The ultra stylish Experimental Beach Ibiza is the first and only beachside bar and restaurant from the collective behind the renowned Experimental Cocktail Club which boasts venues in London, Paris and New York. They serve lunch, sunset cocktails and dinner daily to their jet setting clientele on the beautiful beach at Cap d’es Falco, which means a busy kitchen, and obviously, an even busier head chef. We persuaded head chef Alexander Larrea to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk to us about the magic he’s working there this summer.
What first brought you to Ibiza? I came to visit a friend and fell in love with the island. I’m from Bilbao and I always wanted to live somewhere different. The first year I worked at Vinyl; I returned the next year, in 2013 and came to this beach for the first time in my campervan to swim in the sea. I saw the beach club and thought wow! So I dropped in my CV, started working on the hotplates soon after, and then I was promoted to head chef.
How would you define your style of cuisine? I am very inspired by my Catalan grandmother, and my style is ‘cocina de verdad’ – real cooking. I believe in preserving the essence of the best quality ingredients. Our clients want relaxed, authentic food that is expertly made.
What kind of food do you like to eat yourself? I love my native Basque cuisine, Mediterranean of course, and I recently discovered I have Peruvian heritage which is great because it’s another cuisine that influences my cooking.
What is the Experimental Beach Ibiza star dish? It’s probably the Tiradito, a Peruvian-style sashimi. The combination is amazing – the acidity of the passion fruit, the crunch of the fried rocket and the delicious tiger milk marinade is really special. I am also particularly proud of the Marinated Sardines Terrine and the Charcoal Grilled Black Cod.
What are the best and worst things about being a chef? There’s a lot of pressure. I always want to deliver the perfect service. You have to juggle lots of things at the same time and the clock is always ticking. The best thing about my work is that it’s very gratifying, to do what I do here in this wonderful location. The Experimental Beach philosophy is to encourage me to develop and be different. They believe in me. So I feel very lucky.
What are your favourite restaurants in Ibiza? I love Sa Carboneria in Santa Eularia, also La Paloma, I want to try the new Adrian brothers’ restaurant Heart, and I like the restaurant at Destino.
Where do you go when you are not working? I love to go the cliffs at Pou des Lleó; I go there with my dog on almost all of my days off. I also like to have drinks and tapas in the old town.
What do you like most about living in Ibiza? It allows me to travel a lot. Every winter is different. This winter I worked in Bilbao and Paris, which was really interesting. My two passions are travelling and of course, cooking, and I love that I get to do both.