Ibiza restaurants: Wild Beets – Secret laboratory

Wild Beets is a beautiful restaurant with a little secret in the heart of Santa Gertrudis. It’s also a laboratory, of sorts. Step through the wide glass doors and you will see a bright, airy space where people sit and chat over delicious meals and drinks. Laboratory, you might ask? Doesn’t look like a lab. There’s no straight-faced people in white coats. But deep in the kitchen, and even deeper in the origins of Wild Beets, is science.

Food science has been a happening thing since humans emerged from the primordial murk and started figuring out what to eat. It took a while for it to morph into today’s global industrial machine and like so many things, it’s clouded by misinformation, hidden agendas and money. Wild Beets founder Cliff Grubin cuts through all that in order to provide the best possible food options, both environmentally and health wise. How, you may ask?

He reads. A lot. While the rest of us binge watch forgettable television, Cliff sifts through mountains of studies, books and papers written by scientists from all over the world. He deciphers information, cross checks it with other sources and adapts this knowledge to fit the Wild Beets ethos, which is to serve cruelty-free, plant-based, raw, gluten-free and organic cuisine. It requires vigilance, constant adjustment and a firm dedication to ethical and moral foundations.

Even the most health conscious person could not dedicate the time required to achieve what Wild Beets does. It’s a herculean task and one that the Wild Beets team tackles with gusto. “It is the path less travelled, but it does end up with the perfect fusion of health and flavor,” says Cliff. “It’s all based on the evidence.” Take one look at anything coming out of the Wild Beets kitchen and it’s soon apparent that the hard work is worth it.

In nature, nuts, seeds and grains employ nutritional inhibitors and other toxins as protection from being eaten before they get a chance to germinate. When there is enough precipitation, these protections are washed away and the nut or seed can sprout. Wild Beets mimics this natural process by soaking nuts, seeds and grains for up to 24 hours to allow the nutritional benefits to become readily available.

All the milks at Wild Beets are made from scratch, which means nobody is drinking anything that has been stored on a supermarket or health food store shelf. It also means that you cannot get a fresher almond matcha latte or Bullet Proof Coffee anywhere in Ibiza.

Cliff is currently researching the best alternatives for takeaway cups. Right now, he has sourced biodegradable plastic cups made from vegetable matter. It’s not a perfect solution but Cliff accepts that many people cannot manage to bring in their own reusable cups. Which is why he will soon be stocking a range of gorgeous bamboo reusable cups for sale – just as soon as he has found one that meets the strict Wild Beets guidelines.

Naturally, this intense attention to ethics is not limited to just the biodegradable and compostable take away containers. All the food served at Wild Beets is organic. Further, everything is vegan and chemical-free. Everything is made in-house, right down to the condiments. Homemade ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise is so much tastier

Cooking oil is likely one of the trickiest health and food science topics for lay people to get their heads around. Study after study has proven that canola, corn, sunflower and are high in polyunsaturated fats, which are detrimental to heart health. They also contain dangerously high amounts of 6, which is essential but not at these levels.

Unfortunately, these oils are used in huge quantities in the food industry – almost anything you find at the supermarket will contain one or more of them. Over consumption can be a factor in the most common diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis and diabetes. “All the evidence available indicates that this is a huge problem,” says Cliff. “Not just for our health but environmentally too. We only use organic olive oil, sesame or coconut oil at Wild Beets.”

When it comes to science the critical ingredients are curiosity and adaptability. As new knowledge emerges, the way we eat will change. However, Cliff himself puts it best when he says: “There is the science. We use that to back up everything we do here. But in the end, I always turn back to food writer Michael Pollan, who said it the best. ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants’.”

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