I’m a generally happy person. Easily pleased. It doesn’t take much to turn me around from a grump, usually. I don’t need mega-yachts, diamonds, caviar, or servants – I really enjoy slumming it and am in my element at a barbecue on a windy beach barricaded up in a padded anorak; happy as larry chomping down on blackened sausages and Cornish pilchards and drinking cheap wine. And I’m just as inclined to contentment in a caravan on an English cliff top as a 5-star hotel on the Amalfi Coast, but, now and again, I do like a bit of unpretentious luxury and the Blue Marlin Beach Club have hit the nail on that particular head.
Here you will find the perfect blend of infectiously enthusiastic service, brilliant and beautiful food, fabulous drinks, uplifting music and breathtaking scenery. Tables in the open-air restaurant shelter from the relentless mediterranean sun beneath a canopy of canvas shades and look out across the white sand of the club beach and a multitude of gorgeous people in even more gorgeous moods lounging on huge white day beds that face towards the twinkling sea and the bay of Cala Jondal.
It took me 5 days short of a full 40 years to first visit Ibiza and even then it was just on an early mid-life-crisis whim; a decision based on nothing but spontaneity. I hadn’t held a long burning desire to visit or a belief it would be the place for a party. I didn’t really think about it at all but as it turned out I got lucky – Ibiza was everything I would’ve dreamed of if I’d bothered to dream! 5 days at a beautiful traditional finca were the happiest of my life, turning 40 with the people I love on this wonderful island was perfect and the icing on the cake came in the form of a 10-hour lunch at the Blue Marlin. By the time the sun set on my birthday we were being served what felt like our hundredth round of strawberry daiquiris by the drop-dead-gorgeous-and-shiny Carlos, to our waters edge beach bed that easily fit us all and I doubt any of us had ever felt happier in our lives than we did at that moment.
So when I returned 15 months and a day later, although beside myself with excitement, there was a teeny knot of doubt in the pit of my stomach, anxious that my rose-tinted glasses weren’t about to be shattered. But as I discovered to my shame, you cannot be at the Blue Marlin and be anxious – the two cannot co-exist! I’m sure my shoulders were a good 2 inches lower on leaving; any negative molecules in my body literally melted away minute by minute like a very expensive therapy session at The Priory, and admittedly, probably for about the same price but with a fabulous meal and a bucket load of luscious drinks thrown in! This time our table was on a platform next to the bar, half-covered and half-bathed in mid-afternoon sunshine; a grinning, charming waiter materializing like a fairy godmother the moment we sat down to the sound of corks popping, our every desire attended to by a stream of faded-denim-shorts-clad beauties, like a brilliantly conducted orchestra…
“you want some more ice? let mee bring eet for you”
“the wine eez cold enough for you, no?”
“I theenk you need some more oleev oil, I go ged eet”
“maybe I adjust the shade for you, no?”
“eez the sushi ok? I looove eet, ees my favourite, are you appy no?”
“what can I do to make you appier???”
“Loooseeee, you are soo booteeefoool, maybe you come and live ‘ere in paradise wiz us foreeeever, no?” … ooops just got a bit carried away there.
Amid this wash of joyous attention we over-excitedly ordered a shed-load of food, including an extra course from the separate sushi menu, so on a table already loaded with bottles of beautiful oil, bread, mellow and sweet balsamic and aged soy sauce, we had a california roll with king crab and another one with crunchy sesame prawns. Then a tuna tartare with dice-sized chunks of ice-cold tuna served with creamy avocado, a pile of sweet/salty crispy fried shallots and a shallow pool of gingery liquor. All amazing but they paled next to the stunning octopus carpaccio laid out paper-thin and over-lapping, its pearly white flesh laced with frilly pink edges dotted with jade-green edamame beans, tiny jewel-like vegetables and golden and peppery olive oil.
Food envy came in the form of a giant spiny lobster; split and grilled, its belly laid open towards the sun ready for a cooling shower of fresh lime juice. God knows what it would’ve cost but I doubt it concerned its new owner who, dining with his large family and entourage, looked like he might have run a branch of the Sicilian mafia!
We had salads. One with juicy prawns still attached to their crispy grilled tails and served with gem, mango and avocado – sweet, crunchy and creamy; and another with slivers of barely seared beef fillet and a Thai style salad with cabbage, chilli, peanuts, coriander and soy. After puddings – a chocolate torte with creme fraiche sorbet and cherries, and an ‘espuma’ (a sort of iced foam) scented with vanilla and cinnamon hiding a mound of cream ice-cream and studded with caramel shards and raspberries, we descended into a cocktail frenzy before I passed out on a sunlounger to the sounds of happy chill-out music as the sun sank lower and lower towards the horizon and the melodic background chatter and laughter of the crowd.
You can keep your thousand virgins, your divine forgiveness, your gaggle of angels, garden of eden, whatever! This is my heaven, right here on earth. And if you don’t believe me? Is it possible to look happier than this?…