At the Paral·lel location, the design, especially at night when there is a lithe hostess running a manicured finger up and down the ledger looking for your name, reminds me of Roka. The space is low lit with spots picking out the various preparation stations. The ceiling is a tan exposed rib cage. Paper sculptures levitate above the bar.
During the day, it loses the glamour. The mannequin at the front is absent. There are families with strollers ordering wok noodles and rolls in which mayonnaise take a leading role.
The profuse use of spicy mayonnaise is where it reminds me of Sushi Samba – an early adopter of the Brazilian Japanese fusion. There are some dishes that should never happen, under any constellation – things like the Carnaval Uramaki – made up of salmon, cream cheese, avocado, wrapped in kiwi and topped with a passion fruit salsa (€11 for 6 pieces). Can you imagine that as an outfit? There is a lot of cheese in rice – including one iteration of mozzarella and sun-dried tomato. The wacky combinations are the integral part of Ikibana’s USP. It is a clever way to set themselves apart from the masses of sushi restaurants. (Most recently my local Caprabo and Carrefour have set up sushi stalls with sushi being made fresh on site all day).
Cheese and Japanese is not my thing, neither is spicy mayonnaise squirted onto everything but Ikibana gives me plenty of traditional options. There are forays into Peruvian with a couple of ceviche dishes. Quite a few beef dishes (the Brazilian part) including Wagyu entrecote for €48!
In terms of price, Ikibana is expensive. You are paying for the decoration, for the many members of staff, for the aspiring model at the front putting you on edge just long enough to make you feel relieved when you do get seated.
It is a show off restaurant, especially in the summer where the concierges of the various 4 and 5 star restaurants send their customers there. The eating can be good (less so the wok dishes), people watching at night entertaining but there is better value to had in the city. If however, what you are looking for is a bit of sparkle, a helping of interior design, some showmanship (I find service good) then Ikibana delivers.
Ikibana Paral·lel location
Avinguda del Paralelo, 148