Ibiza restaurants: Wi-Ki-Woo – International flavours, local heart

There’s an impressive new player on the Ibiza sunset restaurant scene in 2018 – a place that’s been (more often than once) declared the ‘most Instagram-able hotel in Ibiza’. Attracting the who’s who of the global influencer scene and many visiting celebs, Wi-Ki-Woo is indeed every bit as beautiful as its well-deserved reputation says, but what many visitors may not realise is that beyond the glitz, glamour and global appeal lies a true local heart and soul.

Wi-Ki-Woo Head chef and Kitchen Manager Lee Sharville is a well-known culinary character in the San Antonio area. As owner and head chef of popular, long-running local restaurant Casita, he’s spent the last 14 years developing relationships with the very best local suppliers, uncovering the finest home-grown fresh fruit and vegetables, honing his expertise as a chef and consistently delivering warm, friendly service to all who grace his tables. Over the years, the owners of nearby Ocean Beach Club became regular customers at Casita, and when the time came for Tony Truman to embark on his latest project, he knew exactly who he wanted to enlist when it came to the food and beverage side of the project.

For Sharville, the Wi-Ki-Woo project is a chance to showcase his skills on a global level, and create an expansive, varied menu that takes hotel guests and visiting diners from breakfast to lunch through to sunset, cocktails and later on for dinner. His experience and connections were invaluable when setting up the new restaurant – eliminating the need for trial and error many new venues face when setting up. Thanks to its stunning façade and clever marketing, the hotel has been filled to the brim with holidaymakers since it opened earlier in the season, but Sharville is also passionate about pleasing locals – from residents and workers to born and bred Ibicenco locals and his valued Casita clienteles.

For the magical month of September (always an Ibiza local’s favourite), Wi-Ki-Woo has just unveiled its all-new sunset menu – a three course set menu including a cocktail for just 50€ per person. Served from 6pm until 11pm, it’s the ideal excuse to pull up a pastel-hued pew on the gorgeous Art Deco inspired terrace and enjoy a curated selection of the Wi-Ki-Woo menu (the à la carte menu is also available) while watching the iconic Ibiza sunset in a more tranquil setting on the west coast. Around 500 metres (give or take a few steps) north of the famous ‘Sunset Strip’ where banging music and buzzing crowds are the order of the day, Wi-Ki-Woo offers a more sophisticated setting. House music is still the order of the day – think Balearic classics – and the sandy promenade is chilled out, relaxed and welcoming to one and all.

Couples, friends, families – Wi-Ki-Woo is well designed to host intimate tables and large groups alike, from cute bar stools and low slung tables to old-school style booths peppered across the space – all with an unrivalled sunset view. On arrival, you’ll be offered a choice of house cocktails (an ever-changing selection) and then faced with the most difficult decision of your day: choosing your menu combo. The menu has a distinct Asian twist, with four starters, five mains – including hot, cold, vegan and vegetarian options – and two desserts, the choices are plentiful.

To start, choose between a classic Thai Prawn Tom Kha soup – brimming with zesty lemongrass, spiced coconut and fresh tomato – or lightly pan-fried Vietnamese Fishcakes, made fresh daily with white fish, spices and coriander. The Korean Grilled Short Ribs are a taste-sensational star of the menu – the tender meat falling off the bone with just a graze of your knife – while the Quinoa Salad with avocado, mango and sun-dried tomatoes offers a healthy option for those who are that way inclined.

Moving onto mains, there is indeed something to suit all appetites, from the hearty Charred Rump with Parmesan chips and Portobello mushrooms or the sweet, coconut infused Vegan Curry of sweet potatoes, chick peas and spinach to the ultra-popular Smoked Mackerel and Sweetcorn Risotto withv wasabi cream. A classic Teppanyaki Chicken with crunchy veg and shredded beets and Seared Tuna on cold rice noodles complete the offering – with a classic Nutted Brownie or Mojito Sorbet completing the trifecta of courses. “It’s the complete package,” says Sharville proudly.

Of course, as a fully-functioning hotel, Wi-Ki-Woo must also offer all the holiday classics for its guests and it’s on the à la carte menu where you’ll find favourites such as a club sandwich (“Ours is a REAL feed.”), creamy pasta carbonara, Caesar salads (with the ‘woo’ twist) and three types of burgers (black ox, crispy chicken and vegan). But look beyond the obvious and you’ll find a menu brimming with international flair and flavour – thanks to Sharville’s extensive worldwide travels in the off-season taking him to places such as Brazil and Asia where he finds further gastronomic inspiration.

One of the chef’s personal favourite dishes is the baked salmon – a perfectly cooked fillet topped with sesame seeds and served on a bed of prawn, leek and squid ink risotto. The decadent 1kg Tomahawk also gets his vote (“if I was sharing!”) – served on the bone with a light Asian green slaw. Those with a penchant for surf and turf will love the Prime Plump Fillet – a perfectly cooked cut of beef served with chef’s own recipe lobster mac and cheese (“I have such a soft spot for this dish,” he confesses), plus a Panko tempura prawn. If you’re feeling extra peckish, there’s an entire menu section dedicated to fries – house chunky, wasabi salted, Parmesan and sweet potato – plus a variety of greens ranging from edamame and fried greens to simple mixed leaf.

A range of sharing platters (with serving sizes for two, four or six people) has also been designed to cater to big groups – perfect to casually pick at over sunset if you’re not sitting down for the three-course experience. Choose from the best-selling Asian platter of chicken satay, Panko prawns, spring rolls, ribs, dim sum and more, or a hearty platter of sliders, the ‘El Med’ Mediterranean meats and cheese platter or the delicious vegan option which includes cashew ricotta, red pepper hummus, soaked olives, salad, veg and more.

If all that’s not enough to woo you to this spectacular destination, watching the venue transform at the magical hour of dusk should do the trick. As the sun goes down outside, the lights go up (oh-so-slowly, dimmer-style) to a create a beautifully soft glow around Wi-Ki-Woo. The violet sky is offset by neon pink lights while pastel faux palm lighting perfectly complements the real thing – all the more reason to Instagram, my dears…