Calle Ocho, Pirata Group’s latest venture, has got people buzzing about the food and is a chilled escape from the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay. Led by Chef Victor Caballé Molina, diners can expect classic tapas here, with a lot of choices on the à-la-carte menu. Using simple but fresh ingredients, the restaurant is looking to highlight the authentic flavours of Spain in Hong Kong.
Inside Calle Ocho
The restaurant is big but cosy. Vintage posters and iconic photographs of Spain line the walls. In the daytime, the eatery gets a lot of natural light. Calle Ocho also has a private room for larger gatherings and functions.
The red sangria (HK$230 for 2) is poured from a beautifully designed ceramic jug. Each sip is filled with fruity and citrusy flavours that aren’t too sweet. This is a great way to start a meal at Calle Ocho.
The tasting menu (HK$388/person) is very good value for money and can be adjusted to the number of diners. A ton of tapas hit our table at once. The large portion of blistered, salty padrón peppers (HK$80) is an earthy classic, while the pan con tomate (HK$55) is served toasty and warm. A thin spread of tomato with Ibérico ham sits atop the toasted coca bread, and while this classic tapas dish is one of my favourites, I wish there was a bit more tomato spread with a thinner piece of bread. The savoury Ibérico ham croquettes (HK$55 for 2) are delicious one-biters, deep-fried to golden brown perfection.
Also deep-fried, the patatas bravas (HK$90) are filling, with the brava sauce made of tomato paste and smoked paprika to give some subtly tart flavours. The gambas al ajillo (HK$190) consist of two glossy king prawns swimming in a pool of garlic and chilli oil. I would skip eating the bread that comes with this dish; it was too hard for my liking.
The grilled cuttlefish (HK$160) is a signature at Calle Ocho Hong Kong. It sits atop a thin spread of lemon aioli, complete with fresh lemon on the side. Cooked to perfection, this dish is filled with the flavours of the sea.
Focusing on land this time, the tender braised Wagyu beef cheek (HK$160) is served with a sweet, creamy and nutty pumpkin-coconut purée, giving me autumn feels. I’m not sure how authentic this small plate is, but it would definitely appeal to local diners, and it remains a heartier order for dinner.
The squid-ink paella (HK$280) is topped with deep-fried spicy calamari with dots of aioli. Unfortunately, our paella was unevenly cooked and a bit burnt; some parts were too crisp around the thin, fluffy layer of rice, and it was hard to stir.
The Basque burnt cheesecake (HK$95) comes with a bright yellow passion-fruit sauce. The tart passion-fruit sauce is the perfect complement to the sweet, creamy cheesecake.
Our night at cosy Calle Ocho focused on classic Spanish tapas, with a few twists along the way. The fresh ingredients are the highlights here, despite some dishes needing a tweak or two. The restaurant is spacious, but the tables are snapped up fast, so I recommend making a booking in advance or walking in for a late dinner if you’re in the area.
Where: Fashion Walk, 8 Cleveland Street, Causeway Bay
For reservations: phone 2638 8895 or book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.