Jose Pizarro owns two restaurants on Bermondsey Street near London Bridge; Jose and Pizarro. The former is a small and delightful tapas and sherry bar, the latter which is where we ended up for a weeknight dinner, is more of a sit down affair which serves larger dishes.
They don’t take reservations but after a small wait in the bar area a table became available near the open plan kitchen. It’s a lovely dining room; the delicious aromas from the kitchen filled the air and the atmosphere was really buzzy. It was like being in the heart of Soho.
Some olives and bread with olive oil was served whilst we looked through the small and concise menu. The bread was spongy and the perfect tool for soaking up the delicious oil that had been sprinkled with salt. Could have done with a bigger pot of it though as we had to keep asking for it to be replenished.
To start we decided to share the scallops and jerusalem artichoke with squid ink (£10) and a plate of hand sliced jamon (£20). The scallops were juicy beggars and the artichokes had an almost roast potato texture which was delicious. Twenty quid seemed a bit steep for the jamon – it’s just a plate of pork right? Wrong! The flavour was seriously intense; my God did it was utterly phenomenal.
For main, the lamb chops, apple compote and baby potatoes (£18.50) could have done with a touch of colour as it looked a little…brown. The flavour however was spot on and totally satisfying. Although the lamb fat wasn’t crispy it was cooked perfectly and cut like butter – lamb fat is one of my favourite things. What a fatty!
The glazed beef cheeks with sweet potato puree (£16.50) were masterfully tender. Each mouthful provided sweetness and richness from the red wine glaze – it was the perfect blend of flavours.
For dessert I went for our waiter’s suggestion; torrijas, pear sorbet, goats cheese foam and nuts (£6). The torrijas was like a Spanish eggy bread which was sensational. The foam was surprisingly packed full of goats cheese flavour – impressive really because when does a foam ever taste of what it says it does? Here it cut through the sweetness of everything wondrously. It was a superb dessert.
I’ve had many a meal at Pizarro and it’s always consistently good. I always find myself getting caught up in the lively buzz of it all and ordering far too many bottles of wine – but it really is worth the hangover the next day. It’s a touch of Spain on Bermondsey Street and I love it.