They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomachs and since 2015, our head chef Lee Milne has been working his way into the hearts of hotel guests and visiting foodies from around the world. This season, what was originally a little in-house restaurant for guests has evolved into a destination restaurant open to one and all, with a next-level menu, incredibly talented kitchen team and beautiful setting – even if we do say so ourselves!
In all seriousness, all credit must go to Lee and his team – a group of classically trained chefs with experience working in Michelin star kitchens in the UK. Finding and nurturing the perfect behind-the-scenes team is never easy, especially in a seasonal location such as Ibiza however this year, all the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fall into place. “It’s an honour to have these guys in the kitchen,” says Lee. “They’re a hard-working, skilled bunch of lads and we are a real team. I wanted to create something special at Pikes and now we have the right team to do it.”
We also completely renovated our kitchen over the winter months, to give this dream team a more practical and efficient (and even air conditioned!) space to work their magic. You won’t find any stereotypically angry chefs in the Pikes kitchen – rather a dedicated band of brothers whose skills complement one another, who strive to create dishes that are as beautiful as they are tasty and who truly love what they do. “A lot of the techniques and processes we use now create a lot of work for the kitchen. It takes time, but it’s worth it,” says Lee. “This year, I’ve been walking out into the restaurant and people are telling me they’ve had the best meal of their life… that kind of feedback is just amazing.”
It wasn’t just our kitchen that received a face lift this year – in fact, the entire Room 39 menu was revamped to be in line with Room 39’s stylish new look and the snazzy Curiosity Shop cocktail menu. The concept is to take fresh and seasonal local products – as much of it sourced from Ibiza farmers as possible – and use them in classical ways that evoke a little nostalgia, but giving each dish a fresh, contemporary twist that is unique to Pikes. Less fussy than gastro-cooking but more scientific than home cooking, we like to think of it as good, honest food prepared with love, precision and passion.
Ask any member of the kitchen team and they’ll all tell you the White Onion Soup is the standout starter option, and from the minute you see the traditional British-style cheese toastie served on the side (yes, straight off the Breville!) you’ll see why this dish inspires food envy all night long. Using white onions from our local farm, House of Herbs – just a few minutes down the road in Can Tomas – this traditional veloute is given a rich flavour infusion with truffle oil and grated truffle on top. The toastie is truly next level, using Torte de Casa cheese – a super soft, runny cheese that’s normally eaten almost like a fondue, then blended with homemade béchamel and more truffle.
For those who prefer to order a bunch of starters to share, the remaining options are perfect to pick at (or just as easy to hog all to yourself). The 11 Spiced Cauliflower is the one and only surviving dish from last year’s menu (and deservedly so) – Lee’s vegetarian tribute to the Colonel’s secret blend of herbs and spices, served with homemade smoked alioli. The Smoked Ham Hock & Foie Gras Ballotine is a true labour of love – brined, slow cooked, smoked then picked apart and reformed by hand before being wrapped around a cylinder of foie gras – and accompanied by local figs, port reduction and homemade piccalilli that takes a full two weeks to make.
Lee calls the Tomato Salad: “The most local dish I’ve ever done in my life.” Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the name – around five different types of multi-coloured Ibiza tomatoes are beautifully sliced in different thicknesses and shapes, placed sculpture like on the plate and topped with handmade Ibiza Mozzarella, House of Herbs basil and homemade smoked Balsamic vinegar. It’s certainly not your average salad. The show-stopping Grilled Octopus is last but not least on the starter menu – a twist on the typical Galician style dish that sees the vibrant violet octopus perched atop a mound of aerated potato and finished with smoked anchovy mayo – homemade of course – and herbalicious chamoula sauce.
Choosing your main is likely to be the most difficult task of your evening – all the more reason to come back to Room 39 again, my dears! The Glazed Pigs Cheek is an homage to the British classic mix of pork and apples, in an upgraded version featuring tender meat that falls apart as you cut into it, placed atop old school bubble and squeak, chunks of Granny Smith and with the crispiest crackling on top. Our Slow-cooked Beef Fillet is simply all about the quality – amazing meat prepared in a very classic way, alongside pressed potato, onions carrots and with a red wine jus. You won’t find any stock standard steaks on this menu!
As a hotel, we needed to offer burgers on the menu for all those late night room service cravings and it turned out, the Pikes Cheeseburger and Beetroot & Quinoa Burger became our most popular dishes on Wednesdays, when the Rock Nights crowd want a fast bite to eat before hitting the dance floor! We make our patties using Angus beef thanks to its natural flavour, and keep the rest simple – a house-pickled gherkin marinated in dill, plus classic homemade burger sauce and 14-month matured cheddar. For the veggies, we mix quinoa with roast beetroot and onions for the patty, and serve it with sweet potato.
Our Fillet of Wild Sea Bass comes fresh off the coast of Barcelona daily – the closest you can find high quality fish to Ibiza (trust us, we’ve searched high and low!) – and we keep this simple so the natural flavour shines. Lightly pan-fried, with crushed potatoes, celeriac puree, wilted spinach and a Carabinero prawn butter, it’s lovely and light. And of course, we haven’t forgotten vegans while designing the new menu and our Potato Terrine – made using all local spuds – is receiving rave reviews so far. “It looks like a bit of a crazy dish,” admits Lee – who is also often known to say people eat with their eyes – due to the aerated rice milk and mushroom foam, shiitake mushroom, grilled asparagus and baby leek garnish but hey! Why should meat eaters have all the fun?
As another old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding… and (sorry – cliché alert) we believe our dessert menu is the icing on the cake when it comes to our new menu. Our Egg Custard Tart is a delight to behold – a creation that takes over 24 hours to make and in one mouthful sends you back to your childhood. This is a refined version of that old school nutmeg-infused classic, served with a homemade macaroon and poached rhubarb – also the favourite of all our chefs! Continuing down the old-fashioned route, we also have a Coconut & Pineapple Baked Alaska (served for two people) made using pineapple parfait and Italian meringue that’s been toasted with a blow torch and comes with locally made coconut ice cream. They’re oldies, but goodies – classics for good reason.
Chocolate lovers will adore the Chocolate & Crème Fraiche slice – a white and dark chocolate ganache atop a cocoa base, served with passionfruit curd to cut the sweetness and local vanilla ice cream. Of course, no dessert menu would be complete without a cheese platter and the Pikes Cheese Plate is quite the beauty to behold. Three homemade oatcakes – all in different shapes and sizes – are topped with the finest Manchego, Ibiza goat cheese whipped with thyme and Cabrales (allegedly the strongest blue cheese in the world) and then finished with seasonal garnishes such as quince or fig.
Is your mouth watering yet? We have plenty more culinary goodness to share, on our all-new breakfast menu; an array of decadent treats, healthy and hearty salads and hotel classics on our poolside day menu and we’re also keeping our themed Mexican menu on Mondays to keep our cultural attaché DJ Harvey happy – but all in good time. For now, feast your eyes on our evening menu and make your reservation by clicking the link below.
Words: White Ibiza
Photography by: White Ibiza