I couldn’t believe it when I first saw the invitation to the Meatopia event at Pikes at Ibiza Rocks House. I had to stop and wonder if someone was playing a joke on me. Because in this day and age of veganism, macrobiotic diets, conscious cooking and health awareness, the good old fashioned slab of meat gets a little too overlooked for my liking. And this invitation showed a picture of a giant, marbled steak that made my mouth water before I’d even read the words.
Whoa, vegans! Didn’t I ask you not to read ahead? I can almost hear your backlash as I type. Now please note before I go any further, I respect your choices to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, whatever-atarian. I really do. And so I hope, even if you disagree with my choices, you can still respect that they are indeed my own. Now seriously guys… look away. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. So as I was saying, there was this invitation. MEATOPIA Eat meat Sleep Repeat
It was like my carnivorous dream come true. Anyone who knows me will know I am partial to a little bit of… oh, ok A LOT of meat in my diet. I’m the kind of person who has to stop at the McDonald’s drive thru on the way home after having dinner at a vegetarian’s house for my meat fix. I simply do not understand the point of ordering a curry, stir-fry or noodle dish if it does not have meat in eat. I do not believe that tofu or Portobello mushrooms can substitute in any way for a steak. I think pizza is weird if it doesn’t have ham or pepperoni on it. Even simple pasta dishes have got to at least have some bacon in them or I feel totally unsatisfied afterwards. (By the way, vegans, if you’re still reading – please, no judgement. I told you to look away!) Recently, I felt completely depleted of energy and I just couldn’t understand why. I went to see my lovely Chinese Herbal Medicine doctor and she promptly prescribed 10 days of eating red meat to get me back to good health! It’s not me, it’s my blood type. Apparently. Though I don’t feel like I should have to justify it in any way. I really do need to eat meat every day, or I get edgy, tired and pretty darn hungry. (Though I must admit I am open to meat-free Mondays since Paul and Stella make such a valid argument for saving the planet. Probably best if it’s said Mondays are spend hungover and dying in bed without consuming much more than a slice of toast then.)
ANYWAY. I digress. Meatopia. It was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. A bespoke barbecue in the fairytale back gardens of Pikes – my favourite place IN THE WORLD (also the first place I ever stayed in Ibiza, many moons ago). Multi-award winning chef Richard H Turner – whose barbecue I had drooled over (not literally) at last year’s Groucho party but didn’t get to sample – was planning to prepare five different types of meat. There were a bunch of side dishes listed on the menu too, but I couldn’t get past the giant lettering that just said: M E A T. Oh – and the soundtrack was going to be provided by one of my favourite artists, Bushwacka! and it was going to be all about old school hip hop and breaks. Seriously. It was like someone had cyber stalked me, found all of my favourite things (minus my cat) and put them into one room. I counted down the days. I deliberated about whether to starve myself all day in preparation, or to graze and slowly stretch my stomach for the feast that lay ahead. The event started at 8pm and at 7.30pm I was getting edgy and antsy. We had to hit the road. I had to be the first person in front of this custom made barbecue I’d been dreaming about. So my friend – le’s call him Mr B – and I zipped up the highway, probably breaking a few speeding laws in anticipation… and then there we were. Pikes at Ibiza Rocks House.
As we stepped through the garden and were greeted with a (very British, and also very delicious) cocktail, my nostrils flared up like a hunting dog. There were spices in the air. There was juicy, crispy skin crackling. Thick, delicious meaty juices were flowing…. And then I saw her. The mother of all barbecues. A big brick structure built right into the ground, with carefully selected wood burning at ground level, oh-so-slowly smoking and cooking the payes chicken, rib eye beef, pork belly ribs and more meaty deliciousness above. And there HE was. The king. Richard H Turner, who had been slaving away over the hot barbecue since 10am that very morning in a quest to deliver the tenderest of meats, the most succulent of sausages and the most flavour-filled filets to his followers. The medieval style apron gave him an air of authority. He wielded his tongs and knives like an artist. It was magical to watch, and tantalising to smell. I was finding it really hard to be polite and make small talk. All I wanted to do was get stuck in!
When the time came, I was not disappointed. Every last mouthful was a savoury sensation. Clinched rib eye of beef. Spit roast lamb. Slow grilled pork belly ribs. Grilled quail with chorizo. jerk chicken and mushrooms – and let me just make a point here, in a little vegetable’s defence, that every single diner on my table was in agreement that those mushrooms were the finest tasting mushrooms we had ever eaten, even as good as the meat accompanying it! While some might presume all that meat was too heavy for a meal, the carefully thought out side dishes served as the perfect light palate cleansers – ranging from a baked beetroot salad, the best Caesar I have ever tasted and an amazing green chilli slaw to escarole with anchovy cream and homemade baked beans. I was in heaven. And of course, a lovely drop of vino tinto didn’t go astray to wash it all down. One of the finest feasts of my Ibiza lifetime, to say the very least. Of course, I know it’s not for everyone. I’m sure the organisers know it’s not for everyone. The event is called Meatopia after all! It’s not about discrimination to those who don’t eat meat… it’s about catering specifically to those (like me!) who do. If you don’t eat meat (why are you still reading?), don’t book a table. If you do, then I cannot recommend this highly enough. There are four more events this season… and I will be reserving my place by the barbeque for all of them!