The indomitable John Moon of Bambuddha Grove restaurant fame has finally handed over the reins of this temple to his son Jonjon. His retirement, after ten years building this little Ibiza country restaurant into the iconic location it has become, will free him to return to his original passion, which is travelling.
Born during the second World War in Blitz Britain to a Liverpool-Irish mother and Greek Cypriot father he never stayed long enough anywhere to put down roots, emigrating first to South Africa, then travelling through much of the rest of that continent before discovering India. His travels took him further, to the Golden Triangle and on to Japan. Australia was next, followed by Goa then the US coast to coast road trip along Route 66.
Then the Hippy Trail from the West Coast to India and Bali via Ibiza became popular and these venues became the hip places to party – a playground for hippies where anything goes… Opting for Ibiza as the more sensible of the three options for raising his young son, John went into business with an exwife and her boyfriend running a small restaurant on the San Juan road called ‘Buddha’s Bar’. Unsurprisingly the partnership broke up and John was left with the debris. Thus was Bambuddha born.
The years of graft ahead might have deterred a less determined man, but John fought his way through the completion of the ambitious building plans, dogged by financing issues and inexperience to finally blossom like a Lotus flower. Oftentimes people stood by waiting for this house of cards to collapse. They were rewarded by the most elegant of Thai restaurants housed in a temple imported from Thailand and painstakingly reconstructed by imported Thai craftsmen. Upon entering they would be greeted by a smiling, congenial John and his fastidious team of staff.
John’s first observation when asked how things were going this year is, “Good – I’ve managed to keep all of the staff from last year!”. Looking around it’s hard to believe that anybody would want to leave such a stunningly beautiful working environment. It would appear though that John himself has had enough, which brings us to Jonjon…
Jonjon is a child of Ibiza. Brought up in the eclectic style of Ibiza life with its chaotically entertaining summer season and quiet reflective winters. One of the more depressing aspects of Ibiza life is the high incidence of fatal traffic accidents on the island roads. This has been addressed over recent years but, unfortunately, Jonjon was an innocent victim of one that almost cost him his life a little under a year ago.
Initially doctors predicted that he would be paralysed from the chest down, but they hadn’t reckoned with Jonjon’s exceptional spirit. He is now able to stand on his feet and, although he is not yet able to walk, he still has high hopes of being able to get there through lots of hard work with physiotherapy. Jonjon adjusted his temporary new life to his situation and became surprisingly stronger through it.
Jonjon explains, “Since partying and chasing around the island to the clubs with my mates isn’t an option for the time being, I’m focusing on the restaurant and the skills that I need to take over from my dad – in order to maintain his extraordinary record of success. This actually helps me to divert my mind from my predicament and keeps me positive.” ‘Positive’ is definitely the adjective to describe Jonjon as we discuss the potential of stem cell treatment to eventually cure the problems posed by a broken spine.
With regard to the restaurant and its future under his guidance, he reflects upon the lessons learnt by his father. Of dealing with the crazy expectations of his father’s earlier social circle and the mission to make the restaurant a feature of every visitor’s holiday to Ibiza, rather than the crazy parties of days gone by. The impression is that this is another example of the next generation being more sensible than the previous and catering not just for the aging generation, but preparing for those that follow- of whom he is representative.
All in all it appears that the stage has been set for John to continue on his mission to see the Amazon rain forests and the few remaining deserts that he hasn’t yet crossed…
All that remains is to wish the pair well with their new responsibilities. The new guardian of the temple known as Bambuddha Grove looks well capable of turning this project into a dynasty.