La Llama is a sexy, atmospheric restaurant at the W Ibiza in Santa Eulalia, where food is focused on the flame.
Walking through the foyer of the hotel with its beautifully stylised interiors (courtesy of Baronowitz + Kronenberg Studio), we knew we were in for a special evening – especially as you have to walk through the stunning mezzanine style Bridge Bar to get to the actual restaurant.
By day, La Llama is the perfect retreat from the poolside, but at night, the space transforms with dark moody lighting for ultimate understated styling. The design is minimal and paired back – flashes of black tiles, wood floors, floor to ceiling glass for views over the pool, and copper hanging lights over the pass at the open kitchen, yet nothing too ‘showy’.
As with most of the W’s experiences (be it restaurant, bar, lobby or gym), it’s all about catching the vibe and La Llama has nailed it with a DJ and massive sound system in the corner, casually sound tracking the night – the beats were loud enough to be heard but definitely not intrusive enough to take the emphasis away from dinner.
With the clay taboon oven taking centre stage in the buzzy, meticulous kitchen, La Llama prides itself on dishes which involve smoke and fire to tempt and tantalise the senses. Meat and fish are La Llama’s specialities, with the special twists on dishes taking inspiration from around the world. Culinary innovation with full on flavour is firmly at the heart of every plate.
We expected that the W’s cocktail list would offer up some pretty memorable drinks, and we were right. The list is long and the descriptions fancy – each one showcasing that some considerable effort has gone into concocting them! We started with an incredible Cool Skull cocktail – a quite frankly gorgeously intoxicating blend of (lots of) Don Julio Blanco, Don Julio Reposado, triple sec, Pino Mugo liquor, fresh lime juice, homemade orgeat and angostura. With so many ingredients, each sip managed to swing between sweet and sour – an addictive combination!
Gluten free bread, fresh focaccia and dainty bowls overflowing with cherry tomatoes, spicy zhug (a Yemeni sauce made with hot peppers, coriander and garlic) and a thick creamy aubergine yoghurt arrived next. Gluten free never really tastes quite right to me, but it seems La Llama have found the secret recipe!
Sat in such close proximity to the open kitchen (we could see ever single flower petal being delicately placed onto our tuna tataki with tweezers) this gorgeously fresh dish was served with salsa verde and ponzo – the perfect flavours to bring the tuna to life.
Rich creamy burrata arrived next – proudly occupying the centre space of a plate filled with egg shaped tamarillo – a fruit much like a tomato with a distinctive and fuller taste.
Our swimming pool sized glasses of juicy rioja arrived just as the main course did – an Irish steak which had been dry aged matured for 45 days – the rare meat absolutely bursting with flavour with that underlying seductive smokiness. The accompanying plate of sides which included Japanese onion and tender steam broccoli even managed to look sexy – W stylee.
We finished our incredible meal with heavenly vanilla profiteroles served with wine poached caramelised pears and a fancy vanilla chantilly cheese cream ice cream.
La Llama is a hypnotic experience. Whether that’s because you can always catch a glimpse of fire out the corner of your eye, the cool beats from the DJ, the openness of the kitchen (meaning you can literally see the creativity oozing from the restaurant’s chefs), or the perfect mood lighting, it all just seems to work. A definite must-visit for anyone visiting Santa Eulalia.
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