When I visited: August 2017
Location: Marbella, in Hotel Grand Melia Don Pepe
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not in the Guide
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress
Ambience: Smart, slick
Course of the meal: Mixed sashimi
If I could change one thing: Quicker service at the end
Given the strong Japanese influences on the food in Marbella, it made sense to visit Tahini, a cool-looking Japanese restaurant within the Hotel Grand Melia Don Pepe along the seafront. To enter the restaurant, you go upstairs onto a terrace, where you can enjoy panoramic coast views that only get better as the sun sets.
The bamboo corridor leading back to the hotel (and to the toilets) was a masterpiece in itself – with fancy versions of the plastic display fish and sushi that adorn restaurants in Japan, and Japanese newspapers, sounds of Japanese fish markets and a view of the open kitchen. There are also sushi signs on the toilet door entrances so you have to make a vague guess at what they mean and hope you get the right one.
We started with a glass of Fillaboa Albarino white wine each, which was light enough to go well with all the dishes we ordered. We started with miso soup (my partner owl had a version with foie gras and black truffle), followed with gorgeous soft-shell crab sushi rolls. The wakame salad was particularly light and delicious, but the mixed sashimi with yuzu sauce was even better – we especially light the white fish (sea bream and sea bass), but also had fresh prawns, salmon and tuna. We also opted for a couple of dishes named after the restaurant – the Tahini tiradito (very thinly-sliced sashimi) and a shared Tahini Torta – working upwards, this dessert had matcha sauce on the plate, a biscuit base, caramel sauce, red bean paste and cheesecake on top, with blueberries and red berries on the side.
We enjoyed some jasmine green tea served in a beautiful Japanese pot at the end of the meal, but had to wait way to long to get our bill – this is a common problem and a shame as it can slightly spoil your good impression of a restaurant if they keep you waiting ages at the end.
However, overall I would highly recommend Tahini if you are a fan of Japanese food and want a slightly more formal dining experience in Marbella.