Jose is situated on Bermondsey Street (a 7 minute walk from London Bridge station) and is a sherry and tapas bar which my gentleman companion and I have always wanted to visit. We previously haven’t on account of it always being packed, or should I say bursting at the seams.
The owner, aptly named Jose Pizarro, also owns Pizarro at the other end of the street and both seem very popular.
We arrived at 12 on the dot (when they open) on a Saturday afternoon and got a seat by the window no problem. The restaurant soon filled up with push chairs and pugs which actually gave the restaurant a pleasant buzzy neighborhood vibe.
We decided to start with two glasses of sherry – after all we were in a sherry bar! The Manzanilla Classica (£4 a glass) and the Oloroso, Bodega Maes (£5 a glass) were both like dessert wines which is the main reason we love sherry. The sun was shining and we felt like we were in Spain!
We decided to start with some bread and olive oil (£2.50). We were asked if we wanted it plain or with tomato and once we saw other people’s bread heaped with with luscious tomato we quickly regretted ordering the plain. It was deliciously spongy though and the seasoned olive oil was of superb quality.
Next up was smoked beef croquetas (£6). Beautifully crunchy on the outside with a filling that was so creamy – it was a little mouthful of heaven. The smoked beef gave them a rich meaty flavour which worked perfectly.
Following the smoked beef theme we ordered slices of smoked beef (£5) drizzled with more of that lovely olive oil. The beef melted in my mouth and was faultless in quality.
Fried chorizo toast (£6) followed and was another winner. The thick slices of chorizo were meatilicious and had a slight kick of chili. The crunchy toast had been drenched in the vibrant chorizo oil – we just could have done with an extra slice of the toast that’s all. Topped with sweet peppers the flavour combinations were perfect.
The lamb chop with romesco (£8) was sadly totally disappointing. The romesco (a Spanish nut and red pepper based sauce) was delicious but couldn’t hide the fact that the lamb chop was overcooked and chewy. For me, lamb should be served pink, or at least they should ask for a preference. This chop was grey and totally unappetising. What a shame.
Luckily we finished on something delicious – prawns with chili and garlic (£8). The prawns were served in their shell alongside thick nuggets of garlic which were insanely sweet and delicious. Once the sweetness died down my tastebuds got a smack of chili which complimented the prawns perfectly. Yummy.
Service was charming and knowledgeable – it’s worth noting that service isn’t included in the bill and can’t be added using card so take cash for a tip.
The disappointing lamb chop aside, Jose provided us with a delicious lunch. I can see why it’s so popular with the locals. We can’t wait to go back!