Hartwood – Beachside Heaven In Tulum

Tulum is a truly beautiful place. High on the cliffs, overlooking the turquoise blue Caribbean Sea and tiny coves with powdery white sand, is a small collection of Mayan ruins inhabited by hundreds of iguanas and even more tourists. If you find yourself in Mexico, it really is a must do.

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Moving away from the historical site, you can then walk or drive along a road which runs parallel to the coastline and choose one of the beach spots to relax on or one of the many bars and restaurants to take refreshment. The beach road reminded me of many places I’ve been before, in many different continents. It had that universal feel of a beach town, everyone and everything was very relaxed. With its chilled, hippy-like vibe, it seemed as though there was nothing to worry about.

We were looking for a specific restaurant, which had been recommended to us by Lady Aga just before we left London. We weren’t 100% sure what to expect but whatever our expectations were, they were most certainly exceeded. This place was perfection.

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We arrived at Hartwood at 6pm on the dot (they don’t take reservations and this is the time it opens) and were immediately impressed by the style of the restaurant. It was vibrant, modern and relaxed. The kind of place where long and wild parties take place on a regular basis. It was super cool – something that none of the staff there would ever dream of uttering, as they are far too cool to say so. Not cool in a pretentious, annoying way but cool in a “I want to work here”, “I want to be a regular here”, “this is magic” way.

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My overwhelming feeling throughout the evening was that, if I wasn’t already married, this would be the place to do it!

The intro on the website really tells you all you need to know:

Hartwood is set in an open air environment located on the jungle side of Tulum’s beach road.

The restaurant proudly operates with the use of solar panels as its only source of sustainable energy. All food preparation is executed by hand – with no use of electrical appliances.

All of our cooking at Hartwood is done in our wood burning oven and open grill.

We proudly support our community by sourcing all local products from fish, seafood and pork to all of our farm raised produce.

Our menu changes daily due to our reliance and use of the freshest ingredients available.

What’s not to love?!

On the day that we went, the menu consisted of the below.

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Soon after we arrived the place started to fill up. There were about 15 tables and when we left at 8:30ish there was a sizeable queue, so I would recommend getting their early if you are likely to be hungry.

We started off with some cocktails, tequila based of course. I went for the spicy pineapple margarita It certainly didn’t arrive in a hurry but it was worth the wait.

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To start we went for the jicama salad and the calamari salad. Jicama is mexican vegetable, which is a bit like a cross between an apple and a turnip. It was like summer on a plate.

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The calamari was tender and the flavours of both dishes were really fresh and interesting with amazing texture combinations.

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For mains we had the mahi mahi and the costilas al agarve. Both were outstanding and cooked to perfection.

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We were told that the costillas al agave was the house dish and when it arrived it was immediately clear why. A big hunk of slow cooked sticky pork rib served with crunchy slaw. Tender, tangy and deep with flavour – my eyes were certainly bigger than my belly when  it came to poking this down. I just couldn’t stop.

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We also went for a side of yuca ala crema. Not that we needed it, the portions were huge, but we were keen to try more dishes and this was recommended by our waiter. It was a great choice.

The mexican yuca is a vegetable known to me as cassava, something I am not usually keen on but this was amazing. Think potato dauphinoise with a healthy twist.

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We throughly enjoyed every single mouthful and didn’t want to leave. Sadly it’s closed on a Monday and therefore we only had one opportunity to visit, otherwise we’d have definitely been back to try more of the menu.

If you are going to Tulum, you must seek this place out http://www.hartwoodtulum.com. If you’re not going to Tulum, I suggest you reconsider.

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