Ibiza restaurants: Bambuddha – Happy food, happy people

On Ibiza – as in life – there is constant flow. It’s visible in the changing seasons; the merging of day and night; the symbiosis between land and animal. It’s a finely tuned balance that allows coexistence of ideas and reality, and it’s ever-changing – our island is all the better for it. Bambuddha, the much-loved gastronomic haven in San Lorenzo, is a fine example of this. Because despite its longstanding reputation among foodies, this summer, the popular restaurant is adopting some culinary, ecological and service-inspired changes that promise to make it an even more spectacular dining destination than ever before.

The man spearheading Bambuddha’s evolution is Jonjon Moon – now moving into his second year as general manager of the restaurant. Last year he began the process of seamlessly introducing subtle changes – the bar was completely refurbished and highly-trained staff were hired – but this year he’s in a position to really impose a cultural revolution at the restaurant, one that’s going to benefit everyone. “My first year as general manager went very well” says Jonjon, who basically grew up in the restaurant – which was founded by his father John Moon – and knows it like the back of his hand. “As a result, this year we opened without needing to recruit any new staff. I want my staff to be happy, and I want our guests to have a good experience at Bambuddha, I especially want them to leave with a smile and feeling happy.”

This upbeat ethos isn’t just being applied to people. The very same approach is being extended to every ingredient used in the creation of the mouth-watering MediterrAsian menu. “The biggest change at Bambuddha this year is that we’re becoming a lot more conscious of where our food comes from, and also aware of how it’s farmed or grown,” says Jonjon. “And now 90-percent of the vegetables we use are now grown on demand, on the island, for us.” Anything outside that remit is still carefully sourced, grown with attention and love, and used because it’s an essential element of flavour not practical to cultivate here. Wasabi root is sourced from Japan, for example, while hydra lettuce is grown and transported in water from Holland, so it’s still living when it arrives.

It’s clear that for Jonjon, using the best produce, creating delicious dishes, and being kind to the environment are all intrinsically connected, and that’s why every change implemented at Bambuddha is a move towards greater positivity. “A lot of my inspiration has come from the vegan movement,” he explains. “I want the animals we use to have a good life. I want the cows to be happy! Because you notice that in the quality of the food as well. I also want to buy locally as much as possible because that reduces our carbon footprint.” This doesn’t mean Bambuddha ever compromises on quality, just for the sake of saying they buy locally. Much of the ecological and outdoor-farmed meat comes from the lush terrains of mainland Spain (as close to Ibiza as possible), while fish is sustainably farmed and fed what it would normally eat in the wild, thus allowing for optimum nutrition.

The quality of food at Bambuddha has never been in question – the menu is outstanding – but the difference now is that you can eat knowing everything on your plate has come from a good place, and that adds an extra element of pleasure to the dining experience. The Nikkei beef carpaccio, for example, is made with Japanese and Peruvian flare, so the meat is super tender and served with passionfruit for a fruitier kick than what you might be expecting. The brand new spicy beef salad is also a highlight, with meat marinated for 48 hours, then cooked American barrel style, giving it an oaky, caramelised flavour with a Korean kick.

Elsewhere, you’ve got not-to-be-missed, sustainably farmed dishes like Oriental ceviche made with corvina, Yuzu Hamachi made with yellowtail, Japanese plum sauce, yuzu juice and fresh basil, the amazing soft shell crab bao bun served with a heady combination of Indian spices, shiso, pico de gallo, pineapple, coriander and paharganj sauce. The Fusion BBQ short rib is marinated in Korean sauces and smoked, and Jonjon’s personal favourite is the delectable Kowloon King Crab.

Other MediterrAsian components of the menu include dim sum, curry and sushi, which are all dizzyingly delicious, and of course, organic and sustainable. “The menu is a sharing concept,” explains Jonjon. “We recommend two or three dishes per person, but it depends what you order. Our waiters will never push you to have more than you want – our priority is to guide our guests and ensure they have the best possible experience. We want everyone to be comfortable with what they’re spending.”

The restaurant’s location in San Lorenzo is surprisingly central – just 15 minutes from almost anywhere on the island by car. At Bambuddha, there is a policy of equality, so those stopping by for a snack and a cocktail are treated the same as those diving into the full Bambuddha experience – Jonjon is aiming for everyone to have a good time, so customer satisfaction is paramount. Clients are encouraged to stay after dinner for drinks and Bambuddha offers a complimentary valet service, to allow a seamless door to door service. Happy clients, happy food and a happy environment – is there any better reason than that to book a table?