Sublimotion? That’s not a word, I hear you say. No indeed. Paco Roncero made it up. Sublime. Emotion. Sublime emotions. Subliminal emotions. And probably a few more permutations too as there is quite an onslaught of sensations to deal with during the 20 courses of this extreme gastronomic experience.
It’s not just dinner, you understand, it is a performance at Sublimotion, the restaurant Paco Roncero has created at the newly-opened Hard Rock hotel in Platja d’en Bossa, the beating clubbing heart of Ibiza.
“It’s not a restaurant as such, more like a theatre where people go to see a show, a spectacle. Although they don’t just see what’s happening, they experience it with all their senses – maybe even awakening some they didn’t even know they had. It’s a sort of Cirque du Soleil in gastronomic form,” said the chef in London last week. That row of vertical lights underlining the word Sublimotion in the photo turned out to be test tubes containing a nice shot of Bloody Mary by the way.
Roncero has already been awarded two Michelin stars at La Terraza del Casino, his restaurant in Madrid and also runs the very successful Estado Puro gastrobars in two locations in the Spanish capital. A third one has just opened at the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza as well. He is also going to have a brasserie at the NH Eurobuilding in Madrid, which is turning into one of the most interesting gastrohubs in the city as David Múñoz is moving his three-Michelin-starred restaurant DiverXo there in July.
I eat regularly at both branches of Estado Puro in Madrid but somehow don’t think I’ll be experiencing Sublimotion in the immediate – or even the distant – future. You see, there is the tricky stumbling block of the price to get over: €1500 a head. Yes, you did read that right. A bit ridiculous? Well yes obviously, but I suspect there will be no shortage of takers. Ibiza is chock-a-block in summer with showoffs with plenty of cash to splash; the kind of people who spend at least that amount on champagne and cocktails around the pool of an afternoon. Oh well.
You might think this would be a one off experience, but the restaurant is taking bookings for two sittings every night from June 1st until the autumn. Twelve diners share one long table – a very special table which acts as a screen onto which all sorts of images are projected, creating a series of scenarios to match each of the 20 courses. The food is actually real, you’ll be relieved to hear. In the midst of all this technological avantgardery we must not forget that Paco Roncero is one hell of a chef and here has the chance to let his rather bonkers creativity really run riot, so it does indeed promise to be something to write home about. Or tweet and instagram about, should I say.
Everything in the space changes throughout the meal: colours, temperature, sound, smell… diners are taken through history and around the world from freezing faraway climates to balmy sunny afternoons at the Albufera lagoon in Valencia – just so you get the full-on experience of what eating paella is all about, you understand. Of course, you could always just go there… The walls are actually a wraparound screen with visuals that change with each dish. Maps appear on the tables, where even the place settings are projected onto the surface. Plates appear to float in mid air.
Will it all be worth it? We’ll just have to wait and see what all those crazy people who will be flocking to Ibiza when the new season gets going in June have to say. Meanwhile, I’ll be happily eating sardines and drinking beer on the beach.