In the early days, it was a fiercely guarded locals’ secret, but as with anywhere serving up high quality home style cooking in a gorgeous surrounding, word started to spread and its reputation grew. And why wouldn’t it? A gorgeous contemporary interior, fusing modern Ibicenco style with Indonesian chic and natural materials; a breezy, sun-drenched garden dining space, where sunflowers shoot up towards the sky and bamboo rustles in the wind; views across the campo and a laidback atmosphere that makes anyone feel at home.
But the secret of The Giri Café’s success goes way beyond aesthetics. Danish restaurateur Rosa Pil Hidebrandt is behind The Giri Café, possessing a passionate, pure and professional philosophy when it comes to food and the overall dining experience. “I believe great food should be enjoyed without pretentiousness,” says Rosa. “This is truly the spirit of Mediterranean cooking, where we have our roots.” First things first with food. Focusing on sustainability and locally sourced produce is The Giri Café’s number one priority. The fresher and closer to HQ, the better, with a carefully tended vegetable garden taking pride of place in the terrace area, with ingredients plucked just hours (if not minutes) before they make it to your plate. If it’s not grown directly onsite, it’s come through a carefully developed relationship with local farmers or producers in mainland Spain, all engaged in organic, ethical and responsible farming methods.
Once the ingredients hit the kitchen, the magic really starts to happen. “The best ingredients allow recipes to be simple and straightforward, bursting with nutrients and life,” says Rosa of their food philosophy. Seasonal dishes are carefully designed to be feelgood and healthy, unpretentious and pure. The Giri Café menu is a delight to the senses. “We want to eat good food with honest tastes that our great grandmothers would recognise,” says Rosa. In addition to the natural goodness packed onto each plate, every dish is a feast for the eyes in addition to the stomach. “We aim for a rustic yet polished presentation,” says Rosa, as colours collide and bright vegetables decorate beautiful plates. Forget nouveaux or molecular cuisine – here, the chef simply works with what he has on his doorstep in terms of decoration. No fancy gimmicks; just a sprinkling of edible flowers, fresh herb, truffles, roasted nuts and more.
Once the dish arrives to your table, this is where the true Giri dining experience comes into play. It’s all about biting into different textures, breathing in the delicious aromas, tasting the honest-to-goodness, great home made food. “Our food is about fragrance, crunchiness and letting natural flavours combine,” explains Rosa. “Different textures have to work together, either unifying or juxtaposing their differences, but always with an aim to bring pleasure to the palate.” Flavours are enhanced rather than masked, leaving each natural ingredient to shine in its crunchiness or its special flavour. Food from the heart – each new mouthful is truly a delight. The icing on the Giri cake is the exceptional standard of service. Each and every team member pours pure passion into whatever they do, from beautifully setting the tables in the mornings to the warm welcome each customer receives as they step over the threshold – The Giri team are definitely not restaurant robots on autopilot! “All staff members have their own personality, smile and sparkle,” Rosa says.
The Giri Café occupies an almost sacred space in San Juan – once a free-for-all hangout for the bohemians and hippies of the 60s and 70s – and it was important to the owners that its new incarnation to keep this warm and welcoming vibe. “We look at everyone who walks through our doors as either already a friend, or one soon to be,” says Rosa. “By embracing that idea, we know every guest will have exceptional service, outstanding food and hopefully will know that whenever they walk into our restaurant, that they are coming home.”