There was a time in the not too distant past when the bay of San Antonio was a no-man’s land for food. The start has always had good restaurants, Es Pueto on the sand and Sa Punta Des Moli for its Bogavante, then at the far end you have fish favourite Can Pujol and grill heaven El Viejo Gallo. It’s that bit in the middle which has always been a little sparse in culinary adventure – some decent exceptions but much of it more Brits n Chips than Tripadvisor Hits.
Luckily for people in the bay and further afield, 2005 saw the beginning of a restaurant family which all started with the Oasis Café. The place was very popular, but its tiny kitchen prompted owners Tony and Glyn to move to bigger premises and launch Relish Restaurant in 2008. Their idea was to service their clientele with a larger choice of quality food fit for a restaurant rather than a café. Relish soon became as popular as the Oasis Café and also started to outgrow itself. Next came their sister restaurant Tapas but it was inevitable Relish would also need to find itself a home fitting in size and comfort for their ever growing client numbers.
This year it did, and an old carvery by the Hotel Milord became the new Relish Restaurant.
It has a large, comfortable interior and a pool bar. The kitchen serves up a selection of breakfasts and light snacks during the day, a full menu at night and still retains Tony and Glyn’s continuing insistence on the best quality ingredients and exceptional cooking.
Our review dinner was in that perfect hour or two between the Sunday lunch family bookings and the evening mix of discerning tourists and locals. Relish enjoys a constant stream of celebration party bookings, romantic meals for two, and of course friends enjoying everything Ibiza is in the perfect setting overlooking San Antonio harbour and the sunset strip—but for these two late afternoon hours there is a window in which you can savour your meal and get a chance to catch up with Glyn, Aly and Rosie, the front of house face of Relish that everybody will be familiar with from the café, who are now aided in their management by another Glyn heading up the kitchen.
The table was in consensus to try the meat and cheese platter—an always good option for sharing but you will be quite taken aback when the Relish version lands on your table. Just how good does that look? And in addition to the quality cooked ham, salamis and top quality cheeses including Manchego, Stilton and some sumptuously soft Brie, the Relish-ness came by way of a red onion marmalade, salsa, mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, olives, bread and ali-oli. Hopefully the picture will do it justice but if you need any further recommendation a party that were arriving as our platter was being served immediately ordered one on seeing it.
The main course is a tougher decision because you tend to have Relish favourites, but once you have three or four considerable dithering results. We decided that we should order the dishes we thought would make the world, or at least the world of the diners of Ibiza, a better place in spreading the word.
Roasted Lamb Rump is, I am told , one of their very best selling dishes year in year out. You can’t see that situation changing any time soon as they have now perfected the art of Lamb to a sublime state of succulence. Served in a honey gravy with fresh asparagus and a dauphinoise tower, the meal is presented to you perfectly sized – not of artery clogging desperate dan proportions, but enough that towards the end that comfort food satisfaction settles in perfectly.
Our other most desirous main, is a relative newcomer to their menu but already firmly established as one of my personal favourites—a dish that you always find yourself recommending enthusiastically when you hear somebody say they are dining at Relish.
Moroccan Spiced Tuna Steak with spiced rice and lemon coriander dressing is cooked to taste which for me is rare and juicy—and it is all that and more. The Relish blend of Moroccan spices are seared on the grill giving the crunch contrast to the smooth sweet flesh within. A real special something about the tuna dish comes on the side by way of their chickpea ‘something’— I say that because it doesn’t even get a mention in the description but I would happily eat it as a dish alone—simply gorgeous. As always seems to be the case at Relish, the portion is just too much, never left wanting, never left wasteful, and though the tuna itself is huge if you can’t manage it you will have no shortage of willing tasters around the table.
Relish are certainly enjoying the luxury of their spacious surroundings as far as their bar is concerned. A beverage bonanza extends across the most healthy and decadent of liquid refreshment and the extent of the range is reflected by what is in modern restaurants a quite rare find, a very good medium sweet option on the wine list. As always my dulce desires gained derision from my fellow diners who were very happy with their choice of a blush Rose, though my particular taste does have the regular advantage of whole bottle for me.
I know their range of homemade deserts are hugely popular but the platter and main was quite enough and so a super short shot of coffee was all that was needed to complete a perfect meal, truly Relish-ious and only spoilt by this terrible pun that I have been itching to get out of my system.
See advert below for contact details. The full Relish menu and online booking is available on their new website.