As Ibiza’s nightlife scene has evolved in recent years, so too have the tastes of those pioneers who paved the way for the island to become the cosmopolitan destination it is today. For many, hedonism has made way for more epicurean pleasures – today, the satisfaction of a great meal enjoyed with good friends and fine wine outweighs those hazy memories of dancing till dawn, through the daytime, and into the night again. That’s not to say the urge to dance and socialise is gone completely – and this is where Laylah Ibiza comes in.
Sleek, chic and still just enough of a locals’ secret to call it underground, Laylah Ibiza is the latest project by restaurateurs Olivia Fleury and Oren Heknin, whose combined experience spans continents, cultures and cuisines that all come together under one stylish roof in the buzzing Marina district. Just a few doors down from the world’s most iconic club, Pacha Ibiza, and with the glitz and glamour of HEART Ibiza just a stone’s throw down the road, Laylah Ibiza’s central location makes it an obvious choice for a pre-party get together, while for the old guard of Ibiza residents, the grown-up feel of the festivities at has filled a much-needed gap for a place for friends to congregate, eat, drink and yes, even dance after dark.
The space itself is a beauty to behold. Industrial architecture and man-made materials are juxtaposed against the raw textures of nature; hand-hewn concrete sits alongside the glint of polished brass, marble is illuminated alongside vintage leather, the sheen of velvet shines beneath palm leaves, dried flowers seem to levitate above high-tech DJ equipment and huge chunks of stone sit beneath an open-air installation of silver planets, glistening beneath the stars and moving with the breeze. There’s a strong feeling of belonging within the walls of Laylah Ibiza – something that is bestowed on each and every person who walks through her doors. Enter a stranger, leave a friend. This is what happens when you frequent the Angel of the Night.
The venue’s name is derived from an Angel in Jewish mythology (Lailah) and the Hebrew word for Night (laylah), and the Middle Eastern influences continue throughout the carefully curated menu by head chef David Frankel – one of Israel’s most extraordinary young culinary talents. A collection of small bites and sharing plates designed to encourage a communal style of dining, the Laylah Ibiza menu promises to take tastebuds on a sensory journey – the way in which we partake our food is as much a part of the experience as the heavenly aromas, rich flavours and fresh ingredients of the Mediterranean.
In keeping with the low-key style of the lounge bar, there are no formal dining tables at Laylah Ibiza; rather, banquette seating that snakes around the terrace and a series of low-slung modular sofas and tables inside that can be configured to suit any group. Platters are laid out in the form of a feast; guests encouraged to pick and mix to suit their tastes. Small plates include oysters with shallots and vinegar, a delicate tuna tartare served with chilli aioli, crispy chicken cigars and veggie rice paper rolls with kimchi. The simplicity of each ingredient shines, subtly complemented by a selection of more complex and exotic flavours served as salsas, dressings and dips, and vegetarians and vegans will find the cuisine thoughtful, creative and satisfying.
Standout sharing plates include the homemade focaccia served with Zaatar, fresh tomato salsa and tahini, the signature roasted cauliflower with tahini and green chili, roasted eggplant with almonds and Greek yoghurt and grilled artichokes with Parmesan. On the lighter side of the Laylah Ibiza menu is a zesty sea bass ceviche, Carabineros (red king prawns) with spicy mayo, Patagonian calamari and more, while heartier appetites will love the herb-infused lamb kebab in pita bread, chicken shawarma and mini veal burgers. Meanwhile, a tempting selection of skewers – white fish with ginger and lime salsa, beef fillet with tomato, sesame and chili salsa, chicken with guacamole and coriander or veggie with balsamic vinaigrette – vie strongly for attention.
The same attention to detail seen on the Laylah Ibiza à la carte menu can also be found in the cocktail menu. A team of creative mixologists have developed a selection of bespoke cocktails for the lounge bar – drawing on the local herbs of Ibiza for homemade tinctures, while putting twists on time-honoured recipes and contemporary classics alike. An impressive wine list is also on offer, with drops hailing from the best vineyards of Spain and France, while for purveyors of fine spirits, a wall of premium whiskey, mescal, tequila, rum, gin and vodka awaits.
The final piece of the Laylah Ibizapuzzle is of course, music – hybrid rhythms, hypnotic beats and emotive melodies float gently over the airwaves courtesy of some of the island’s most lauded local talents as the evening builds. Later on, quite often as the clock strikes 12, special guest DJs pop in – quite often unannounced – and lift the vibe to an anything-can-happen type frequency that’s perfectly suited to the mischievous people of the Ibiza night. Past guests have included Black Coffee, Luciano, Guy Gerber, Culoe de Song, Audiofly and Blond:ish – with no pomp or circumstance, just authentic, old school Ibiza spontaneity at its best.
When the doors at Laylah Ibiza gently close at the very civilised hour of 2am, you can choose your own Ibiza adventure. Do you continue onto one of the clubs and parties nearby or do you head home knowing you’ve experienced something unique and special? Like a true Ibiza kindred spirit, the Angel of the Night passes no judgement, and like a beacon of light in the darkness, she will be waiting when you’re ready to return…