Origen, ensconced in one of the most trodden streets in the centre of Marbella, may be brand new, but it seems like it has been around for years.

The welcoming warmth of the interiors, stunning wood and leather features, open wood fire cleverly designed so that not a whiff of smoke is present, envelops you in an embracing ambience that is instantly echoed by the attention of the lovely staff.

Origen, you soon discover, is not a restaurant in which you have to wait to order a top-up or for your different courses to arrive. There are many staff members, which is crucial to good service; each and every one of them is passionate about the produce they serve. I can easily predict that Origen will soon be the ‘in’ place savvy diners head for when prime cuts of succulent meat are on the agenda.

The friendly maître d’, Rodolfo, was delighted to share the secrets of a fine Argentinean dining experience with us, explaining the contents of the delightfully spicy chimichurri sauce, and the source of the beautifully thick, juicy steaks we were privileged enough to sample.

Our meal began with two meat-filled pasties which set our taste buds on frenzy mode. One was stuffed with a spicy minced meat/tomato blend and the pastry itself was not what you would find at a typical Spanish establishment; light, airy, and crisp are just a few adjectives it conjured up and the filling was utterly moreish.

The second was given due merit with its name: Empanada Origen. It was filled with a slow-cooked beef ragout that takes three hours to reduce to a lovely tenderness. The portions, we noted, were hearty and satisfying, making Origen a great choice for those with a good appetite.

Next up was quite a surprise: a small clay pot appeared on our table with the hottest, creamiest, ooziest Provolone cheese you can imagine. We took turns dipping slices of homemade bread into the concoction, deciding that the starter was, indeed, totally complementary to a meat-based meal.

Then came the biggies: an enticing rib-eye steak, cooked medium rare, just as we had requested, served with a red wine sauce on the side and a rich potato ‘al Roquefort’ accompaniment. There are flavours you are unlikely to encounter unless you visit this restaurant: an amazing natural sea salt that seemed to melt into the meat, whose tenderness and essence were one-of-a-kind.

The dish was served with a small garnishing of chips, which worked well as we sampled the different sauces and sides available. The grand finale was more than fitting: a huge chuletón (T-bone steak), hailing from meat paradise, Ávila, and aged for 45 days.

Meat lovers will know that the process of ageing sets off a biochemical process which produces a natural tenderness and earthier flavour. The result was, quite simply, heavenly. The meat was at least three fingers thick and incredible in taste and texture. Its fine crispness gave way to a melt-in-the-mouth tenderness that must be experienced.

We enjoyed this meat extravaganza with a beautiful Argentinian Malbec (Catena Zapata), full-bodied, yet elegant enough to enable the meat to play a starring role. Indeed, if wine is your thing, you will be spoiled for choice at Origen, which stocks over 40 wines from the different regions of Argentina, as well as a wide range of Chardonnays: the team is keen on debunking the myth that meat should always be accompanied by red.

Whites are especially popular in warmer months, so there is an ample list of Spanish, French and Argentinean varieties and diners are usually surprised, say the staff, to discover so many Argentinean white wines.

I feel like a philistine saying the words ‘veggies’ and ‘Argentinean’ in the same sentence, but those after a lighter meal should note that there are options for them, too. Our filling T-bone was accompanied by an impressive bowl of the ensalada Ramona (a beautifully seasoned medley of avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, etc.).

Origen was lively on the evening of our visit, with couples and families each enjoying their own private feast, yet somehow, our table felt like our very own paradise, where we were pampered and cared for, yet given the privacy and space we needed to enjoy great conversation alongside a meal that marked the evening as simply the best.

Words Marisa Cutillas / Photography Kevin Horn

Open daily for dinner from 7pm to 12am. C/ Gregorio Marañón s/n, Edificio Segovia – local 6, Marbella. Tel: 951 352 164.

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