Ibiza restaurants: Wasa.b – All in the details

Our love affair with sushi is incessant – all across the world we cherish the perfectly made little parcels of rice and fresh fish. In fact, our obsession with it has made it one of the most popular cuisines on the planet. Here in Ibiza, we’re at the forefront of that very same movement, and consequently sushi outlets are popping up here, there and everywhere. But if it’s an authentic taste of Japanese-inspired Asian cuisine you’re seeking, take a stroll to Wasa.b, one of the latest additions to the scintillating sushi scene in the centre of Ibiza town.

Adjoining Plaza del Parque, one of Ibiza’s most bustling main squares, Wasa.b – created by the renowned Amaribiza Group – has an unassuming spot on a timeworn sidestreet. The location makes it a haven of tranquillity, not to mention a fantastic spot for watching the myriad people as they slowly saunter past. Open daily from 7pm, it’s also the ideal venue for admiring the subtle changes that descend as the city transforms from day to night. Take a seat on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace as a magical golden light cloaks the antique walls of Dalt Vila at sunset – this alone is an alfresco dining experience not to be missed.

Aside from this unabashed aspect of Mediterranean escapism, Wasa.b is primarily a Japanese influenced affair, thanks primarily to Ricardo Jorge Coelho, the creative mastermind behind all of the Amaribiza Group’s venues. Traditionally decorated parasols hang from the restaurant’s canopy, wafting enticingly on the breeze, while dusty pink cherry blossoms adorn muted grey walls to softly remind us of the restaurant’s culinary origins. Elsewhere you find bamboo sticks adorning the tables and precisely pruned potted trees resembling oversized versions of Bonsais – it’s the little details that make all the difference.

Then of course, there’s the Wasa.b pièce de resistance – its mouth-watering menu. Designed in collaboration between owners, Cristian Jesús Grossi and José Luis Bousoño Rodríguez, and head chef, Jian Lin – a man with years of sushi experience under his belt, it’s an undisputed masterclass in flavour; a lesson in how to combine the very best elements of one culinary creation with another. One dish that truly sums up this ethos is the Egg Chicken Katsu – deep fried chicken cutlet surrounded by rice and the traditional egg Maki coating – a fusion of crispy tenderness that explodes on the tastebuds.

Delve a bit deeper into Jian Lin’s life as a sushi chef and the ingenuity behind his creations begin to make sense. “It took me two years to become a sushi master,” he explains. “I then worked at B.For, a famous sushi restaurant in Ibiza, for seven years.” This was a craft he had always wanted to perfect, having been keen to do a job that involved some degree of physical dexterity: “I like working thoroughly with my hands,” he elaborates. “With sushi, it’s not just about creating with my heart, it’s also about precision.” This element of his artistry is clearly visible on every Wasa.b plate, with each portion delivered to the table looking like a colourful, miniature work of art.

It’s not all about appearance though, and of course, Jian Lin’s creations have the substance to support their stunning aesthetic. For a start, the restaurant works in partnership with local farmers and fishermen to source island produce where possible, meaning food is sustainable and delicious, and Jian Lin has some more tricks up his well skilled sleeve. “The quality and freshness of the products are essential,” he teases. “But the rice we use also contains a secret sauce and that makes it very special.” The texture of each sushi piece at Wasa.b is unbeatable – each bite is the epitome of plump, pillowy goodness.

The chef claims he loves everything on his menu (who can blame him?) but when pushed for an answer, he admits the ‘Dragon’ is his ultimate favourite – consisting of eight pieces of crispy prawn tempura, asparagus, avocado and tobiko, that comes as no surprise. He’s dedicated to experimenting with flavours, and while new combinations are important, he reiterates the authenticity of his sushi will always remain a priority.

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