104 Bermondsey Street, London, England, SE1 3UB, United Kingdom

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Jose is the creation of Jose Pizarro, formerly the chef and co-founder of well-established tapas bar Brindisa, which in itself has now spawned a mini-chain of establishments. Jose is a tiny tapas bar in Bermondsey, and late in 2011 a slightly bigger (50 seat) sister restaurant opened nearby, called Pizarro.

Jose is very much a tapas bar rather than a sit-down restaurant, and indeed I didn’t get to sit down at all there. They take no reservations, and despite arriving at 6:30 p.m. all we could do was squeeze into a narrow gap between the bar and the window and eat our food from the ledge. Even at this early hour on a weekday I counted 34 customers packed into a space that could comfortably deal with, oh, about a dozen. Those seats that exist are mostly stools at the bar, so this is not a place to linger. There was a short selection of sherries and wine available, with some well-chosen Spanish wines.

I enjoyed the padron peppers, which were a mix of mild and quite spicy (12/20). Boquerones (£4) were simple but pleasant (12/20). A slice of tortilla (£4) was well made, with good texture (13/20).  I also liked the patatas bravas, with an aioli and a spicy tomato sauce (13/20). The least good dish was grilled prawns, which were a little overcooked (11/20), but slices of Iberico pork fillet were properly cooked, served with some slices of red pepper (12/20).

The bill came to £35 a head with a glass of wine each, which is not unreasonable but also not exactly a bargain given that we didn’t even get a seat. Staff were friendly and skilled at manoeuvring in the restricted space.  jose has nice food but is not somewhere for a leisurely, relaxing evening. Sorry about the murky photos but that is a reflection of the equally murky lighting.


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User comments

  • Rob Wilson

    Jose's is very small and to be honest I'd agree with the sentiment that they probably pack em too tightly, but the food is really good! I'd say a significant level above Brindisa, it's closest rival, based purely on the flavour/quality of the jamon iberico. Also if you don't like standing while eating, something none of should, I'd recommend their sister restaurant Pizzaro's which is just down the road. I've been there twice with my wife and food is great plus you can always get a table (early in the evening). Best dish we had last time was a special and at £4 an absolute bargain - Peppers stuffed with Baccalao, dream dish.