Walking down Bermondsey Street, hands full after hitting Borough Market, we were desperately hungry and a little bit beaten, just a little. I read a lot about chef Jose Pizarro, been following him from Brindisa days, happy that he got his own place to share his magic with us, the rest.
When I saw the corner restaurant, I knew we were in for a good treat. It was tiny like the ones that I liked to hang out in Madrid, in the old city. The place was welcoming, rumbling, packed. Just as I imagined. Just as a tapas bar should be. We squish in the middle changing to a corner very soon, and started ordering.
Padron peppers I said, without thinking, ordering them before the sherry, before I took off my coat.
From the black board he said, I left the leaflet menu, soon to be drooling on the daily menu written on the black board. They had spicy squid with black olives and allioli, the razor clams on that day, feeling lucky, being naive and unaware from what is going to happen in the next couple of hours.
We ordered among others Manzanilla olives, Jamon Iberico Manuel Maldonado, Patata bravas, tomato bread, prawn with chili and garlic, mackerel with jamon, escabeche, baby chicken, potato Romanesco sauce… That allioli must be one of the best ones I have tasted in my humble f&b life. How about the balance of the spices and ingredients used! Blew my mind!
After the lightning hit with the chorizo and mint sautéed razor clams, slurping the jus and all the goodness left after the chewy tasty muscles, just before… just before… Then my world had been introduced with the silky taste of the Iberico pork, cooked perfectly medium raw, finished with a touch of smoked Spanish peppers and drizzled just tiny bit olive oil, I was held back with the taste, the taste I have been missing all these years. I was lacking words, not knowing how to describe the taste. Pure, incomparable, silky, flavorsome, clean. Finished.
We ate %97.324 of the black board menu. Drank decent sherry – my fave was Palo Cortado, Apóstoles, Gonzáles Byass – came with the great recommendation by the great staff, watched people getting drunk over bottles of wine followed by the sweet embracing warmth, the buzz, the food, the place, all of it.
As if it is not enough, the feast, I had the best coffee in 12 years of my London history, all these coffee shops faded in my memory, I had found that perfect espresso I have been looking for all my life. Seriously! I just want a flat across the place! You know my coffee obsession, I do!
José Pizarro’s food is humble, it takes you to back to your roots where the food is genuine, delicious, simple and uncomplicated. And I want more!
104 Bermondsey Street SW1 3UB London, where else…