November’s Restaurant of the Month ‘Head of a Mad Man’, the newest addition to Casa Malca, on Tulum's Beach Road
The name, which I am sure most of you are wondering where it came from, (as was I), was inspired by one of the works of Jean Michel Basquiat
‘Head of a Mad Man’, a restaurant situated at the far end of the beach of Casa Malca
Photos by Deike Alexa
Casa Malca, an oasis on the pristine beaches of Tulum, opened in 2014, with the owner Lio Malca, at the helm and only 8 rooms in the main house. Casa Malca became the hippest vibe in Tulum and remains one of the most sought after places to this day. Luxury meets hip meets Caribbean meets NYC can be one of the best ways to describe this beautiful hotel.
With Lio Malca’s artistic vision, he designed each common area, including the restaurants, to resemble a funky NYC art gallery, placing pieces of his own art collection throughout, allowing guests to feel as though they are in a museum. But this is only one amazing aspect of Casa Malca. There are 3 restaurants on the property, each contributing their own flare to this beauty on the beach hotel, however there is one that stands out to Tulum Eats Mag and is restaurant of the month worthy: Head of a Mad Man.
The name, which I am sure most of you are wondering where it came from, (as was I), was inspired by one of the works of Jean Michel Basquiat (which holds quite a bit of sentimental value for Lio Malca). That said, wherever the name came from, it certainly is catchy, and for some reason or another it is quite fitting for the new Casa Malca addition, and the food that comes out of Head of a Mad Mans’ kitchen.
Located at the far end of Casa Malca, you are greeted with an amazing long bar, and a back set wall with ‘Head of a Mad Man’ spray painted on it. A hostess stand greets you, and as of now, all of the tables are situated in front of the ocean. As if that could ever be a down point.
Head of a Mad Man’s menu is meat & seafood centric, with a focus on prime cuts of meat & fresh seafood either wood fire roasted, grilled on charcoal or both. Who’s in the kitchen you ask? Interestingly enough TWO chefs. Yes, I know, quite the anomaly, but it works. And it works well. Chefs Luis Vilchis and Felipe Spindola co-spear the Head of a Mad Man effortlessly. They put amazing spins on some of the classics, like the (pre grilled) roasted bone marrow with Escamoles (ant larvae), in a citrus Serrano sauce, on a nest made out of palm tree fibers. That was the first thing I tried. I found myself wanting to scoop all the Escamoles off, slop it on the lavash style toast that accompanied the dish. However, the combination of the Escamoles, citrus, Serrano chiles and bone marrow kept me from doing that...it was just too delicious and it needed to be eaten together. Next up was the wood roasted Nigerian Prawns. Yes. Wood roasted Nigerian Prawns. One word and one word only comes to mind. Sublime. Let me set the picture for you: Two HUGE head-on prawns (the head is the best part if I do say so myself and I am sure that’s what she said), marinated ever so slightly, giving way to a smoky flavor. All this deliciousness was accompanied with an arugula tomato salad, giving way to the perfect balance of flavors, and texture. I was impressed by the creativity, and more so since they use local ingredients. But let’s move on to something as equally important: Libations.
Did I try any of the cocktails? You betcha. Did I like them? That’s like asking a 5-year old if they like ice cream. We have all had the proverbial Jamaica Mezcal (Hibiscus Flower) cocktail. And as good as it is, it's become a standard go to when you go out at night. Kind of like the tricycle of mezcal drinks for beginners. The Jamaica Mezcal Cocktail at Head of a Man? It’s a whole other ball game. In fact it’s a game changer, and my game was changed. The Jamaica is smoked. Yes smoked. The combination of the smoky mezcal combined with the smoked Jamaica is like a slice of the Caribbean meets Brooklyn. Complexed, slightly ghetto, a touch of edge and complete hipster.
Reservations can be made, but they also take walk-ins. If you want to spend a day at Casa Malca’s beautiful beach club, there is a minimum consumption requirement, which you can fulfill at Head of a Mad Man or one of the other 2 restaurants on the property.
Head of a Mad Man
12:30pm to 6pm
Located at the far end of Casa Malca Hotel
Tulum Eats Magazine is published 12 times a year, unless we decide to go on prolonged vacations. You can find the print magazine at select locations throughout the Riviera Maya, and in some East Coast establishments, where we will randomly place, during selective times. The website will be updated monthly, with selected materials that may or may not be the same as the print version. Look for us soon, in other states of Mexico.