Shop D, 58-64 Paterson Street, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay HK
+852 2341 0380
If there is one thing that people can agree on, it’s that tapas are universally fun to share. What started off as an appetiser or snack in Spain, even served free from many street-side eateries, has evolved into a wildly popular food trend taken up by top chefs around the world. While it’s easy to command top prices with high-end tapas these days, elBorn aims to keep the original spirit of tapas alive – serving up accessible and affordable eats in a casual, frills-free space.
The spin-off restaurant from Mesa 15 – a Michelin-recommended Spanish restaurant for three years in a row – elBorn opened in 2015 on what has now become a bustling foodie street in Causeway Bay. Touting traditional Spanish cooking and top-notch tapas, elBorn trades in status for comfort, aiming to be a fuss-free neighbourhood favourite that you can visit more than once a week without dinner costing an arm and a leg.
The strategy has paid off. The restaurant is filled most nights with a steady crowd of locals and expats seeking out the comforts of crispy croquettes, Iberico ham and paella in a cosy bistro setting. With a rotating tapas list and an affordable all-Spanish wine list, the experience at elBorn is straight off the streets of Barcelona, offering guests a taste of Spain without having to travel thousands of miles for it.
In the kitchen, industry veteran, Joevanie Esteban, executes a menu that ebbs and flows with the seasons, while also using the best of imported Spanish ingredients – from jamon to cheese and cold cuts. elBorn is not out to reinvent the tapas wheel, it delivers the classics with authentic ingredients and admirable execution.
Start your journey with grilled honey-glazed chorizo, the spicy pork sausage tempered by the sweetness of honey; or the sautéed prawns, succulent and tender in a medley of chopped garlic, chilli and parsley. Move on to the 63-degree slow-cooked ‘broken’ egg, boasting a golden yellow yolk which oozes over hand cut potato crisps, followed by sautéed New Zealand diamond clams with Iberico pancetta, garlic, chilli, green onion and a splash of sherry.
For meat lovers, the signature 12-hour confit crispy suckling pig, with its fork-tender meat and satisfying crispy crackling, the dish stands up to the best around town. For something more unconventional, the grilled slow-cooked ox tongue is an unexpected treat. It comes two to a skewer with a side of chilli dip that’s been zapped through with chipotle peppers.
Inside elBorn, the vibe is cosy and convivial, with exposed brick walls and brown leather chairs dotted around marble tabletops. On warm nights, however, it’s best to claim a seat on the patio out front, a prime spot for people watching and genial conversation under a thatched ceiling crossed with fairy lights. In this setting, it’s easy to find camaraderie over tables weighed down with tapas and jugs of sangria, a true celebration of the Spanish cuisine the way it was always meant to be enjoyed.