There is a secret location in Ibiza that few people know about, nestled among the pine trees in Santa Eulalia on the island’s east coast. Home to cicadas that hum all day long and over 150 species of wildly varied birds, Río de Santa Eulalia is, somewhat surprisingly, the only river in the Balearic Islands. Carved into rock over the course of thousands of years, it trickles downwards from its source at around 15km upstream, flowing steadily towards the Mediterranean Sea where salt, sand and freshwater collide. Situated at the same elemental crossroads is UHLA by UM, a new Ibiza beach restaurant creating a carefree habitat of its own.
Picturesque, serene, and oh-so-pretty, UHLA by UM invites guests to sink into relaxation by morphing seamlessly into the landscape so that space, body and mind feel equally in tune. Sparkling views both inspire and soften, while a menu of Spanish-inspired plates enthrals the tastebuds and a perfectly curated soundtrack stimulates the ears. The result is a multi-sensorial experience for one and all, created by the Mallorca-based Umami Group, renowned for an ethos that swirls around flavour, sight and sound.
UHLA by UM is reached by following the gently meandering path of Santa Eulalia’s coastal promenade westwards. From here, panoramic vistas span from sea to beach to river and back again and hours are spent succumbing to the beauty of the surrounding nature. Here, chunky wooden tables are topped with glass that mirrors the exact shade of the Mediterranean and crockery the colour of caramel; parasols are the very same hue as the sand they shade, and sun loungers mimic the fluffy white clouds that float past on a perfect summer day.
In keeping with the restaurant’s purposeful nods to nature, every ingredient on the delicious menu at UHLA by UM is organic and locally sourced where possible. Inspired by traditional Spanish flavours but with a delightfully modern twist, tasty tapas to share include Marinera mussels infused with coconut milk, kaffir lime and citronella; tiraditos of tuna, salmon, seabass and butterfish with citrus and sprouts; typical Iberian ham croquettes; fried squid with piquillo pepper mayonnaise, and patatas bravas, made with baby potatoes and spicy Mallorcan sobrasada.
Salads meanwhile, are bursting with both flavour and nutrients, making the Buddha Bowl hard to beat on a hot Mediterranean afternoon. Marinated salmon is paired with brown rice, chickpeas, tofu, spinach, broccoli, red cabbage, avocado, edamame, goji berries and sesame dressing for a healthy and refreshing lunch. The house special UHLA by UM salad consisting of avocado, herbed yoghurt dressing, pico de gallo, baby spinach and coriander pesto is another great option, and purists will relish the Caesar salad with grilled chicken breasts, romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese and creamy Caesar dressing.
Moving on to main courses, UHLA by UM specialises in traditional paella and its pasta equivalent, fideuà. Settle in for a long, leisurely afternoon catching up with friends and family as you enjoy the typical Spanish pastime of indulging in the famous rice dish, which tastes even better when eaten alfresco with your feet in the sand. Alternatively, tuck into a freshly cooked pasta dish, or choose from an array of quality cuts of fish and meat. The Angus sirloin steak served with warm sweet potato purée comes highly recommended, while the grilled octopus with Galician-style mashed potato is all the proof required to believe in the region’s culinary prowess.
All meals at UHLA by UM can be enjoyed either at the table or slouched in a comfy beanbag perched atop the sand, while a limited selection is available on the beach. And if you’re planning on spending the day basking in the Mediterranean sun, there’s no doubt you’ll be tempted by the cocktail menu – truly something to behold. All the classics are featured – think Margaritas, Caipirinhas, and Espresso Martinis galore – but there’s also a bespoke selection freshly shaken and stirred by the expert in-house mixologists.
Cool off at UHLA by UM with the Habana Spritz, made with Bacardi, Champagne, mint, Saint Germain, lime, sugar and Angostura bitters. Taste the A List with the Kate Moss, made with limoncello, Prosecco, passion fruit, vanilla vodka and mandarin; or savour the flavours of Mexico with the Tulum, a concoction of tequila, grapefruit soda, lemon and tajín salt. Frozen daiquiris in a variety of fruity flavours can also be delivered direct to your sun lounger. And for anyone steering clear of alcohol, the Ibiza restaurant also whizzes up supercharged smoothies and invigorating soft drinks to keep your thirst quenched.
The final piece of the UHLA by UM puzzle is an incredibly curated soundtrack by Andreu Moyà aka Gurito. A mishmash of inspiring sounds that pivots from Latin American folk to Afrobeat, a genre sampling funk, jazz and soul, it whisks guests away on a sonic journey that both creates and supports standout moments. Already being hailed as transforming the vibe on the Santa Eulalia searfront, this uniquely laid-back but unpretentious beach club invites you to fall in love with Spanish culture and cuisine. And much like the nearby river, it’s just about getting into the flow.