Monday, 5 March 2012


Quick snack at Jose, the low-key yet brilliant tapas bar on Bermondsey Street.

This place is everything I love about Spain, and everything I think London needs more of. It’s quick, informal but dedicated to quality, and serious where it matters.

Manzanilla olives (£3) were speckled with sea salt flakes and wrapped by lemon peel, infusing its oil into them.

Croquetas were fantastic. £6 gets you five balls of oozing cheese and Spanish ham; fresh, hot and so moreish. They have become quite legendary and are among my favourite snacks. I’d love a bigger portion, but then again I think if they offered that, I’m not sure people would order anything else!

Fried choricitos with a sweet mix of red peppers and soft onions on a small piece of toast (yes that is what this jumble of a photo is) was another great bar snack. A bit messier than the croquetas' simplicity:

I had a small beer which immediately evoked being in Spain, moderating oneself with just the littlest of cañas before noon.

A slight gripe, as with BrewDog before it, is that it’s so popular and isn’t particularly relaxing as the waitresses jostle through standing crowds, with the ever present danger of hot, oily food landing all over you, or worse, the floor. But they manage very skilfully. I think this same success has in part led to Pizarro offering more in the way of tapas and smaller snacks.

chocolate pot with sea salt and almonds

But I really do like this place. It’s simple, stylish and upfront. You can see the whole operation, and the people watching is also pretty good. I could come here every day for a quick drink and snack after work, and London (especially West and Northwest) could do with this in every decent neighbourhood. 

Food – 9/10
Drink – 8/10
Service - 8/10
Value – 7/10
Tap water tales – 7/10 (requested prematurely, but retro bottle came pre-chilled, good sign)
Staff Hotness – 8/10 
José on Urbanspoon 
Square Meal

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