The Japanese phrase omakase (お任せ) has become somewhat of a buzzword on the international sushi scene in recent years, as discerning diners have come to understand that loosely translated it means ‘I’ll leave it up to you’ – that is, chef’s choice. Much more than just a culinary trend however, omakase allows sushi chefs to be innovative and creative, to work with the freshest and finest ingredients available on a day by day (and indeed, hour by hour) basis, and to interact with diners as they proudly present their creations piece by piece over the course of an evening. Here in Ibiza, the all-new Cotton Sushi Lab is an omakase-only experience – the first of its kind on the island.
Step inside the big wooden doors of Cotton Sushi Lab in the heart of Ibiza town and you’ll enter a world dedicated to the perfect omakase experience. There are just 24 seats available – 14 of which are at the bar, where you can watch the magic happen, and just five tables of two on the floor – in the stylish space, where a candlelit air of mystery hints at the special experience that lies ahead. Reservations are essential, and there are two sittings per evening: 7pm and 9.30pm. Guests are asked to adhere to their seating time in order for the sushi masters to prep ingredients and ensure optimum freshness and flavour the very minute they are served to you. Here, Instagramming your meal is eschewed for immediately consuming each morsel – such is the passion for precision and perfection.
Much more than just a culinary trend, omakase allows sushi chefs to be innovative, working with the freshest and finest ingredients available.
The philosophy behind Cotton Sushi Lab is simple. Only the finest fish and seafood – wild where possible – is sustainably sourced and the produce is allowed to speak for itself. All the produce that comes into the kitchen must comply with the restaurant’s high standards and environmentally friendly ethos. Fresh wasabi is grated at the table, ginger is pickled in-house and the soy sauce is completely homemade. Short-grain rice is prepared and vinegared specifically for each table and each piece of fish is carefully selected and stored according to traditional Japanese customs, wrapped in three different types of paper to prevent drying, maximise flavour and preserve texture – sliced just before serving to maximise flavour and texture alike.
As diners sit at the glossy blond wood bar, they watch the chefs quietly slice and dice with intense concentration, dispensing completely of a written menu. There is something for all appetites at Cotton Sushi Lab, with three menu options to choose from: the signature omakase, a vegan variety or the shojokase – a menu designed for guests who may prefer to stick to more traditional fish such as tuna or salmon, and not delve into the creative depths of the sea. Sushi aficionados will put themselves in the hands of the masters however, knowing that no two omakase experiences will ever be exactly alike.
As each piece of sushi is served at Cotton Sushi Lab, the intimacy of the experience means plenty of interaction with the chefs as each piece of sushi is served. A fascinating fine dining experience for foodies, you’ll hear about the origins of each piece of fish, the way it has been handled and prepared, along with recommendations on how to best to eat it – for example, dipping fish-first or rice-first into soy sauce can completely change the way the flavours are experienced. And yet, despite the personalised presentation this is not ‘show cooking’, rather, it shows a respect for the cuisine and ingredients. Humility is one of the facets of a master sushi chef; the ego is tamed to make room for the ultimate goal of simplicity and purity.
In the 2011 smash hit documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the 85-year-old taciturn patriarch of the tiny restaurant and unlikely recipient of three Michelin stars situated at the bottom of a Tokyo subway escalator says: “Once you decide on your occupation… you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill.” This dedication to the craft is obvious at Cotton Sushi Lab, where the roots of this ancient culinary tradition become apparent, echoing Edo-era Japan while redefining the assumptions diners have about sushi in the modern world.
Cotton Sushi Lab is a must-try experience for lovers of gastronomy and a very welcome addition to the year-round restaurant scene in Ibiza.
The dedication to creating high-end cuisine is matched by a wine list brimming with the finest white, rosé and red wines, plus Champagne and sparkling wines that have been selected to pair with your meal, as islanders and holidaymakers have come to expect from the renowned Cotton Lifestyle Group. Premium green tea and sake are also on offer, in keeping with Japanese tradition. Cotton Sushi Lab is so much more than just a fine dining restaurant or a sushi bar – it is a must-try experience for lovers of gastronomy and a very welcome addition to the year-round restaurant scene in Ibiza.
Open nightly throughout the holiday season (from December 22 to January 2, 2021) in addition to Wednesday to Sunday all year round, Cotton Sushi Lab is the perfect place for a post-Christmas shopping indulgence, for an alternative festive meal, for a mid-week celebration, for date night with a difference, or to ring in the new year in style. Reservations are essential and an unforgettable experience guaranteed.