Ventall, traditional cuisine from the 21st century

Sabor, the Mediterranean Gastronomy Forum in in Ibiza, shed light on the cotemporary elegance of 37-year-old chef José Miguel Bonet

24-04-2019

I know there are very few people who go to Ibiza to dine well, but you should never snob the local products and the talent of various chefs. In this sense, the 4th edition of Sabor, the Mediterranean Gastronomy Forum which took place at Casa Maca on Monday 15th April, allowed me, among many other things, to dine with true pleasure at Ventall in Sant Antoni de Portamany.

It was just a hit and run trip to the island: less than three full days, from Saturday night to Tuesday at dawn, thanks to the festival created by Silvia Castillo and Julia Pérez Lozano. Lots of moving around, very little time to rest, an excellent use of the time during which I collected some very interesting material.

Two dishes from José Miguel Bonet: Tartare of local cigala and, below, Amberjack Tataki

Two dishes from José Miguel Bonet: Tartare of local cigala and, below, Amberjack Tataki

I was the only Italian in a lively group of Spanish reporters. I envied their capacity, typical of the Iberian people, of dining at hours that would be impossible for us, not before 2 p.m., and no earlier than 10 p.m. How they don’t fall asleep at midnight, on the main course, remains a mystery.

I had no problem on the Sunday instead. This was also thanks to the fact that the Bonet family made everyone feel at ease and relaxed, with the white walls, the veranda framed by windows, and the garden towered by a large fig tree. In between the dining room and the outdoor space at the back, there was the extraordinary open view kitchen with a wood oven too. Except for the size, it was the perfect copy of the old stove I recall in the mountain houses in Trentino, on my father’s side. Mastering its fire is magic. 

Jose Miguel Bonet, 37-year-old-chef at Ventall, the family restaurant established in 1982 in Ibiza

Jose Miguel Bonet, 37-year-old-chef at Ventall, the family restaurant established in 1982 in Ibiza

There’s only a tasting menu and this had to be the case given the number of guests. I don’t love tasting menus, and never choose them, not even the set menus offered at lunchtime on workdays. I like choosing à la carte. After all, I’m always disappointed when chefs don’t include the dish I was most curious to taste.

Ventall today is a synthesis of a long work, since its opening over 35 years ago, always following the island’s traditions. After 37-year-old José Miguel Bonet became chef, he gave new shapes to the style and substance of the establishment, so much so their offer is now presented as a «Cocina tradicional ibicenca del siglo XXI». And this applies to each dish, even a very current one, given we’re in spring and it’s Easter time, like Cuinat, a soup, in fact the soup of his mother Antonia, made with wild vegetables and broad beans, which he serves in a sort of tart with a cream of fresh broad beans below, and a sample of soup on top.

Tarteleta de Cuinat de N'Antonia at Ventall

Tarteleta de Cuinat de N'Antonia at Ventall

This tart is served halfway along the menu. It arrived after a fun croquette of local prawns served with a spicy mayonnaise, an excellent tartare of tomatoes with squilla mantis, fresh broad beans and cream of almonds. It was followed by a tasting of pork feet with espardenas and smoked aubergines. And after that, Amberjack tataki with quinoa and teriyaki sauce; Creamy rice with monkfish and local prawn and finally the dessert, Esencia Floral, strawberries and roses, violets and pansies, jasmine, orange flowers, lavender, a floral rainbow shaped by the hands of 21-year-old pastry chef Matias Treli, while the idea came from his master Jordi Roca Matias is back from an internship at Celler de Can Roca in Gerona. Nothing wrong with that, as long as he’ll soon start to think with his own mind.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso 

Arroz cremoso de Rape y Gamba Ibicenca

Arroz cremoso de Rape y Gamba Ibicenca

ES VENTALL
Carrer Cervantes 22
Sant Antoni de Portamany
Isola di Ibiza
Telefono: +34.871.231200
info@restauranteesventall.com
Closed: Wednesday; open in the evening from Thursday to Tuesday; open at lunchtime on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Average prices: tapas 10 euros; starters 18; fish 29; meat 24; rice 20 and desserts 8.


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