In a roomier space than José Piizarro's original restaurant up the street, mostly traditional Spanish dishes prepared with immense care and skill.
José Pizarro’s restaurant continues in the style set in his tapas bar, José, up the street, but in a much more roomy and therefore less hectic space, though it also fills up on weekend evenings. Menus are more extensive than at the tapas-only José, though you won’t find the sort of intricate cooking that has made some Spanish chefs world-famous, but rather a selection of mostly traditional dishes prepared with immense care and skill, and the finest ingredients available; in this way, Pizarro is a master in bringing the familiar alive. A flawless gazpacho from a good-value lunch menu, for example, was delectably smooth and without a hint of excess acidity. Catalan-style cannelloni with spinach and pine nuts was ideal Mediterranean comfort food; it’s hard to rave about spinach, but this was an exceptional dish, with darts of sweetness from supreme-quality raisins. An expertly slow-braised beef stew was an exemplar of multi-layered flavour. New for 2013 is the Sunday breakfast menu, served until early afternoon. The space artfully combines old-Spanish touches – tiles, warm wood, exposed brick – with a stripped-down New Bermondsey look, with snug booths for relaxed eating and bar-style seating facing the street. Abundant friendly staff work hard to keep the buzzy atmosphere going. Wines are as well-chosen as the produce, and very decently priced.