I remember – as a 15 year old me – going to eat at TGI Friday’s near Brent Cross with some girlfriends. They were giddy with excitement – the juicy burgers, sizzling fajitas and ice cream cocktails. The American themed diner was clearly thrilling and somehow I was MISSING THE POINT.
And, today, some 20+ years later, I still don’t get the point of a themed restaurant. Surely each diner wants to experience something unique. While I do understand that a feeling of familiarity can be comforting, surely I am not the only one looking for something a bit new and different each time I return to a particular restaurant– to enhance my experience?
It was clear this is not what Nikki Beach is all about.
But it was His turn to choose our dinner location. And He was keen to take a look at the latest Nikki Beach opening (Marbella being the most established with Miami Beach, St. Tropez, St. Barts Marrakech, Koh Samui and Mallorca all following close behind) which is only 5 minutes down the road from where we are staying on the East coast of Ibiza.
The restaurant cum beach club only opened a month ago so the team are eager to please and the chairs a little empty. Lunch (from what I hear) is a busier affair with most of the double sun beds (costing 250 euros but accompanied by a bottle of champagne) snapped up by 11am. The pool gets crowded and the euro-glitterati snack, drink and party.
Back to dinner. After a fair amount of waiter hovering, I glanced at the menu. Euros flashed in front of my eyes. Everywhere. One bottle of champagne was 250,000 Euros. What on earth could the Smalls eat for less than 30 Euros?
The manager saw my panic and calmly rescued me. Spag bol for the Smalls (12 Euros) and some helpful navigation of what looks like an extensive menu but actually isn’t.
The setting feels contrived and definitely flash. The food is actually exceptionally good (as well as expensive) but – crucially – from this the top end of the market right down to the lower end (TGI Friday’s), any themed or branded restaurant feels to me like the inside of a marketing department. And all I want to scream is: I’m not a logo – get me out of here!
P.S. If you’re wondering what is 100% my cup of tea here in Ibiza, I’ll gladly tell you. La Paloma in San Lorenzo. I can truly relax there – even the crockery doesn’t match.