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Go BackIsland hot spot: L'Elephant Restaurant.

Posted: 29/6/07 13:16

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 The Balearic Islands aren't necessarily the place that you'd associate with elephants.

Morocco yes, Malaysia more so, but Ibiza? The island's obsession with all things elephant comes really from the mind of one man, whose movement from restaurant, to furniture emporiums and now to boutique hotels means that L' Elephant brand and the imagery that goes with it are now an integral part of the island.

The restaurant L'Elephant has passed out of the hands of the original owner, Bruno, now more focused on the Maison furniture and hotel lines, but socialite and professional host Gil French-Koch has ably turned the experience of dining here into an essential island excursion. 

The exquisitely stocked, though frightening pricey shop, the white cushioned vista-dominated roof terrace and the easily quaffed Mojitos could sometimes override the restaurant as a reason to drive up to San Rafel, but they shouldn't. Image may be deceiving and although many restaurants that look this impressive can't always be expected to produce as good a meal, this is one place that delivers on all levels.

 In winter the roof terrace features a fully-fledged sushi bar and in summer the theme continues with a smidgen of sashimi and tempura dotted throughout the menu. Meaties though should go straight for the foie, either with cheese bread and pine nut praline or as a terrine with caramelized apple, smoked herring and goats cheese. Divine in a way that only a good French connoisseur can produce. Other first courses worth mentioning are the Tuna tartar with a rose flavoured foam, and a personal favourite, Scallops with vegetable and truffle oil, which though only a small portion, are sweet and tender, nestled inside a complicated wickerwork of carrots and courgette.

My meat loving friends were spoilt again by the main courses, with a choice between a beautifully prepared rack of lamb and the duck magret with coffee couscous and calvados sauce nearly resulting in fisticuffs. Still hard to decide which was better, though the verdict is still out on the coffee cous cous. I stuck with fish and went for the wild sea bass, which was served with thinly sautéed potatoes and asparagus, and was fresh and cooked exactly right. The service was friendly, and much more relaxed than you'd expect from the outward appearance. Most customers appear to be old friends or at least it doesn't take long to be on first name terms with the waiters. The atmosphere in general was so relaxing that was just easy to drift on up to the roof terrace afterwards for a coffee and a hierbas and while away the rest of the evening listening to the lounge sounds of Josef Ribas and gazing across the lights of Ibiza Town. After a little while we found room for dessert and the chocolate soufflé was to die for, as would be expected. 

Plan to stay for the evening, forget about going clubbing later, just grab a pile of good company, sink into the white cushions and have another bite of soufflé. Ibiza isn't going anywhere, and neither after that meal are we.

Words by Smac