silencio’s history as a bohemian beach shack. Mallorca-based architects MOREDESIGN were enlisted to breathe new life into the once-revered location, using traditional and local materials throughout the project to result in an impeccably authentic venue that is reflective of its completely unspoilt location.
A return to comfort is echoed in the cuisine concept at El Silencio, where luminary French Chef Jean Imbert and the inimitable Pharrell Williams have adapted their successful ToSHARE St Tropez restaurant concept for the Balearic foodie community. Think wholesome and hearty beach eats, made with locally sourced products and using time-honoured techniques with a contemporary twist. Imbert is no stranger to nostalgia – many of his recipes are an homage to his ‘Mamie’ (grandmother) – and his interpretation of Mediterranean classics bring the flavours of Ibiza directly to your plate. Or to your eco-friendly takeaway vessels, should you prefer to go old school and dine picnic-style on the golden sands of Cala Moli.
Lovers of ToSHARE will be thrilled to see some of Imbert’s classic dishes on the menu at El Silencio, including Jean’s Avocado (if you know, you know) and refreshing melon with sweet pepper, while other highlights include potato waffles with guacamole, a sweet and savoury strawberry and feta salad, plus clams in sweet pepper butter. Naturally, French oysters make an appearance and the rest of the menu sings with freshness, simplicity and flavour. Think the freshest razor clams in the Med, an amazing combo of pulpo, alioli and padron peppers, arroz a banda (served two ways), Iberian pork with sweet potato and chorizo and Mamie’s Ratatouille, made with the catch of the day (and love). Be sure to save room for Churros ‘Silencio’ and and ToSHARE’s signature Cookie for dessert – although whether you will want to share is a conundrum …
When it came to enlisting a mixologist for El Silencio, Argentian-born, Madrid-based ‘coctelero’ Diego Cabrera skyrocketed to the top of the list of contenders. The owner of Salmon Guru – known as one of the top 50 bars in the world – has long been renowned for his unconventional approach to cocktails and it seemed only fitting he do the honours here in Ibiza. With names such as Orange Blossom, Ultramarine and One of Us, it’s clear the vanguard mixologist has taken inspiration from the white isle for many of his creations, although some of his most-loved signature cocktails – including the Tanqueray-based Pichi Fizz and the rum-infused Dragon’s Daughter – have also island-hopped onto the menu.
Whether you’re imbibing, dining or simply escaping to relax, it’s impossible to leave El Silencio without stopping for a pit-stop in the chill-out area, where a charging station, co-working space and pop-up shop curated by local artists all encourage you to linger longer. It’s here you’ll also witness the majesty of the large-scale, art installation by Ibiza artist Miranda Makaroff dubbed ‘The Octopus Visit’ – an incredible immersive piece inspired by a real-life experience by the multi-disciplinary artist in the azure waters of nearby Formentera. Bold, vibrant, unconventional and fun, Makaroff describes it as retro-surrealistic and in a way, the piece also harks back to Ibiza’s creative heyday, when artists would flock to her shores, inspired by nature, community and that famous golden light.
Speaking of Ibiza’s sunlight, Cala Moli also happens to be one of the island’s unsung sunset destinations. Decades after the Ibiza sunset craze sparked a thousand chill-out mixes around the world, this west-coast cove still remains, surprisingly, a local’s sunset secret – one that El Silencio plans to honour. Like its Parisian namesake, El Silencio will present a rich and varied cultural programme throughout the summer evenings, from film screenings and special events to musical soundscapes carefully curated by none other than globally renowned audiophile Arman Naféei – the man responsible for the musical direction of hotelier André Balazs’ famed venues, including The Boom Boom Room at The Standard Hotels, Sunset Beach in the Hamptons, Chiltern Firehouse in London and the enduring Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, where he remains the ‘Directeur d’Ambiance’.
As we stand on the precipice between the old and the new Ibiza, there’s no question El Silencio has one foot firmly planted in the island’s future, while ever-so-skillfully recalling the euphoria of its past. The learned have once again become the learners – respecting history and heritage, anticipating great change and evolving with the needs of the global creative community – as they present this new concept and help to write the next chapter in Ibiza’s colourful history. Summer 2021 is just the beginning…