Ibiza restaurants: The Giri – A tale of two kitchens

When it comes to ‘best restaurant’ lists about Ibiza, The Giri Café is oft-referenced and highly regarded. The taste of authenticity, a true farm-to-table ethos and exceptional service are at the heart of the restaurant’s philosophy –as the hand-painted sign above the kitchen pass states, they firmly believe ‘cooking with love provides food for the soul.’ Now, in 2017, The Giri brand adds an additional culinary string to its bow, with the introduction of exclusive private dining experiences at their San Juan luxury boutique hotel, The Giri Residence.

To those who have had the pleasure of spending their precious holiday time within the sanctuary of The Giri Residence, its in-house kitchen concept is nothing new. An insider’s secret perhaps. As a matter of fact, it’s been there longer than its famed, neighbouring sister restaurant, however until now, has been exclusively reserved for the use of the hotel’s guests. With only five suites in the hotel, the cuisine offering is ultra-personal; think only the best the seasonal, local and organic ingredients whipped into amazing bespoke meals to suit each individual diner’s tastes and dietary requirements.

Due to the hotel’s intimacy and discretion, the all-new private dining experience is limited to just a few tables per night throughout high season. Dine in ‘The Living Room’ at The Giri Residence – the elegant interior dining space or in a private Balinese hut on the pristinely manicured lawn by the swimming pool, nested next to a rustling wall of bamboo. The choice is yours, but chances are you’ll have the space to yourself, for the ultimate in romantic dinner dates or the most exclusive of small group dinners, with a maximum of six people per table.

Meanwhile, the setting at The Giri Café is quite the opposite. As the sun sets, the place is illuminated softly and the buzz builds to a delightful crescendo while people from all walks of life flock to the famous eatery to try its signature cuisine, check out its stylish setting and be a part of the northern nightly culinary scene. People watching is all part of the process. Outside, beautiful rows of rustic wooden tables are lined up against walls of tall bamboo – just like the huts next door – that become part of the restaurant’s soundscape.

When it comes time to order, the sky really is the limit at The Giri Residence – head chef Carlos has a blackboard menu of specials written up, but this is merely a starting point. Getting to know his clientele, their likes and their dislikes, is all part of his job description – and then fusing his knowledge with the ingredients he has sourced that day to create the dinner of their dreams is the challenge. It is recommended to leave yourself in his highly skilled hands – yet if there is a specific desire you are craving on any given day, be sure to let him know prior to arrival and he will ensure it arrives on your plate.

Over in The Giri Café, the a la carte menu has been lovingly honed over seven years of service. This is the only place where you can try signature dishes such as the avocado cheesecake (read more about its legendary status here), the scallop tartare (and more on that here) delicately eaten from a lime wedge or the elegant wakame salad. New seasonal dishes are added as ever-changing specials on a nightly basis, and with each new year, come new additions to the menu guaranteed to win hearts with every bite.

There is a reason The Giri Residence‘s legions of loyal fans return year on year, trusting chef Carlos to interpret their tastes – his intuition is so spot-on, it is like having your own personal chef who has worked with you for most of your life. After designing your perfect menu, Carlos cooks it with passion and delivers it to your table the very second it is ready: ultra-fresh, ready to impress. He will talk you through the flavours involved in each dish, should you wish to know more. If not, he is more than happy to allow you to sample for his approval.

Within The Giri Café, the multi-staffed kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine, with everything being prepared ‘just so’, each and every time. There is a place for everything, and everything in its place. Every dish must be presented and garnished to The Giri high standards – delivered to your table by a slick, well-trained (but happy and smiling) team of professional waiters. Your glass is expertly topped up before you’ve realised you need it; your every whim is expertly catered to.

For those seeking an ultra-personalised experience, dining at The Giri Residence is like being in the home of an old, well-travelled and stylish friend – without the obligation to bring a great bottle of wine or your best banter! What was once a secret, is now open to the public – but with very limited availability, advance reservations are essential.

This laidback yet luxurious experience will obviously appeal to VIPs and those seeking romance or discretion, there is another on-island group who may find it ultra-appealing: hard working locals. After all, when you’ve spent your entire week with clients, customers, students, suppliers or guests, sometimes you just want a wonderful night out in a cool restaurant minus the air kisses associated with some of the more social hotspots of the island. The Giri Residence gives you all the culinary satisfaction, minus the need to socialise or schmooze.

However, there are always those diners who thrive on the action. On seeing who is there to see and be seen. On socialising with friends, or spontaneously making new ones. On who is wearing what, who’s sitting with whom and what’s on the specials menu tonight. For these people, it’s all about dinner at The Giri Café.

Both restaurants offer truly fantastic gourmet experiences and are must-tries for any foodie worth their Salinas salt. It’s the tale of two kitchens – all the more reason to visit The Giri my dears…

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