Bite-sized Summary: Perched on the edge of Barangaroo, BóRN by Tapavino offers an enticing tapas menu inspired by the eateries in El Born, Barcelona. It’s a cosy spot to enjoy a glass of sangria with friends by the water (even on a winters day), so book a Friday afternoon respite from the office and stick around for happy hour drinks to usher in the weekend.
I visited Barcelona last year and fell in love with all the little tapas bars and restaurants serving up unfussy food and great sangria unlike any I’d had before in Australia. With this new(ish) found appreciation for great tapas, I was very excited to try out BóRN by Tapavino; the third venue by the team behind Bar Tapavino and Balcón by Tapavino in the CBD.
Taking full advantage of a Friday afternoon off work, my friend and I booked a late lunch to take advantage of the happy hour, which starts at 3:30 pm on weekdays. Despite being a horribly cold and windy day (for Sydney standards anyway) we were seated in a sheltered and surprisingly cosy outdoor area.
To start, beef tartare, anchovy and cured egg mayo with black olive crumb ($22). This was one of my favourite dishes of the day. Buttery soft, delicate morsels of marinated, raw beef were light and fresh against the rich, salty anchovy mayo – a match made in heaven!
Cow’s milk cheese wrapped in jamón
I’m sure every cheese lover can understand why I booked this restaurant at lightning speed after seeing a photo of this dish on Instagram. Warm cow’s milk cheese wrapped in jamón serrano with truffled honeycomb ($20) – how amazing does that sound?! I loved the savoury/sweet flavour combination from the addition of little shards of honeycomb, which paired nicely with the salty cured meat. Unfortunately, we couldn’t taste truffle at all, which is disappointing because I can just imagine the delicious aromatic and earthy dimension it would have added.
Although “cow’s milk cheese” is very ambiguous, I had hoped that it would be a soft, mild cheese almost like a brie or camembert – completely aware that this would not be very Spanish… (Is there a Spanish cheese like brie?) Inside the jamón was a semi-soft, warm cheese, which was pale yellow in colour and had a slightly salty flavour. At the end of the day, I still would have preferred the flavour of a milder, softer cheese but that’s completely personal preference, maybe I’m just a brie addict 😛 This was good but nowhere near as amazing as I thought it would be.
Ahh churros, who doesn’t love them! Crispy on the outside, pillowy soft and warm on the inside and dipped in rich, creamy chocolate. Well, this is not THAT kind of churro, unfortunately. Manchego churros with white truffle and onion ash ($12). I thought that this tiny serving of four little churros for $12 was kind of steep even for a tapas joint. The churros themselves had a nice outer crust, with a soft center and a delicious truffle flavour, which paired nicely with the nutty manchego cheese. Pleasant, but nothing extraordinary.
For a more substantial dish, we chose the saffron rice with baby calamari and charred corn ($22). What arrived at the table was something reminiscent of a Spanish seafood paella, with more of a risotto-like mouthfeel, i.e. none of that fabulous, charred crust from the bottom of the pan. Comparison aside, this dish was unquestionably delicious; perfectly seasoned with the softest, most tender, melt-in-the-mouth calamari I’ve ever had and little bursts of sweetness from the charred corn.
Margarita (top) & Red/White Sangria (bottom)
BóRN offers an excellent happy hour with $5 house wines and tap beers, $10 margaritas, Aperol spritzes and negronis, and $8 sangria (red or white), from 3:30 pm Monday – Friday. Strong, punchy margaritas with lots of fresh lime, and a cool, fruity red sangria were the perfect accompaniments to our Spanish tapas meal. I wasn’t a fan of the white sangria, but let’s also keep in mind that I’m not a white wine kind of gal #TEAMRED.
A friendly and sophisticated tapas bar with a great atmosphere for bringing people together for some great food and an incredible selection of Spanish wines, sangria and classic cocktails. Definitely on the pricey side considering the small number of dishes we had between two people, however, we were completely satisfied – tapas has a sneaky way of doing that..
There are lots of options on the menu to choose from so I’d be very happy to return to BóRN, which is probably one of the better tapas restaurants I’ve tried in Sydney, and be sure to try the beef tartare and the saffron rice along with a glass of cool red sangria. Overall a good experience, but did it transport me back to Barcelona? Not really, however, it has piqued my interest to try their other locations…and hopefully head back to Spain someday soon to get my tapas fix.
This post is based on an independently paid visit to BóRN by Tapavino.
BóRN by Tapavino
9A/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8072 7387
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