Restaurant of the Month: La Creole at Hacienda Santa Cruz
Each month Yucatan Today visits a restaurant in order to describe what it has to offer. This is not a review; it is a summary of the menu, service, ambience, prices, and opening hours.
The haciendas of Yucatán which have been restored and now offer accommodation and fine dining have one thing in common: their current owners are proud of the hospitality that they offer. But there the similarity ends…each hacienda is unique and has something different to set it apart. Hacienda Santa Cruz (1640) was an ancient Franciscan monastery, and became a henequen plantation in the 19th century. In 2007, after an 18-month restoration, it opened its doors as a charming 11-room hotel.
Robert and Caroline Franck have brought a French touch to Hacienda Santa Cruz.
Robert is from France, and Caroline comes from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Together they have created an ambience of comfort, calm, and conviviality. The hacienda has a rich historical past in an environment of luxury and peace. Caroline’s colorful art is a highlight of a visit here.
In the heart of the former Machine House, the main restaurant of the hacienda has two dining areas: a non-smoking area and a lovely outdoor terrace. Hotel guests have their breakfast on the terrace, and this informal space is ideal for a delicious gastronomy experience in a casual setting…reminiscent of an inn in the French countryside. Chef Raúl Ramírez is from Puebla and a graduate of the Instituto Culinario de México. He presents contemporary Mexican cuisine: “It’s a synonym of evolution guided by the traditions of our cuisine and the folklore which characterizes us, offering a tribute to all of our majestic dishes…adding new techniques and ingredients, but above all cooking with a lot of love and respect.”
The menu, along with the wine list, is posted on a blackboard. The wines, from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and France, range in price from 320 pesos to 520 pesos, with wines available by the glass for 70 pesos.
Some dinner choices include:
First course: Small tuna panuchos with hibiscus and mango gelatin; tacos of hibiscus flower with goat cheese and Wasabi mayonnaise served on curry guacamole; small duck “sopes” with fried chaya.
Second course: Hearty shrimp soup cantina style; cream of roasted tomato; lime gazpacho.
Third course: Salmon with sesame crust served with chile nopal, grilled watermelon, artichoke hearts with epazote and chile de árbol vinaigrette; New York steak with shrimps with chile pasilla sauce with mushrooms and nopal served on rustic mashed potato; beef filet with organic greens and a corn marmalade with aroma of epazote.
Desserts: Exquisite, creamy, delicious pistachio mousse.
Hacienda Santa Cruz is situated in the heart of luxuriant vegetation, with abundant birds and wildlife. The hacienda is only 20 minutes from downtown Mérida, just south of the Periférico from Salida No. 2 on the road to Dzununcán. Reservations for lunch or dinner are essential (open 2 pm – 9 pm). Tel. (999) 254 0541.