For two people who have a shared brunch wishlist at least thirty restaurants strong, my best friend and I can take an astonishingly long time to choose where to eat. It took an hour’s debate to land on Jose in Bermondsey for a midday lunch post yoga (her) and chore morning (me) one sunny Saturday.
Jose is the first of chef Jose Pizarro’s three outposts of excellent Spanish food, set up on a cosy space on the corner of Bermondsey Street under the watch of The Shard. I’d been keen to try it out for a long time, and at Alli’s suggestion (likely to prevent her from having to travel no more than two minutes from her yoga class) I jumped at the chance to finally go.
Keen as ever, I was the first person there when they opened the doors at 12pm, quickly parked myself at the end of the window bar, catching the spring sun that poured through the floor to ceiling glass and ordered a bottle of their blanc de blanc (£36 a bottle). A regular prosecco drinker, it was a good change to have something a little drier and the blanc de blanc was an solid choice. Later in the day we would try the English sparkling Nyetimber down the road, and both agreed it’s one of the best sparkling wines we’ve tried. But back to Jose.
Of course, being tapas, sharing plates is the go to here, so we ordered a selection to start with including croquetas (£6.50), mixed cheeses (£12), pan con tomate (£3.50) and the inevitable cuts of cured meat: jamon iberico (£13) and cecina (£8), which came topped with bright red pearls of pomegranate seeds and turned out to be a brilliant addition. We drank our wine and on ordering another bottle topped up our order with tuna skewers (£10), chorizo peas (£7.50) and sukalki (£8), a beef ragu that felt more like an English stew than traditionally Spanish but well done nonetheless. The croquetas deserve a particular shout out, perfectly golden and filled with cheese and small chunks of ham, as does the chorizo peas topped with the perfect fried egg, which we were instructed to mash up all together before enjoying. It never occurred to me that three simple ingredients could taste quite that good together.
The thing about picking slowly at small plates with good wine and your best friend – aside from it being one of the best ways to spend a few hours – is how you become so full quicker than you expected. Full of good food, cold fizz and long conversation. Too full to order dessert, and I’ve heard very good things about their chocolate with sea salt and olive oil. Then again, that plus their ever changing menu is the perfect excuse to go back.
104 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UB
Open: Mondays thru Saturdays from 12pm, last orders at 22.15; Sundays from 12pm with last orders at 17.15.