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The ninth part of our series taking you behind the scenes at Baobab Suites is the most delicious instalment yet! This time we take a closer look at what makes BB Restaurant so special: from choosing the ingredients to the most popular dishes, the constant search for culinary creativity and those breath-taking views. Of course, to give a truly accurate account of a first-hand experience we had to try the food…it’s a tough life!

We chatted with head chef Ivan Viciano, to find out a little more:

What 3 words best describe the menu at BB?

Fresh, contemporary, intriguing.

What are the main influences for the menu?

The menu’s based on a modern European brasserie, using home-grown ingredients although there are also Asian and South American influences, which are really en vogue in international cuisine right now. We never lose sight of the traditional Spanish roots of our dishes, however.

Which are the most popular dishes that are ordered most frequently?

For a starter, the Caesar salad is one of the most popular. The panzanella salad with anchovies is another favourite – it’s a light summer salad with tomato as the main ingredient and customers really enjoy it.

When it comes to fish, the medregal (similar to tuna) with cauliflower puree and Canarian “bonito” potatoes cooked in a chimichurri sauce is popular, along with the Canarian ceviche with passion fruit and red mojo. And for meat dishes, the Iberian pork with basil mayonnaise is always a safe bet, along with fillet steak with caramelised onions and grapefruit.

Where do you source the ingredients from?

The fish is always fresh, caught in the Atlantic and transported directly to Tenerife. The chef’s specials usually include fish caught from just off the coastline of the Canaries. On special occasions we sometimes need to find a supplier on the mainland when we’re unable to find what we need here, but that only happens rarely.

The Iberian pork usually comes from around Salamanca on the mainland, from Guijuelo, one of the best areas in the country for this type of meat. We tend to source our cuts of beef from Northern Europe, as it’s in the Netherlands at the moment where we have found the quality cuts that we want to offer our customers.

As for fruit and vegetables, we rely on local producers, so long as there is availability. Mangoes, papayas, passion fruit, bananas and grapefruits always come from Canarian producers. The different types of lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and the majority of vegetables also come from Tenerife-based producers, which means they are the freshest they can possibly be. Star products from the island, like the bonito potatoes, are never missing from our fridges, even though their price is relatively high. Being an island, many products that are not found locally, and when that happens we have to rely on suppliers who bring produce from the mainland, but only when we cannot source the item locally.

How much importance is placed on the ingredients?

A great deal. You’ll never find a fish on our menu that hasn’t been personally scaled, gutted, filleted and rationed by one of our chefs. We are always searching for the very best ingredients we can find. We like to enhance, not cover up, the flavour of our ingredients, which is why choosing top-quality produce is so important. Any products delivered by suppliers that don’t match our standards are sent back.

Tell us a bit more about the chef’s specials…

The chef’s recommendations change every day. We normally suggest a salad, a pasta dish and a meat or a fish dish as well. Normally I choose the best available products that are not included in the menu to be able to offer something different to our customers every day. I’ll then tell the chef on duty which products can be used and they decide on the dish, which they make for me to try. I give any feedback or suggest any changes necessary and, when presentation and everything else is decided, the rest of the chef’s team are informed and shown how to make it.

The specials tend to focus on seasonal products, which have the most flavour. As the seasons change so do the specials, reflecting the produce that is readily available at any particular time. We are lucky to be located in one of the best areas of Tenerife, which has a fabulous climate all year round. We usually make more summer-orientated dishes for this reason, although we also have dishes for those “colder” days, when they happen.

Each chef has their own technique and personal favourite ingredients – are there any ingredients that appear in several different dishes?

Like I said we like to use local produce, and one of the finest ingredients we have is the “bonito” variety of potato. It’s so simple and so delicious that we use it in many different dishes and will continue to do so. Tomatoes are another ingredient that we use in several different dishes, again for their simplicity and wonderful flavour.

Other than the food itself, what else does BB offer its customers?

One of the most charming things about a visit to BB is the view across the coast and out to sea. In that respect, very few – if any – other restaurants can compete with us.

We always try to make people feel at home when they visit us, and the team of waiting staff do an excellent job in making customers feel comfortable and most of our clients repeat time and time again.

How does customer feedback help the team?

Feedback from our customers is one of the most important things for us. We can have an idea of how to do our jobs, but if the clients aren’t happy then we need to adapt our service, of course. Our job is to make sure that our customers have the most enjoyable experience possible when they come to BB. If we’re asked for anything that we don’t have, we try to get it as soon as possible. If we see that a dish is very popular, we keep making it. If another dish isn’t well received, we change it.

Has there ever been a marriage proposal in BB?

Yes, very recently in fact! Just a few weeks ago a woman asked for our help in proposing to her boyfriend and we did everything we could to make sure everything was the way she wanted it. He said yes, and the wedding preparations are underway!