Sunday, 27 November 2011

Jose's Tapas Bar

I can’t even pretend to be subjective with this review. I have been heading to Jose’s tapas bar on Bermondsey Street since it opened its door officially to the public in June. I love it, and each time I visit, I love it a little bit more. I love the food, I love the chefs, I love the waiters and I love the décor. I just love it. But maybe I'm being too subtle, I reallly do love it. Jose’s is the brainchild of Jose Pizarro, previously of Brindisa fame. He set up shop on the corner of Bermondsey Street and Morocco Street in a building that previously housed a sandwich and coffee shop which closed tragically in 2008. In the intervening 3 years, the building remained dormant until Jose transplanted a little piece of Spain bang smack in the heart of Bermondsey.
Jose’s is tiny and no advance bookings are taken so it probably wasn’t the best location for me to choose to invite 10 + people to meet and catch up. The first thing to check out upon arriving and getting settled is the daily specials board to see what Jose’s has on offer on a particular evening.
Between our group we have a lot of food. I start with some pardon peppers – the rock salt makes the taste. They are good and it is only after their consumption that I remember I should have taken a picture. Oops. Fail. The bread with tomato is tasty and the patatas bravas are served with a tomato based sauce and alioli. I don't taste them on this occasion but they look as good as they normally taste.
The tortilla was excellent. I always think tortilla should be an easy concoction, however the number of purported Spanish restaurants that manage to mess it up makes me think that perhaps there is something special to getting it right. Jose’s gets it right and scales the dizzying heights of good tortilla.
The croquettes are too creamy for my liking, I much prefer the croquettes at Brindisa, but others in the group adore them, which in essence makes me question the tastes of my friends. But then again, they are hanging out with me, so boom boom. The chorizo iberico with bread sticks is great, and the pork from the daily specials defies description, such is the tenderness and smoky taste. They are delicate and divine.

Others in the group raved about the ham, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the pork fillet and chorizo which were the highlights of the meal.
I’ve been to Jose’s on a number of occasions since it opened, and the venue maintains its high quality in terms of food and wine, and sherry. The plates average between £4 to £8-ish.
The limited amount of space ensures that people get up close and personal but without encroaching upon personal space, though maybe that was the effects of the red wine. My favourite time visit Jose’s is any evening after work, or on a Saturday at 12, after a visit to Maltby Street for a glass of bubbles.
Bermondsey Street is now host to two of the best restaurants in London – Jose’s, and the awesome Zucca (more about in the future). Foodies are in for a treat however, with the launch of Jose Pizarro’s latest venture – a restaurant also on Bermondsey Street. It opens to the public the first weekend of December. Like Jose’s, Pizarro’s shall have a no booking facility. Unlike Jose’s however, it will be more of a restaurant type establishment for punters to enjoy having much more space. This is altogether very exciting. I look forward to visiting.
José on Urbanspoon

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