Idle Hands - the perfect combination of great food, specialty coffee, wine, music and art
Idle Hands In the middle of the old town of Girona, Idle Hands opened at the end of 2022. The owners, Ayla and Jacob, fell in love with the Costa Brava after having travelled on and off for eight years across the world. Idle Hands marks a stop in their lives, bringing together their passions such as music, art and of course, interesting dishes from across the world with local ingredients and a great hospitality experience.
By: Mariona Planella
Jacob, the conceptual mind of Idle Hands, has worked in the specialty coffee branch for over 10 years and had his own roastery and coffee shop in Antwerp. Ayla is a jewellery designer and the creative mind behind the interior design and smaller details in Idle Hands. Together, they explain that the menu is based on seasonal and locally-available ingredients, with the purpose of promoting local commerce and sustainability, but also delighting customers with new exciting options to try.
We started the gastronomic experience with a glass of natural red wine ‘Perricone’ and a pint of beer from Doskiwis Brewing, dipped a loaf of sour-dough bread from La Puntual into extra virgin olive oil and nibbled on some olives while waiting for our main courses, which we chose based on Ayla’s recommendations.
The main courses were served shortly after, and I was amazed by the composition and taste of the dishes. After having lived in southeast Asia for six months and having tried many different local dishes for my food blog, I was positively surprised by Idle Hands’ Bánh Mì Baguette. The texture of the slow-roasted pork shoulder combined with pickled vegetables, sriracha mayonnaise and homemade pâté gave the traditional Vietnamese speciality a unique touch.
The second dish brought me directly back to the Middle East, a region I visited in spring. I have amazing culinary memories from this part of the world, and the Shakshuka, with its explosion of flavours and textures, is one of them. Idle Hands combines the sweetness of tomatoes and the bitterness and fruitiness of red pepper, both largely present in our Mediterranean gastronomy, exceptionally well. The egg adds a nutty flavour and the feta cheese gives it a final tangy touch.
The last main course is hard to describe, and I highly recommend you try it yourself. The courgette and pea fritters already taste great but combined with the beetroot and chive coconut yoghurt plus the addition of home-cured salmon, makes this a winning dish. In every bite, you will experience a confrontation of sweet, savoury, warm and cold tastes that will drive your senses crazy.
There is always room for dessert, right? We could not leave Idle Hands without trying their homemade vegan and gluten-free cakes. The orange cake was fluffy like a cloud and the chocolate cake was smooth and rich. They combined perfectly with their amazing specialty coffee from Nomad Coffee.
After the delicious meal, we enjoyed playing some of their vinyl, while chatting with the owners about the interior design of the place in the old town. “The plant pots and light caps are handmade by Bonadona”, says Ayla, whereas “the bar top and bathroom sinks are custom-made by Huguet Mallorca, made from terrazzo tiles (recycled chips and cement). We love to showcase and sell brilliant art pieces from various artists in the restaurant like textile artwork by Aby Mackie, and ceramic art by La Pampalluga, who has also crafted our plates and bowls. New pieces will be on display each season, like our menu, which also changes seasonally”.
It is impressive how a couple, who have travelled the world for so many years, can remain true to their ideals. The passion for local products, hospitality and (re)discoveries, can both be seen and tasted in Idle Hands. Personally, I cannot wait till the next season arrives, to experience another time their creativity and life experience in the dishes.