Ibiza restaurants: Cotton Beach Club – Where magic happens
The word magic is bandied around in Ibiza all too often these days, along with incredible, wonderful, spectacular and a whole list of superlatives too long to mention. When it comes to Cotton Beach Club – the original venue from the group who now boast an empire of businesses across the island – all these words can be put to good use. After four years in business, they are well deserved.
The stylish Cala Tarida destination has evolved beyond its original beach club concept; today, the complex boasts one of the island’s most in-demand seaside restaurants, a hip sushi bar, cocktail lounge, rooftop terrace ideal for dining, drinks or special events, luxurious beachfront sunloungers and VIP cabanas (with full restaurant service) and one of the island’s best-curated fashion boutiques. A one-stop shop for exceptional Ibiza holiday experiences.
When it comes to cuisine, the Cotton Beach Club philosophy is to take diners on a tour of the world’s greatest culinary destinations. And who better to lead the charge than well-travelled head chef Federico Garcia? Born in Argentina, he spent many years traversing the globe with a deep interest in cooking inherited from his mother and grandmother. The spices of Thailand, the flavours of Vietnam, the tastes of Cuba, the fresh seafood of the Bahamas, the savoury bites of Morocco and the street foods of Mexico (among many other places) opened his eyes and his taste buds to a new style of eating and thus inspired him to try his hand at becoming a chef.
A former double bass player, an injury saw Federico give up his musical career, and the next logical step was cooking. Spending 10 years in Barcelona, he made a sea change for Ibiza in 2006, where he spent his first six years working as a chef in the notorious fusion kitchen of Bambuddha, learning the skills and techniques to bring his gastronomic travelling memories to life. After a brief stint in Formentera, he returned to Ibiza to take up the position of head chef at Cotton Beach Club in 2016 and has never looked back. This year sees the always-smiling convivial chef give the menu plenty of his own unique, signature touches, taking care to ensure each dish is carefully catered to the European palate.
Stand-out dishes include the Som Tam salad, which Garcia calls his ‘fake Som Tam’, with a wry smile, knowing the intense heat of true Thai spice is not something for a hot summer day in Ibiza. The typical flavours and zest are all still there however, with succulent king crab, fresh carrot and zucchini, all swimming in a delectable mix of palm sugar, mint, daikon, basil, lime and fish sauce. His personal favourite is the octopus served with typical Spanish ‘ajo blanco’ cold soup made from pistachio and coconut milk – cooked sous vide with apple, then topped with ground black olives for a taste sensation unlike anything else you’ve ever tried.
No matter how big your group, or how varied the dietary requirements, you’ll find something for everyone on the Cotton Beach Club menu. Classic Bellota (acorn-fed) ham, Padron peppers or spicy patatas bravas, for those who like typical Spanish starters, a divine raw tuna tartare for those seeking the freshness of the sea, topped with refreshing mango and wasabi ice cream for a kick, mussels steamed in saffron sauce or a classic tomato and Burrata salad that Garcia says rivals any tomato salad in the world for quality.
No beach menu would be complete without a seabass baked in salt, cut and served at your table, while jetsetters will love the charcoal cod in miso, while those with a taste for the more exotic must try Federico’s signature spicy homemade yellow or red curries. A hark to his Mexican travels comes via chicken tacos, while vegetarians are also spoilt for choice with the veggie burger and mini vegetables in Romescu sauce the star features. Meat lovers should try the 24-hour slow roasted Segovia suckling pig (another of Garcia’s favourites), given a touch of the Orient with Japanese herbs and sauces.
Speaking of Japan and all of its gastronomic glory, sushi too, plays a huge part on the menu, with a dedicated sushi bar adjacent to Federico’s kitchen pass spearheaded by sushi maestro Borja García Ollero. The two ultra-professional kitchens work harmoniously to ensure all dishes arrive at your table together, no matter what menu you have ordered from. Sashimi, Nigiri – which can have Caviar added for extra luxury – and premium rolls filled with a variety of flavours ranging from Norwegian salmon and foie gras steak to prawn tempura or spicy king crab, are just the start of the two-page menu. The hardest thing about dining at Cotton Beach Club is being spoilt for choice.
In addition to its daily offerings, Cotton Beach Club also hosts special champagne luncheons on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer season in collaboration with Collet Champagne. Add to all of that great music courtesy of resident DJ Dalibor Dadoff and special guests, million dollar views over the Mediterranean and it seems Cotton Beach Club really is where magic happens.