Modern Spanish tapas bar & restaurant transforms into vibrant late night music & party venue
January 13th, 2014
As Hong Kong diners embrace Spanish restaurants and tapas bars with undiminished gusto, new openings continually add both variety and vitality to the sector. One of the recent openings (October 2013)- Zafran- occupies an expansive basement space- conveniently located down a few steps- in the heart of the burgeoning Wyndham Street nightlife strip. Zafran differentiates itself from the abundance of local tapas bars by deftly transforming its persona from a classic tapas bar and restaurant during the day and early evening, into a vibrant late night drinks and DJ lounge venue. In addition to serving lunch and dinner, Zafran nightly introduces music after 9:30 pm, with DJs playing increasingly upbeat tunes late into the night. Targeting young city professionals for after-work cocktails, sociable tapas style dining, and as a late night party destination, Zafran has carved out a successful niche among the plethora of dining and drinking options in the neighbourhood. Unsurprisingly- as Zafran is the latest concept from the highly respected- and successful Aqua restaurant group- who operate other such notable Hong Kong nightlife and dining fixtures as aquaspirit, Armani/Prive, Armani/Aqua, and Tivo.
The subterranean space has been designed to encompass three main sections- a tapas lounge & bar adjacent to the kitchen – the long cocktail bar (which mirrors the kitchen tapas counter)- and the main dining room and DJ Lounge. Taking inspiration from both underground New York clubs and late night Barcelona haunts, the decor features a darkly handsome palette of unfinished timber wall panelling & floor boards, exposed brick and whitewashed brick walls, plush brown leather armchairs and banquettes, and semi-circular leather booth settings. With dimmed lighting provided by the custom retro light fittings, and its secluded entrance, Zafran channels the vibe of a New York style underground club. The various sections offer guests options for dining and drinking- with counter seats at both cocktail bar and tapas kitchen, and a variety of table settings for informal, relaxed dining- albeit with an atmosphere of laid-back sophistication.
The culinary direction of Zafran, under Spanish chef Marc Lores Panades, artfully combines his modern interpretation of classic Spanish tapas dishes, together with classic Catalan tapas dishes. The thoughtfully assembled menu features concise listings of both “Classic Tapas”, and “Zafran Tapas”. Among the Classic Tapas dishes are traditional items such as acorn-fed, aged Iberico hams; Galician Padron peppers with sea slat; Zafran homemade chorizo; and Gamabas ajillo. Exemplifying the creative, modern cuisine are dishes like the Pisto Couscous- with Spanish ratatouille wrapped in zucchini and served with a cauliflower cous-cous; Zafran’s signature 24 hour boneless oxtail; and Cod with txangurro and cuttle fish tagliatelle.
Complementing the tapas cuisine, Zafran offers a large selection of Spanish cava, sangrias, and wines, while the well-stocked bar serves up Estrella Damm beer on-tap, together with an enticing list of well-crafted signature cocktails.
Zafran opens Monday to Saturdays, serving lunch, dinner and late night tapas. Nightly, DJs play from around 9:30pm- with monthly Spanish Boogie nights featuring special appearances by guest DJs. In addition to the three main dining and drinking sections, Zafran also offers a private dining room that seats up to 20 diners. Bookings for the booth tables in the main dining room / DJ Lounge are recommended most nights- and upcoming promotions, guest chef events etc. are listed on the Zafran Facebook Page.
Accessed down a series of steps from Wyndham Street- the distinctive “garden” facade, oak wine barrels, and candle-lit lamps mark the “underground” entrance to Zafran.
Zafran tapas bar & lounge
The open kitchen is fronted by a long bar counter allowing diners to interact with the Zafran chefs- in classic tapas bar fashion.
The spacious tapas lounge area- with its unfinished timber wall panelling and flooring, and dark timber furniture- exudes a relaxed, laid-back sophistication. The open kitchen connects through the opening in the back wall.
Custom designed light fittings add a stylish statement to the decor of the tapas lounge. A long leather banquette extends across one side of the room.
Zafran cocktail bar & dining room / DJ lounge
Spanning the full length of the bar area, the cocktail bar stands in a long, narrow space that separates the two main sections of Zafran- the tapas bar & lounge to one side- and the main dining room/DJ Lounge on the other. The cocktail bar seats 12 guests at the black marble-topped counter. Unfinished timber flooring, raw brickwork and retro light fixtures exemplify the “underground” vibe of Zafran.
In the main dining room / DJ Lounge- a series of semi-circular, plush leather booths span one side of the room. Other dining tables are generously spaced across the floor.
Later in the evenings, the dining room transforms into a DJ Lounge, with resident DJs playing upbeat tunes late into the night. The cocktail bar can be seen through the wall opening in the background.
Zafran cocktails & tapas
Old Spanish-Dark rum, mint, lime, sugar, topped with Cava.
The Drunken Beauty– Bacardi white, Bacardi gold, lime, pineapple, rosellee, egg white.
Salt cod brandada- cauliflower cake & ikura.
Pisto couscous- Spanish ratatouille wrapped in zucchini with cauliflower couscous.
Gambas ajillo- garlic chilli prawns.
Secreto iberico- with chickpea puree & confit piquilla pepper.
Zafran Tapas Menu
Zafran- tapas bar & Spanish restaurant – Hong Kong
Address: Basement, 43 – 55 Wyndham Street, Central. Hong Kong
MTR: Central station – Exit D- 5 minutes walk
Reservations: +852. 2116 8855
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/ZafranHK
Monday to Saturday – Lunch, dinner & late night drinks 12:00 pm ~3:00 pm and 6:00 pm ~ late
Sunday- Dinner and drinks 6:00 pm onwards