In just a few years, T-Bone Grill at the iconic Gran Meliá Don Pepe hotel has built a reputation as a standard bearer for traditional grilled meat, carefully cooked according to the techniques established by the Gorrotxategi family, of Casa Julián de Tolosa, founded in 1951 in Guipúzcoa.
Vegetable-based carbon blocks weighing a kilogram each are one key to the inimitable texture and flavour of the meat, though of course, setting the right temperature and being exact with timing, are vital.
A Passion for D.O. Produce
T-Bone Grill has grown into so much more than a steak restaurant; great care has been taken to craft a sophisticated menu that includes items like anchovies from Cantabria, piquillo peppers from Lodosa, grilled baby squid, or rice dishes made with grilled octopus or asparagus and red tuna tartar. In essence, T-Bone aims to bring diners the very produce from the Spanish peninsula, as well as meat dishes from Spain and abroad.
The Executive Chef and His Team
Much of the credit goes to Víctor Carracedo (Executive Chef of the Gran Meliá Don Pepe), and his talented team, which includes Raúl Palacio as Head Chef and grill master, and Jesús Lebrero, the highly skilled Pastry Chef.
The service is exquisite indeed; on our visit, we were attended to by Sebastián Arredondo, who took delight in explaining the delicate gourmet ingredients and who has a clear passion for client satisfaction.
A Great Start
The starters are a treat, as we discovered on our recent visit. We tucked into a dreamlike tuna tartar topped with caviar and delicately diced onion, served with crisp Sardinian bread (carasau).
Detail is everything in the dishes at T-Bone Grill; the work involved in creating texture, flavour, and aroma, is palpable, as is the quality of the produce, evident in dishes such as the homemade cecina croquettes, topped with fine, rolled slices of melt-in-the-mouth cecina.
We also shared grilled wild shiitake mushrooms, served with an egg yolk in the middle, which we enjoyed ‘cracking’ and blending in with mushrooms to lend them an appealing gloss and creaminess.
The wine list celebrates the different regions of Spain, with a menu representing the Spanish map and the origin of each bottle. For our meal, we enjoyed both white and red: a crisp Terras Gauda Albariño, and a full-bodied Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero which was the perfect match for our meat dishes.
Ultimately, this restaurant is all about the grill… the stunning interiors, featuring wall panel fireplaces, metal wall sculptures and, of course, a panel containing personalised knives for the most assiduous diners, reminds one of the worldwide passion for steak.
Your Choice of Blade
Prior to our meal, we were invited to select from three different blades: Laguiole (France), Global (Japan) or Wüsthof (Germany); most of us opted for the latter as per Sebastián’s suggestion.
Our first meat dish, the presa ibérica, bore a beautiful presentation; the juicy slices were topped with a sauce containing mango and red onion, and served with a heavenly organic tomato cooked at low temperature – wonderfully tart and sweet all at once.
Small touches such as these make patent the slow elaboration of many seemingly ‘small’ ingredients which together make a dish one-of-a-kind. We also shared a beautiful monkfish a la vasca, served with tender artichoke hearts and shavings of parmesan.
Finally, we delighted at the medium-rare Friesian steak, matured for 60 days and bearing a perfect marbling point (between seven and eight).
Call it preconceived notions, but diners somehow do not expect desserts of the calibre we enjoyed, after such a magnificent grilled meal. We were stunned by the delicacy of sweets such as the strawberry sphere with chocolate and ‘black beer’, bearing a liquid strawberry ‘nucleus’ and decorated with siphoned strawberry to imitate the appearance of coral.
The saltyish Oreo-style crumbs at the bottom of the dessert were a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the accompanying ingredients. We tried two more desserts: a beautiful heart-shaped white chocolate mousse with a liquid white chocolate nucleus, served on a pistachio cookie with a raspberry coulis; and a copa fresca – a reinterpretation of the classic caipirosca drink, made with mango and lime sorbet, vodka, and red fruits, the glass dipped into a red fruit coulis and salt.
T-Bone Grill certainly merits its place as one of Marbella’s finest, with delicate starters, hearty mains, and avante-garde desserts you could surely only find in Paris, Rome, or Madrid. We hope our readers have gleaned just how special this venue is, though the proof of the pudding is truly in the tasting.
C/ José Meliá s/n, Marbella.Tel: 952 770 300.