LUX Autumn 2018

108 Nagai Restaurant is a rare delight – a reinvention of Asia-fusion, with a truly modern flourish. In June, LUXlife Magazine recognised Nagai Restaurant in the 2018 Global Luxury Restaurant & Bar Awards, as Best for Contemporary Japanese Cuisine, in Spain. We spoke to Owner and Director, Melchior Arnold, and Eleonora Carapellotti, who is the visionary behind the creation of the whole concept in close collaboration with Reina Nagai to find out how the restaurant has become a global phenomenon, reinvigorating the field of international cuisine. Launched in May 2011, Nagai Restaurant has earned its place as one of Ibiza’s premier eateries, offering a celebration, and exploration, of the world’s most delectable dishes. At once a deep-dive into the traditional, and the atypical, Nagai is sure to please and enchant every palate. Situated on the island of Ibiza, the restaurant has capitalised on a new movement among travellers - the need for quality, upmarket food. The desire to be impressed, and to be captivated by the food they eat. Nagai Restaurant succeeds at both in equal measure. Melchior agrees, “Ibiza has moved from a holiday place for everyone to a more niche and higher market in the last few years, with five-star hotels and world restaurants like Nobu, Nikki Beach or Hard Rock coming to the Island. This stimulates us to continue improving and surprising our guests with quality and taste.” This, according to Melchior, is a worldwide trend, and gives a sense as to the future of the hospitality sector; “Ibiza and the world in general has seen an increased awareness on food quality and variety. This means we add and improve dishes every year.” 1807LU27 As you can imagine, Nagai’s overwhelming success is driven by their team of enthusiasts. However, it would be a disservice to talk about Nagai Restaurant without mentioning Head Chef, Reina Nagai. With a talent honed and perfected in restaurants around Thailand and Rome, Reina is the heart and soul of the restaurant, and the driving force behind a gourmet renaissance on the island. Her signature style – light, delicate, healthy dishes with flavour to spare – has won her fans around the world, including no small amount of celebrity endorsement. Naturally, Nagai Restaurant hasn’t succeeded on Reina’s efforts alone, but on the back of the restaurants dedicated, and hard-working staff. Melchior was quick to emphasise the importance of his team and how he goes about hiring new recruits, “our staff are young, positive, multi-lingual and enjoy a family-feel to work, with a professional and friendly attitude. As an established restaurant, we receive hundreds of applications, but, prefer to hire based on personal connections or recommendations. Most of our current staff have either been with us for a while, or have returned for a second stint after being away for a couple of seasons.” The hospitality industry is one of continuous development – a constant forward-march of new flavours, and flourishes, and, in the case of Europe, new legislation with far-reaching effects. Melchior sums up what he expects the near future to hold for the industry; “the conscious elimination of single- use plastic, more sugar-awareness, and accountability for sustainability and sourcing will definitely become more important in the future.” To finish, Melchior explained why guests return time and time again to the restaurant, “Nagai is a place where you can still feel the laid-back, summer holiday, care-free, Ibiza Vibe, while eating great tasting food and enjoying good music, surrounded by like-minded people.” Company: Nagai Restaurant Ibiza Address: Road to Sant Joan, Km 9.5, Ibiza, Spain Web Address: Telephone: 00 34 971 80 73 08 Creating Culinary Perfection Taste