Jose, Pizzaro and Zucca in Bermondsey Street
So a little stroll along Bermondsey Street…well, in my case a stroll DOWN Bermondsey Street then back up again because I walked right past Jose where we were meant to be meeting. The outside of Jose is very inconspicuous (especially if you are not looking up!) and at 2.00pm it looks just like any other city sandwich bar, unless you stare. And I’m English…and far too cautious to stare;)
As a result our planned sherry and olives was just a little rushed, though it was still served beautifully with a complimentary small jar of spiced roasted broad beans, very tender olives and saltily perfect almonds. I’m glad to have seen inside the place…and my next visit to Bermondsey Street I will definitely find time for Tapas there. It’s cosy and welcoming. And yet, beautifully presented and stylish.
We had a table booked at Zucca, an Italian restaurant a little further down the road. It’s a modern and bright place, a real contrast to Jose (and that’s not meant to be a negative about either!). Service was very friendly and efficient – my companion was probably more panicked about the kitchen closing time than they were, and we were guided through suitable wines that might work with my main course order of venison spezzatino and his of squid nero.
We ordered three dishes to start with, a rather stunning carpaccio of sea bass, a zucca fritti and mozzarella which somehow was eaten before I could take a single picture! Everything was beautifully presented and the fritti really light and well flavoured.
My friend was delighted with his squid nero. It looked very dramatic, with a side helping of mash dressed with olive oil.
My venison was real comfort food, with small chunks of potato, beans and cavola nero contrasting beautifully with the tender stewed venison.
We did share a dessert of almond tart, perhaps the least successful dish we were served – the pastry was a little dry. But you know, our lunch was probably the last lunch service of the day. Really there was nothing much that you could fault with the meal or service. Our bill came to around £88, including a £38 bottle of Cerasuola.
Knowing that the eponymous owner of Jose’s had just opened his own restaurant a bit further down the road, we decided to go and check out Pizzaro’s.
The man himself was there, and although service for the day was over, they were kind enough to serve us expresso, Vino Dulce and beautifully presented ice cream with the same Pedro Ximenez sweet wine.
I really like the venue and the design of the place.
It somehow manages to combine a traditional Spanish feel with quite modern fixtures and fitting. And if you sit at the window bar there is a spectacular view out across the street to St Mary Magdelen’s, one of London’s oldest Churches. I have a copy of the menu, with choices like quail romasco, a Jerusalem artichoke soup with truffle oil and ham or manchego, jamon Iberico and ‘secreto Iberico’. Starters are between £6 and £9 and main courses between £12 and £15.
It seems obvious to me that another visit is necessary. Very soon!
104 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3UB (no reservations)
184 Bermondsey St London SE1 3TQ
020 7378 6809 (or via OpenTable)
194 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ (no reservations)