The All New Tapas Menu At Relish Restaurant & Lounge Bar in Cala de Bou.
- Nick Gibbs
Not everybody will know that the same good people behind Tapas Restaurant & Lounge Bar, which is nestled in the campo just outside of San Antonio, are also owners of Relish Restaurant, which sits on the front line of Cala de Bou.
The clues are there. Put the logos side by side and you’ll see the connection. But the effects of joint ownership are evident at a level deeper than simply the sign hanging over the door.
The same commitment to quality of their food and customer service has resulted in Tapas and Relish holding hands next to each other in the TripAdvisor Top 5 for San Antonio Restaurants for several years. For those with an interest in the workings of TripAdvisor I have detailed this in the supplementary article at the foot of this review.
There is good reason for my bringing the connection of the two restaurants to your attention in this article. You see when it comes to tapas (the food), the people at Tapas (the restaurant) come with something of a pedigree, a seal of quality assurance that in Ibiza terms must carry at least the weight as Sainsbury’s getting Jamie Oliver to put his name on their new range of bangers.
Tapas (the restaurant) know tapas (the food) better than most, and so when they decide to introduce a tapas menu selection at another restaurant, we sit up and take notice.
By now I hope some food aficionado will have picked up on my intentional error in describing tapas as a ‘food’. Which of course it isn’t. The term tapas does not apply so much to the food itself, but to the style of its service. Small plates, perfect for sharing.
Certainly, you will find a few classics on their menus, the ever popular patatas bravas for example, but the Tapas Restaurant approach to their menu has always been one of invention and creativity. Global flavours, served in a Spanish style fairly sums up what they are about. Proprietors Tony & Becky Dikomite explained that it is this style of service that was one of the main factors in deciding to introduce the tapas menu at Relish.
Sharing & Social
“We’ve been fans of the sharing side of tapas from day one”, Tony told me. “it’s great, it creates a really good, friendly, atmosphere. People are talking and engaging with each other. You have to really, it is part of eating tapas”.
I guess so, and who wouldn’t want to stake claim on that last favourite something – hands off my meatball. But Becky told me there was more than just my selfish desire at stake. “tapas is a really good icebreaker” she explained, “but whatever else you say about it, in the end it comes down to people enjoying the food”.
In that I have no doubt, walk in to Tapas Restaurant on any summer night and you will see it as the hit it is just because people love it.
Diet & Healthy Options
The sharing style of tapas has been enjoyed for many years, but there are other more contemporary trends in the eating-out sector that also sit well with the Spanish small plates concept.
“People are increasingly conscious of what they are eating” Becky explained. “There is a far greater expectation on restaurants to provide vegan, gluten free and dairy free options than there ever was in the past. Tapas actually makes it far easier to cater for many different dietary requirements.”
Tapas certainly does tick a lot of logic boxes, and for me I would add the effect of those hot summer nights to the mix. Personally, I just don’t want to eat a big plate of carbs in the middle of summer, or if I do I want it to be in the comfort of my home with nothing more demanding than a movie to follow. I certainly don’t want it as the pre-cursor to a big night out. A few choice tapas where the focus is flavour fits the bill for me.
Tapas Menu at Relish
So, the virtues of Tapas are many and convincing, but what of the tapas menu at Relish Restaurant & Lounge Bar?
“We were not aiming for a carbon copy of Tapas Restaurant” Tony advised. “Same idea, but we wanted Chef (Glyn Caldecott) to put his own identity on the tapas at Relish”.
And a most pleasing identity it is. I was lucky enough to be invited to a tasting session of the new tapas dishes, and there are some real stand out plates on offer.
The Steak is just sublime. The Chimichurri marination seems to have added so much but taken away nothing of the steak’s natural taste. I don’t quite know how that is possible, but it is.
The Cauliflower Fritters are fantastic too. I have always been a big fan of cauliflower and it is great to see it star of the show and not the one-of-two veg understudy to the meat.
Every regular customer of Relish will opt for the Belly Pork as the one easy choice from the menu of many wonderful things. Rightly so, the Relish Roasts have gained their excellent reputation for good reason.
So many good things, Sea Bass, must mention that fishy fave, but overall, if I were a betting man, my money would be on the Mushroom Croquettes as the plate that will be coming through the Relish kitchen door most frequently in coming months. There was something in people’s reaction at the tasting. Gorgeous.
I have only covered a few of the plates in this article. Follow this link to see the full tapas menu at Relish Restaurant & Lounge Bar
Fresh & Simple
A nice touch at the tasting, every dish was accompanied by the fresh ingredients that went into making it. It really brought home the long-held philosophy of both Tapas and Relish, ‘keep it fresh, keep it simple; good food, cooked well and fairly priced’.
Relish Restaurant & Lounge Bar is open from 1pm daily. The tapas menu at Relish is available all day and night. Their pool is available for the use of patrons during the afternoon.
Calle Rioja 13, Cala de Bou, Sant Josep, 07829, Ibiza
Tel (0034) 971 345 913
Tapas currently sit at number 4 and Relish number 5 for Restaurants in San Antonio.
They are sometimes as high as 1st and 2nd. They sometimes leap frog each other, but they are always there or thereabouts.
But, and people who know TripAdvisor will know this is a big but, Tapas has the highest number of reviews in the top 20 by a long way. Tapas have over 1,200 reviews, and guess who holds the 2nd highest number of reviews in the top 20? Correct, Relish with 775.
The reason this is important is evident as you scroll down the list. The busier you become and the more reviews you receive, the harder it is to stay at the top.
None of those above Tapas and relish have broken 300 reviews. Do not get me wrong, they are all great restaurants, it is just that the TripAdvisor algorithms seem a bit broken in this respect. Sa Capella and Villa Mercedes at #31 and #32 for example—who doesn’t love those two?
The point I am trying to make is that Tapas and Relish both maintaining TripAdvisor top 5 for so long is a remarkable achievement. So remarkable in fact that many restaurants would be shouting the fact from the rooftops. You would see it on their advertising and regularly on their social media. It is understandable that having made such an achievement a business would want to tell the world about it. But in my opinion, it is precisely the fact that Tapas and Relish do not shout about it that puts them there in the first place.
I will try to explain.
TripAdvisor is very important for all Restaurant businesses. Like it or loathe it, the TripAdvisor ranking matters. But to Tapas and Relish, or more precisely Tony, Becky and Glyn(s), it is not the outcome that is important. Above all it is a genuine desire, a belief, in striving to deliver the best dining experience possible, because that is the way business should be done.
The way this is reflected on TripAdvisor is an outcome of that. It is a bonus, a great benchmark by which they can assess their efforts.
Sadly, I feel too many businesses focus on the outcome, the TripAdvisor reviews, and deliver their service according to that objective. The actual dining experience becomes secondary to however many star ratings they receive.
I have got to know their approach to restaurant management quite well over the past 6 years. I can honestly say that if they were given a magic TripAdvisor potion that ensured they stayed in the top 5 regardless of their good or bad reviews, nothing would change in the way they always strive to give the customer that same quality of dining experience.
They do it because they believe it, not because they are worried someone might go public if they didn’t. They do it because it is the right thing to do.
That, in my humble opinion, is why they stay at the top.
The original article tapas menu at relish restaurant & lounge bar first appeared in the Ibizan issue 865, 14th September 2018