I love discovering new places and new people and it is one of the joys of the job that I am lucky enough to have. So it gave me the greatest of pleasure, due to some unforeseen circumstances of my own, to be able to meet and chat to the boys, as they are fondly known by the locals, not once, but three times in the last few weeks. Robson and Matias are an absolute delight and I could have sat and whiled away the day for many hours. In fact the first time we went was for our team lunch and we did just that. Sit back, stretch, relax and let the fun begin.
As for everyone, covid has not made life easy, however their incredible work ethic, enthusiasm and determination have meant that Robson and Matias have weathered the storm and come out stronger and in an even more positive frame of mind than they went in to this pandemic nearly a year and a half ago. In fact, I don’t think I have seen them without a smile on their faces and a kind word to say in all of the hours I have had the pleasure to be in their company. They are quick to laugh and are clearly a team that will let no mere global crisis spoil theirs, and certainly not their customers, fun.
I’m intrigued by the two of them and on my second visit, I get the opportunity to sit down with them in one of their quieter moments. So how did all of this come about? Mattias, originally from Argentina, but who grew up in Italy and Germany, is an absolute self-confessed gastronome. He’s worked in some of the coolest and most famous bars in London, Ibiza and our very own Mallorca. He’s almost bashful as he admits that he is indeed a very good bartender. I can’t help but feel that he is dialling back the fact that he is indeed an absolutely excellent bartender. Balancing the perfect mixture of a listening ear with a well timed response, and a perfectly balanced cocktail to keep you returning time and again.
Matias met Robson six years ago whilst working for the Red Bull brand across the islands and, I think it is fair to say, partying hard. Their meeting was literally love at first sight 12 years ago, and they have been inseparable ever since. Married 6 years ago in the beautiful Hotel Portals Hills, they say they didn’t actually have a huge amount of time to organise everything and so were utterly blessed to have their friends arrive from far and wide around the world to share in their absolute joy. It’s a clear testimony to the personality and friendships that these two build that it was not the slightest effort for everyone to join them. Robson has a definite twinkle in his eye when he hints that maybe it’s time to renew their vows as an excuse to throw another fabulous bash.
The restaurant itself, opened six years ago, is a real reflection of their personalities. Its terrace is large and welcoming with views over to the sea. The tables are colourful and reflect the hues of the Mediterranean cuisine that they specialise in. I just love the aquamarine of the glassware, I am literally mesmerised by the colours.
The glorious tapas menu, the speciality of the restaurant, is displayed on a colourful mural that has you salivating in anticipation of what is to come. As I’m sat there chatting a steak makes its way out of the kitchen to the table next to us and I can barely restrain myself. For not only is their summer specialism tapas, it’s actually tapas with an Argentinian twist, thanks in part to the boys heritage, but more importantly, thanks to Euvony Borros, Robson’s aunt and all round amazing chef. Joining her in the kitchen is Mily, who is not only an exceptional chef as well, but was also the much lauded winner of Masterchef Peru. To say that they are viewed and loved by the boys as the dream team is an understatement. Add in Maiko, the lovely waiter who has returned to the restaurant post covid and the family circle is complete.
It’s time now to turn to the food and this is where the story gets really exciting. First up is the tapas sharing starter so that myself and my wonderful photographer and partner in crime, Anouska, can have a sample of many of the options on offer. The calamari is delightfully crispy on the outside and just melts in your mouth, as the zing of the lemon comes through and just lifts the entire dish. The chicken wings, always a personal favourite, fall off the bone with perfect flavours and delicious skin. The marbled tortilla is like nothing I have eaten before and Robson is clearly proud as he explains that it is homemade fresh everyday and is a firm favourite of the locals. The Russian salad doesn’t stand a chance against Anouska who literally inhales both delightful spoonfuls that are apparently both deliciously creamy and crunchy at the same time. Although I’m a fine one to talk, as the prawns in garlic and the crispy prawns wrapped in bread strands barely hit the sides. Both are absolutely delightful and when I have to (so far removed from being a chore) return for my third chat, Matias offered to make some more for me. I nearly bit his arm off.
Next up is the meat. And oh what meat it is. I opt for the Picanha, the Brazilian grilled steak which is so utterly full of flavour after each and every mouthful that I actually struggle to share it with Anouska. And I am not the only one that felt that way, when we went for the team lunch everyone who had originally talked about sharing mouthfuls of their dishes with the others around the table suddenly became very territorial. I cannot wait to return and get involved with the lamb chops, one of my all time favourite dishes.
By this stage neither Anouska or I can move, however I am all too aware of what is to come. Now, those of you that know me or have read my reviews before, will know that dessert is not my forte. I would generally always opt for more starters than dessert. Not this time!! Three words were all that was needed – Dulce de Leche – throw in pancakes for good measure and I am all yours for life. They are so sweet, creamy, caramelly, heaven in condensed milk form that I pretty much lick the plate clean. There really are no words. You simply have to try them. Perhaps for once I will take the advice of dessert lovers the world over and start from the end of the menu to ensure I have room for this most fabulous of dishes.
Illetes Boulevard is a pleasure from start to finish. Everytime. The boys are so welcoming that I feel as though I have known them for years. The food is delicious, the views lovely, the ambiance the perfect measure of relaxed alongside a full dose of fun, and at night the Bossanova tunes fill the air with the flavours and sounds of Latin America. Matias and Robson have hit on a perfect formula and I highly recommend you head down to the Boulevard and prepare to be impressed.
Paseo de Illetas 6
+34 971 701 574
Islander Team Lunch Photo
By Victoria Pearce
Photos credit: Anouska Foss