Located in Nueva Andalucía, opposite Puerto Banús and behind Casino Marbella, Vôvem is one of Spain's finest restaurants specialising in meat dishes. Manager Francesc Sole Borrell says he is unaware of "any other steakhouse in Spain that offers the same extensive variety of meats as Vôvem".
A graduate in business management & administration and international law from Oxford Brookes University, at 46 years of age and after having run several textile industry companies, Francesc Solé Borrell is currently managing three restaurants in Marbella. In addition to Spanish and Catalan, he is fluent in French, English and Italian, speaks some German and started to learn Russian a few months ago.
Cataluña-born and “malagueño” by adoption, he loves the area, defending it wherever he goes, and committed to highlighting the great potential and enormous possibilities of this corner of southern Europe.
In addition to new projects on the horizon, he is currently focused on managing Magna Café in Nueva Andalucía, El Gran Gatsby in Puerto Banús and, in particular, his latest commitment from just over a year ago, Vôvem Asador, a restaurant popular with lovers of meat and other dishes roasted over a wood-burning grill using top-grade holm oak.
What special aspects make Vôvem stand out from other restaurants of the same category? What new concept does it offer?
Apart from decoration and the restaurant’s own style, with the kitchen and grill in view of diners, Vôvem is a new grill-house concept because its daily menu includes more than 10 different types of beef, with them all on show in a spectacular display case.
At Vôvem we try to pass on to clients all the knowledge we have accumulated about the wide and unknown world of top-grade beef. The age, breed, type of feed, maturing process, etc., are all explained by the dining room staff with the ultimate aim of helping clients choose their ideal piece of meat and thus ensure that the Vôvem experience is at least different to that offered at other grill-houses.
Would it be risky to claim that Vôvem offers the best meat on the Costa del Sol?
I can’t claim that categorically but I can say that I’m not aware of any other grill-house in Spain that has such a large variety of meats and, above all else, the level of quality that Vôvem offers every day. For six months before opening the restaurant I visited a large number of livestock operations to see first-hand all the processes and all the areas where they produced the goods, from stables to the fields where the cattle graze, the kind of feed and ingredients that comprise the animals’ diet, the quartering rooms, the maturing rooms... This work is important in order to choose the best suppliers and guarantee a very high level of product quality.
Furthermore, unlike other restaurants, we have our own maturing chamber which, with optimum temperature and moisture conditions, means we can control the best point of meat consumption.
What can you tell us about the variety of cattle breeds offered by your restaurant?
On the current menu we have many different breeds of cattle: Friesian, Avileña-Charolais, Fleckvich-Simmental, Gallega, Parda Alpina, Rubia Gallega, Berrenda en Colorado, Angus Black from Nebraska, Sayaguesa, Spanish Wagyu, Chilean Wagyu from the Villarica nature park, pure-breed black Japanese Wagyu and finally meat from the El Capricho Bodega, considered by the New York Times to be the best meat in the world.
With such a great variety of meats, does the restaurant offer diners some kind of advice to satisfy their tastes?
Our dining room staff aim to advise diners in accordance with their tastes. To that end, for each meat we explain the kind of texture, level of fat infiltration, type of feed given to the animal, strength in both smell and taste… In short, we try to elicit the maximum amount of information we can for our clients, determine their preferences, and therefore be able to offer an unrivalled organoleptic experience.
One interesting fact worth highlighting is that Vôvem has a family stud tree available for some of the breeds, which in some cases enables us to go back to the 1950s, last century, and identify the males, thus showing their pure breeding lines.
Apart from meats, what other dishes will clients find on the Vôvem menu?
Another aspect that makes Vôvem stand out is its large selection of dishes in addition to meats. The new menu we have just launched includes more than 45 dishes, highlighted by some magnificent red prawn croquettes; avocado cannelloni filled with seafood; Wagyu carpaccio with salted vanilla, oil and parmesan caviar and lightly smoked; the famous coca foie with caramelised apple; a sirloin tartar with grilled free-range fried egg; grilled cod with Wagyu black pudding; squids filled with mushrooms and vegetables, in their own ink; and the delicious seafood rice dish (dry), wood-cooked using holm oak and vine shoots.
Great care is taken with the presentation of the dishes, the same as with their preparation. The option of being able to choose half-portions for some of the dishes means clients can share various dishes before moving on to the meats.
It is also possible to enjoy tapas on the terrace, as well as all kinds of mixed drinks and cocktails…
Vôvem has two areas linked by a large picture window, and thanks to that we can be seated inside the restaurant while enjoying the terrace, and vice versa. We complement the gastronomic menu with a very interesting wine menu, mixed drinks and cocktails, at very attractive prices.
What are the opening hours of the restaurant and terrace?
Our kitchen is open continuously from 1pm to 12 midnight, and you can enjoy the magnificent terrace, savouring a cocktail or mixed drink, until 2am.
Apart from Vôvem, you run two other restaurants in Marbella: El Gran Gatsby in Puerto Banús and Magna Marbella in Nueva Andalucía. Can you describe those to us briefly?
Magna Café has been a standard-bearer for haute cuisine in Marbella for more than 10 years, offering international cuisine which, together with its magnificent views, has made it a must-visit in the Nueva Andalucía area.
This is the fifth year of El Gran Gatsby, located in the best part of Puerto Banús. It has a spectacular terrace, where you can view the African coastline and Gibraltar, enjoying some of the best Mediterranean cuisine on the Costa del Sol.
During the summer months it is common to meet up with all kinds of celebrities who find that this is the ideal place for both its discretion and its magnificent gastronomy, overseen by Nando Jubany (from the Michelin-star Can Jubany), a well-known proponent of traditional cuisine using natural local ingredients and products.