Think of food in Ibiza and you’ll no doubt conjure images of Balearic decadence – the live dinner experience at Heart, a multiple-course lunch at El Chiringuito – or rustic Spanish cooking – sea bass straight off the grill at Fish Shack, tapas amid the din of La Bodega. At the least, it’ll be hastily-grabbed fast food on the strips of Playa d’en Bossa or San An. But progressive vegan cuisine probably doesn’t spring to mind.
This is changing, of course. Ibiza regulars like Ida Engberg are vegan and wellness and mindfulness have become a focus on the island. You can sample the plant-based produce of farms on the island at Casita Verde and Plasir and a cafe serving vegetarian mains and juices is never that far away. It’s this gradual lifestyle shift that inspired Cliff Grubin to start the island’s first juice bar on Benirras Beach a decade ago and now, as well as having founded the iPurify juice brand, he operates Wild Beets, the Santa Gertrudis hangout dedicated to forward-thinking vegan cooking.
Separated from the unsightly PM-804 highway by a swathe of greenery and a very chill courtyard, Wild Beets serves for brunch, lunch and dinner, offering modern meat and dairy free dishes that are in sync with the modern outlook of chefs like Anna Jones or establishments like the Detox Kitchen.
Watermelon tataki is plump and juicy, its sweetness shot through with a sesame coating, a fun take on the Japanese staple; beetroot ravioli are the epitome of prettiness, and so delicate that they each have to be eaten in one bite, relinquishing their lemon cashew cheese filling; a red curry is soft, warm and the texture of a creamy smooth soup – revitalising stuff, with excellent black rice, and a hefty-looking lasagne is anything but, with refreshing layers of raw zucchini bound by tomato sauce, almond ricotta, cashew bechamel and pistachio pesto. Only the king oyster ceviche doesn’t land, its mushrooms languishing in acidity, not helped by a strange adornment of raw red pepper. Dairy-free ice cream and cheesecake are so good that they make us never want to eat the usual versions ever again.
This is so far away from goat’s cheese tarts and patatas bravas that vegetarians, vegans, coeliacs and anyone wanting to avoid wheat, dairy or otherwise shouldn’t bother holding their breath during their next trip to Ibiza. Another destination for those looking to embrace the holistic side of the island, Wild Beets is serving some of the most inventive food on the island, not to mention the rest of the plant-based food scene.