Gorgeous Art Deco styling draws a glamorous crowd – but, as Zoë Perrett discovers, Tatel Ibiza is not too cool to celebrate traditional Spanish food
Dining with the jet set can be exhausting. We all like beautiful quinoa salads, sushi platters and endlessly-Instagrammable ceviches, but sometimes you want something with less aesthetic appeal and a little more soul.
Luckily, Tatel ticks both boxes and, it seems from the packed alfresco dining terrace, has far-reaching appeal. Already highly popular in Miami and Madrid, the venue’s first Ibiza outpost looks to make it a hat-trick.
And so it should. From the moment we walk in, we’re in love. Not with each other (although that too, of course), but with Tatel’s Miami South Beach vibe and Art Deco styling. The low-lit bar is all pale pink and deep turquoise with polished copper fittings, and we immediately earmark it as interior design inspo for when we finally achieve The Big House.
Early for dinner, we hop onto a pair of bar stools and rapidly find ourselves deep in conversation with our bartender who’s lived and worked in London, and who, on discovering we’re big on gin, slips us samples of a few esoteric examples.
When it comes to cocktails ‘proper’, we’re spoilt for both choice and entertainment. The art of flaring might be considered rather passe by the too-cool-for-school London set, but it doesn’t half add to the experience when done well.
Tatel bills itself as ‘not just fine dining; fun dining’, but cocktails are taken deadly seriously – and to great effect. Weird and wonderful house tinctures, cordials and infusions are employed in numbers like LB’s chamomile-and-daisy laced El Chino Latino in its tall Tiki vessel and my chocolate butterfly-garnished, tea vodka-based Champs Elysées.
Happily tipsy, we move to the terrace for dinner, admiring the sweeping views of Playa D’En Bossa which, combined with being sandwiched between Ushuaïa Tower and Hard Rock Hotel, indicates that Tatel has snared a pretty plum site. On a weekday evening, tables are few and far between, and the atmosphere is one that suggests the food’s great before you’ve taken a single bite.
From amuse bouches onwards, the rumour proves true. A sweet zabaglione dip provides clever contract to slender, savoury aubergine rollitos (think Spanish spring rolls); whilst a deconstructed, smartened-up version of local staple, pan con tomate, requires us to smear country-style bread with garlic, tomato, oil and salt as per our whim.
Head chef Nacho Chicharro knows how to please an international audience; hence, his ‘Modern Spanish’ menu features all the salads, tartares and Wellingtons you could want for. But we’re delighted to see that it also celebrates ‘humble’ classics, elevating them sufficiently to see Ibicencan cuisine taken seriously by the in-crowd.
As we have done from the moment we set foot on the island, we sip chilled Spanish rose – here, 2016 Villarica Rosado – and vow to share everything we order. But the latter doesn’t prove easy where fresh milk croquettas are concerned. Relishing these crisp-shelled, creamy-centred morsels, we fight to the last bite.
We’re accustomed to tortilla being served in a firm-set wedge but, at Tatel, you get the whole damn thing. Not only that, but it comes runny of middle and truffled of aroma – comfort food and then some. Two starters are never enough so we order one more; a heap of tender, lightly-battered Andalucian-style baby squid lending weight to both our hips and the theory that greed is good.
With a globe-roving menu, it would be rude to not try anything from further afield and, having possessed a fondness for Nobu’s black cod with miso since his 1990s City boy days, LB plumps for Tatel’s interpretation of that very thing.
Combining delicate fish and a sweet-savoury glaze, the dish is a classic for a reason, and here it’s done well – although LB reveals between forkfuls that a little something sharp on the plate wouldn’t go amiss. His slight plight leaves me unconcerned, because I’m too busy making short work of a just-funky-enough aged Spanish sirloin steak and its accompanying truffled pomme puree.
Dessert being de riguer whenever we’re out enabling one another, we request the menu and are momentarily paralysed by indecision. Overcoming this not-unhappy ailment, we relay our choices, and are most pleased by both anise-scented, bread and butter pudding-like torrejas and the ‘pastel Tatel’ that, to these two Brits, translates on the plate as ‘darn fine sticky toffee pud’.
Enjoying our evening far too much to depart, we return to the bar for a nightcap and end almost outstaying our welcome. You will too – Tatel’s just that kind of place.
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Where: Playa D’en Bossa 07817, Sant Jordi de ses Salines, Isles Balares, Spain
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