I have to admit. I knew The Giri Café was going to be good before we even stepped foot in the door. Anyone lucky enough (like White Ibiza director Natalie Chaponnel and myself) to have experienced the service, style, standards and food at The Giri Residence, the intimate boutique hotel that sits conveniently right next door to the restaurant would understand that the ‘Giri’ touch is a little bit like the Ibiza version of Midas…
So it was with pleasure that we headed up north, eager to check out the Giri team’s latest project. We arrived at the magical sunset hour, as the golden sun streamed over the San Juan hills, making for a truly beautiful drive through the countryside… after a long day at work I have to say, I actually felt like I was on holidays!
You literally cannot miss The Giri Café, as it sits right in the plaza opposite the church however it’s very unassuming and casual entrance – two wooden double doors with basic signage above – give absolutely no clue as to the wonders that lie beyond them. Stepping inside was like entering another world… transported beyond San Juan and into a cosmopolitan city, drawing elements from all over the world. Let’s be clear – this is no cafe. This is a high-quality restaurant that would be perfectly at home in any of the world’s greatest cities!
To be perfectly honest, I think The Giri Café is a welcome breath of fresh air into the quaint little village, the perfect contemporary complement to the rustic restaurants and surrounds. Set in a townhouse-style old finca, each intimate room offers a different ambience – from private cosy corners to a modern, sleek bar and a large, open modern dining room with stunning views over the campo.
All the furnishings (and I mean every little last detail, from the striking bamboo roof and reclaimed wooden tables down to the beautiful cutlery) carried the signature exotic and stylish touches associated with The Giri… Divine! We were greeted by the ever-so-lovely Rosa Hildebrandt, who talked us through many of the design details and plans for the summer before leaving us to peruse the menu…
So let’s talk about the food now, shall we?
To start with, my personal fave, goat’s cheese salad, in this case slightly grilled and with a honey, red wine and nut vinaigrette. Rosa had explained that many of the starter dishes were designed to be shared but my salad was so good I didn’t really feel inclined to part with it! But after eyeing off Natalie’s grilled Mediterranean vegetables with pesto, I thought a trade was in order. Well worth it.
For mains, I have to admit I felt spoilt for choice – I really could have ordered everything on the menu (and anyone who knows me will tell you I am fussy!). I just really love simple food, and the Giri menu seems to have mastered the art. When your head chef has worked in not one, not two but THREE Michelin starred restaurants throughout his career, you know he’s got a trick or two up his sleeve, and whatever your secret is, Juan Pablo Carrizo, you’ve got my vote!
Ultimately, I opted for the vegetable risotto. Such a difficult dish to get right at home so whenever I see it on a menu, I just have to have it (also, I’d been at Space the night before so really felt like a little comfort food was in order). Light (yes, really!), fluffy, slightly creamy and oh-so-savoury, it was the perfect dish for me. Like your mum’s home cooking… only way better! Reports from the other side of the table were that the wild sea bass was perfect for a lighter appetite and washed down with a crisp, white wine, it was the ideal meal for a hot summer night.
More comfort came in the form of dessert – a freshly glazed crème brulee (heaven!) and a rather large tiramisu (slightly too chocolate-y to be traditional). As we rolled out the door and back to the car, strolling by the famous church under the starry night sky I couldn’t help but wonder… just how many calories had I just consumed?