Walking through the palm fronds towards the restaurant terrace is always a shock to the senses, as the Mediterranean stretches out towards the horizon in a never-ending ripple of silvery blues. It is simply divine. While Babylon Beach is open to the public, one of the specialities of the house is bespoke events. Themed children’s parties are hosted in the Babylonitos adventure playground and organised by the in-house events team. While the kids are entertained by superheroes or princesses, the grown-ups can enjoy a glass of something in the adjacent bar. Everything from the decorations to the birthday cake is taken care of, relieving parents and ensuring the best birthday ever. The rear dining room with its rustic beach chic styling and dedicated bar can host informal drinks and canapés for up to 120 people and sit down dinners for 65. Pre or post-wedding gatherings, birthday parties, Christmas or maybe just a celebration for no reason at all, whatever the occasion, the spaces at Babylon Beach are dripping in romance and fun and the kitchen can accommodate even the trickiest requests.
Working in collaboration with the Babylon Beach chefs, party-givers can choose traditional paella, barbecue, canapés, tapas or a formal sit down three-course meal. Be sure to discuss wine lists and the creation of a unique cocktail for your special event. For those celebrating everyday life, the shaded, naturally formed terrace is a prime location for breakfast, lunch and drinks. A row of sunbeds crowns the terrace’s tables providing a lovely spot for sunbathing with benefits – that is, the benefit of being served by the friendly faces of the Babylon Beach team. Freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, homemade granola, and eggs any way followed by a pot of tea or espresso are just a few of the ways one can start a day of pure indulgence. Lunch is all about choices. Naturally, there is a lot of seafood from the delicious steamed mussels marinara or with the Thai-influenced aromas of Tom Ka sauce. Juicy, plump garlic prawns vie with tender fried calamari with tart blood orange. Salads are fresh and refreshing with the tuna poke bowl an instant classic alongside the spicy green papaya salad and creamy Burrata with heirloom tomatoes. Mains move into the realm of culinary art with dishes such as the chicken waffle with maple glaze and the whole or half roast chicken.
The Babylon Burger is famous amongst locals and while meat eaters are well looked after, Babylon Beach is also a haven for vegans. The vegan mac and cheese is indulgently healthy and the vegan falafel sub is more than just a sandwich – it’s a wonder. A relaxed vibe and a unique style create a tranquil spot to allow yourself to really sink into the island lifestyle. A focus on sustainability informs the menu. Fresh and innovative with nods to everybody’s favourite dishes, the Babylon Beach ethos is to provide a space where diners can feel right at home. The magnificent view, however, really reminds you that you’re on holiday or if you’re a local, reminds you of what a great place you’ve chosen to live. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, or simply every day life…
Babylon Beach chef duo Simone D’Elia and Filippo Alberi both hail from the magnetic city of Florence, Italy in the beautiful hills of Tuscany. The two have known each other since early childhood days, and it was here they fell in love with the culinary world and decided to chase their dreams in the kitchen. From kids to burgeoning chefs working their way through the London trenches (aka kitchens) to making the leap to continue their career in Ibiza, they’re no strangers to hard work. Today Simone and Filippo create magic in the kitchen of beautiful Ibiza beach restaurant Babylon Beach on the outskirts of Santa Eulalia. Rest assured when dining at the east coast destination, you’re in good hands. Diners experience first-hand the Babylon Beach ethos of heart, soul and passion injected into each dish coming out of the kitchen. Simone and Filippo don’t make good food and exceptional produce complicated – what they do is make simple food pretty darn close to perfect.
Tell us about your working relationship? Filippo: We have known each other since we were children; we grew up in the same neighbourhood, went to the same school and our families are good friends. We left Italy together and went to London for five years and even there we worked together in the same restaurant. Simone: We split up for a while to gain experience in different restaurants, but it wasn’t the same. We grew up together and we started this career together. We went through the stresses of becoming a chef together and now we are here creating food together in Ibiza. It’s just something that works. What is your connection to Ibiza? Filippo: We were working with a good friend who is Ibicencan, and she suggested we check out Ibiza, that there could be a future here for us. Simone: We came here for Filippo’s birthday and instantly fell in love with the island, saw the possibilities and here we are. We moved straight away and we’ve been at Babylon Beach ever since.
What is your first memory of food? Filippo: I remember when I was a small child, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a pastry chef – my parents recently reminded me that’s all I ever talked about. Simone: My family is the stereotypical Italian family. Food was everywhere and I basically came out of the womb cooking. My mother is a chef, my sister is a chef and my two brothers are chefs! I actually tried to choose a different career, but in the end, the kitchen is where I am happy and feel most comfortable. How different is Ibiza life from London life? Filippo: In London, you work very, very hard – and it is a good thing because you learn a lot! But it’s a tough job, double the hours and no quality of life. I remember when we were first starting out we would meet and have a cocktail every night and talk about our mistakes, our fears and what was happening. Simone: It’s very different; we worked by seconds. If you needed a plate in three minutes and it was ready thirty seconds later it would be a mess in the kitchen. The stress and attitudes were very different. Training was hard, our leading chefs were hard on us, but now we look back on those years as a funny period of time. I have memories of meeting Filippo for a cocktail, and our hands and arms would be burned and cut from our shift. We would share our experiences of being shouted at, by forgetting this or that, and the stresses. But we got through it and learned. Now we are in Ibiza living the dream, but it’s been hard work.
Talk us through the culinary concept of Babylon Beach? Filippo: The concept is that it’s not a formal restaurant and our food is not complicated. What we really are is an amazing chiringuito. Laidback and on the beach, but we base absolutely everything around quality. When we create a dish, we study a recipe to try and make it the best that it can be. Afterwards, we test it with the owner, then close friends and customers before finally putting it on the menu. Every dish you taste here has a very detailed story behind it. Simone: The concept is this: create something simple, play with its simplicity, but make it amazing. Our burger could look like a normal burger, but the meat is well-marbled rib eye, the bread is fresh brioche baked in our on-site bakery and the vegetables are picked from our organic farm. We want to create simple dishes that people love and provide a taste sensation for whoever is eating it. Sometimes food is overcomplicated and its perfect simplicity is lost you know? We want to reach a very proficient level of execution with our own contemporary twist and indeed some of our own traditional dishes, or at least come as close as possible. Why is it so important to use produce from your certified organic farm? Filippo: You see and taste an incredible difference – our tagliatelle with tomato sauce in which the sauce is made with seven different types of farm tomatoes and all different colours – I mean, wow, the flavour is intense, rich and beautiful! Simone: In many restaurants, even as a chef you never really know what you’re getting or where it’s from. We live and work in paradise and Ibiza has so much to offer regarding meat and produce. Working so closely with the farmers and suppliers makes a difference. We respect the animals, the land and the process and hope it is experienced through the eating of our food. Filippo: Sometimes people think organic needs to be complicated. It’s not. You plant a seed and watch it grow. Sometimes, what you’re growing will look different; maybe because it’s not genetically modified. But it’s so delicious, free of chemicals and full of nutrients.
How do you describe your style in the kitchen? Filippo: Our secret is that we’ve worked together for ten years. Simone is an amazing butcher and controls the business side of things. My skills lay in creativity, attention to detail and presentation. We complement each other perfectly. It’s like we do a dance in the kitchen. Simone: We actually fight like husband and wife! Sometimes we clash – but for me, this is the perfect working relationship because in the end, we have our way. It’s important to work with people that have the same philosophy as you; complementary but also people who challenge you and your ideas. What is your signature dish? Filippo: The fillet of beef on the menu. We use an inka oven to cook it, sealing the juices in and grilling it to perfection. The acid from the apple cider on the pickled vegetables cuts through the creamy foam of burrata, and it’s a delicious flavourful sensation. Simone: Swordfish with mango, papaya, ginger and courgette. An Australian inspired dish!
What is your favourite food to eat? Filippo: French and Italian. If I were to die tomorrow, I would want a French baguette with Pata Negra and a French éclair. Simone: Arancini, I’ve eaten all my life. If I die tomorrow, that’s what I want to eat tonight. What are your favourite places to eat in Ibiza? Filippo: La Paloma for lunch. I love the chilled atmosphere and the garden environment. The food is not over exaggerated or fussy, much like here in Babylon, but they do good food that’s well done and the passion shows. Simone: Amante Ibiza is a great location with great food. What do you love most about working and living in Ibiza? Filippo: Working and looking at the sea. When you open a door in London, there is another door. Here I open my door to the sea. When I get to work at 8am, I come here for ten minutes to look at the sea and all is okay. Simone: One kilometre from here is gorgeous countryside. If you want to chill, there are incredible beaches. If you want to party, there are exciting clubs. You can have everything you want and the quality of life is much better. People in Ibiza are nice, the sea is in front of you and life is simple and slower – just how life should be.
It’s no coincidence that the owners of stylishly cool Ibiza beach club Babylon Beach are also the people behind the only certified organic livestock farm in Ibiza, C’an Pere Mussona. With direct and unfettered access to the best ingredients on the island it’s easy to see how the talented chefs here are able to deliver some of the most delicious dishes in town. Much of the produce used in the Babylon Beach kitchen literally comes from the field and the farm in the morning morning to arrive on the plate that very same afternoon. The head chefs work closely with the farmers to o cultivate exactly what the restaurant needs in terms of produce and livestock and also works on a day-to-day basis with the local fishermen to obtain the finest, freshest catches.
On the farm, lambs, chickens and indigenous black pigs plus mountains of vegetables are at Babylon Beach’s disposal. The very few things that aren’t found on the farm are purchased from local Ibicenco families in the region, meaning the daily menus really are completely local. The team greatly value their relationships with the farm and their other suppliers, all of whom visit the laboratory-style kitchen where they work together like scientists to come up with fresh and exciting new menu ideas. Absolutely every last dish on the tempting menu is fresher than fresh, from the chips and the salads to the steaks and the seafood, and Babylon Beach prides itself on keeping things homemade. Even the bread comes from their own onsite pop-up bakery – created when the owners couldn’t find a local supplier who met their strict high standards – today’s fresh-basked goodies are now all made with organic flour.
Taking inspiration from international street food – where simple dishes become super special – the provenance of the ingredients is paramount at Babylon and the brilliant chefs are also the key to their success. Filippo Alberi and Simone D’Elia hail from Tuscany, and together they are the perfect team. Having run a restaurant together in Italy and also worked together in London they have been the ying to the other’s yang for over ten years. Filippo is the creative and technical head – the ‘elegant’ one, they say – adding astonishing details worthy of a Michelin star, whilst Simone employs his more rustic yet equally delicious approach to the food and is the business mastermind, making sure they present the perfect plate at the right price to their clients.
Filippo and Simone perfect the Babylon Beach menus over several months, deconstructing classics and finding the best ways to reinvent them. The menu includes some usual beach club suspects, but redone in Babylon’s bespoke way. The burger for example, is not just any burger. The star chefs whip up the perfect combination of beef, fat and marrowbone to make it a real show-stopper. The seafood risotto is made with not one but three different homemade fish stocks. Babylon’s mashed potato is whipped with rosemary, thyme, egg and smoked salt and has a delicious crispy finish. Even the ice lollies are not exempt from the Babylon beach twist – think unique flavours such as homemade cheesecake varieties. The attention to detail is incredible. This is food to make you go silent. For an Ibiza gourmet experience that won’t be forgotten, Babylon Beach is a must-go – by day or by night.
As regular readers of my blog would know, I’ve been enjoying getting back out and about on ‘our’ island over the past few weeks, starting to enjoy the spoils of September and lap up the luxury everyone else had been hogging in August. Except (GULP), I actually have a pretty busy schedule. The way things are going here at White Ibiza, we’ll be chained to our desks, iPads and Instagram accounts until at least the middle of November!
But, being the crafty clever party girl that I am, I worked out a way that is totally acceptable to take a few hours away from the computer and enjoy a good old fashioned Ibiza beach party. The secret, is to do it all in the name of charity. After all, you can’t feel guilty if you’ve been giving money (ahem, and time – time is money, right?) to a good cause? The name of the good cause in question was The Global Party, a worldwide VIP event taking place in swish locations in over 360 locations to raise money and awareness for numerous charities (over 1.5million pounds have been raised over the past two years).
Here in Ibiza, while we do of course want to contribute to the wonderful event, we also want to embrace our individuality as an island and do things our way, which is why the event organisers – Babylon Beach Ibiza – created a magical, boho-chic night of fun, food and surprises that ditched the red carpet in favour of sandy floors, swapped the ball gowns for beachwear, the formal dinner for street food stalls and the paparazzi for iPhone snaps. Five-star quality with a grounded, authentic Ibiza feel. And it gave me an excuse to party!
Music for a good cause. All the DJs spinning beats behind the boho, palm-leaf clad DJ booth at Babylon – George Solar, Mr Doris, Chapter and John Beach – donated their precious time and their valuable musical taste for the occasion, filling the airwaves with funk, soul, reggae and laid-back grooves… exactly what a girl wants to groove to with her feet in the sand.
Street eating for a good cause. Oh my god, the smells floating through the beach air were tantalising as I walked into Babylon Beach, where street food stalls (normally in place at Las Dalias as part of the Wax Da Jam Carnival) were set up on the sand, offering everything from pulled pork burgers and Caribbean jerk chicken to noodles and more. Now, a little known fact about me is that I cannot ever say no to a pulled pork burger, and when it’s for charity, well! All the more reason to it my dears… mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it now, with three different spiced sauces and a lush brioche style bun. Where can I get another one right now this minute?
Fine dining for a good cause. The high-end Babylon Beach Restaurant (adjacent to the Cantina) was also offering a special gastronomic menu for the event… a more chilled out place to wine and dine, savour the flavours that had been designed especially for this evening and use the excuse that it’s all for charity to indulge just that little bit more.
Funk for a good cause. Popular Ibiza band and Babylon Beach favourites Hot Ice brought the funk they’re so renowned for to the party, kicking off a 40-minute live set, weaving their way around the stage, through the crowd and getting involved in the action, inspiring an impromptu dance floor in the middle of the Cantina!
Drinking for a good cause. Cocktails you say? A raspberry daiquiri? Well since it’s for charity… I’ll have two! The Babylon Beach mixologists go above and beyond the call of duty when creating their bespoke cocktail concoctions… you might think it’s a simple daiquiri, but behind the scenes they’ve been dehydrating ingredients and infusing spirits with different flavours for weeks. The best damn daiquiris I ever tasted… and drinking for a good cause means you won’t get a hangover. Honest.
Bellydancing for a good cause. The entertainment just kept on coming all night long, and while Middle Eastern themed music started piping out of the speakers, all eyes turned to the amazing bellydancer who was weaving her way through the tables WITH A SWORD ON HER HEAD. Yes, really. Thankfully no one asked me to participate in this portion of the procedures, as I’d just scoffed a pulled pork burger and was feeling rather tubby!
Champagne girls for a good cause. When I saw a giant champagne goblet on the edge of the shoreline as I arrived, I did wonder if there was going to be some kind of ‘drink for charity’ world record attempt happening later, but (thankfully) said glass was a prop for two of the most supple, flexible and amazing dancers I’ve seen this year in Ibiza, who gracefully contorted and cavorted like mermaids under the light of the full moon.
Performance art for a good cause. Now this was my favourite part of the party. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I understood it entirely, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching this mysterious shadow box unfold into a ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ style dance, evolving into a spider’s web style trap and battle between the two performers. I’ll let the pictures do the talking in this case.
Raffle for a good cause. Many very generous local businesses donated prizes to the Babylon Beach raffle for The Global Party, and at just 5€ a ticket, I thought it was a bargain and purchased many… alas, two of my tickets were just one number away from being winners, but no beguiling smiles or winks could convince the Babylon team to hand it over. Fair enough – I’m sure the real winners will enjoy their champagne, wine, dinner for two and massage much more than I would have (cough splutter not jealous at all!). Maybe next time…