Pizarro 22

194 Bermondsey Street , London, SE1 3TQ

020 7378 9455

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SquareMeal Review of Pizarro

Squaremeal London Hot 100 2016This is the smarter of José Pizarro’s two Bermondsey eateries, and the only proper sit-down option – although we recommend perching at the kitchen counter and enjoying some “great theatre” if you can. This is a good-looking place, contemporary without being achingly fashionable, and it attracts a local crowd to match. The ingredients are always top quality and handled with expertise by the kitchen team: meltingly soft chicken livers on sourdough are “a must-try”; grilled baby gem lettuce is paired with blue cheese, piquillo peppers and caramelised walnuts; Cornish hake might be grilled on the plancha and served with sautéed potatoes. To finish, expect inventive desserts ranging from a strawberry soup with basil and lime granita to cream-cheese ice cream with blackcurrant and chamomile syrup. The wine list is among London’s best for good Spanish producers and emerging regions. There’s a newer branch in the City, but fans tend to favour this “truly remarkable” original.


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7.7

Food & Drink: 8.2

Service: 7.8

Atmosphere: 7.3

Value: 7.6

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Shelley M. 26 May 2016

You MUST try the chicken livers - sweet, meltingly soft livers on a slice of sourdough that mops up the delicate juices. Got to be done - time and time again if I could. Staff friendly, relaxed and attentive with great theatre if sitting at the cooking-bar.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Andrea B. 04 December 2015

We loved the cosy interiors, lighting concept and of course the main reason for checking in: food and wine! Truly remarkable. Lovely Christmas inspired chocolate cake desert. However some deduction of stars due to the atmosphere and service being affected by friendly but awfully rushing staff who remind you at all times you only have so much of your 2 hour slot left and that they are overbooked. Makes it harder to relax and enjoy even 2 hours were plenty for us for 3 courses. Even worse they don't hesitate cleaning up the table before you might have finished. We counted four times asking to keep tapas. The olives were removed anyways and we ended up leaving the last pits on the blank table as there were no more plates. Really? Make it very clear you intend to indulge in what you pay for and you will be fine.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Alexandra S. 15 May 2015

This was my third dining experience at Pizarro over the last 2 years and I’m wishing I had come back sooner! The chef and the kitchen staff have turned it up another notch and our dishes were near perfect. The menu is small and at first sight doesn’t conform to the usual tapas formula that we have become accustomed to at usual run of the mill spanish restaurants. Instead the flavours of Spain are caught in inventive and exciting plates that can either be shared or devoured by one. The couple I particularly wished I’d had to myself were the octopus, beautifully soft and served with an exquisite sauce and a very attractive crab and prawn cannelloni roll. Then came the showstopper, and generally agreed by my party of 4, the best piece of pork we have tasted. Said pork was a shoulder from an acorn fed iberica pig, unusually served rare. The meat was sliced and served in a typical Spanish serving dish complete with potatoes and padron peppers. To say the pork was tender does not do it justice and the taste was utterly magnificent. I will be back very soon for another serving of that delicious nutty little piggy.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Shirley G. 04 February 2015

Great food, friendly staff and a good atmosphere

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Shirley G. 04 February 2015

Great food, friendly staff and a good atmosphere

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Monikasays platinum reviewer 26 November 2013

At the foot of the Shard in London Bridge, you can find London's version of Deia (gourmet heaven in the Marjorcan hills), Bermondsey Street. Not as glamorous as Deia obviously, but this once grey windy street has metamorphosed into a little foodie haven with Artisan shops. Big hitters include Zucca, Jose, Casse Croute and todays indulgence Pizzaro. This place is an offshoot of popular tapas bar Jose (ex chef from Tapas Brindisa). The advantages are it is bigger, you can book ahead (none of that lottery queuing for a table) and there is room for a pram but it is the same lip-smacking Spanish food. The feel is a relaxed wine bar vibe with a big rustic table in the middle, window seats, cosier booths and some attractive tiling, open kitchen, bare bricks and bottles of booze on show. My only gripe would be the limited menu, although sometimes having a shorter choice enables one to be a tad more daring. There is a daily changing menu with 3 of each course for a very reasonable price (£20) and then specials on the blackboard, which can add up. We did both and shared it. Get stuck in to finely battered tempura vegetables with a honey glaze, cod pil pil (creamy flaky cod in olive oil) and pulled meaty pork with buttery mash and jus. Other Spanish staples include chorizo, mackerel, sweet sherry…The service was friendly and relaxed and did not have the hoi polloi that you get in Tapas Brindisa (although this was lunchtime). I can't believe we have this rather special foodie street in this rather urban location. Next time Jose.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Mitzie8cake platinum reviewer 09 April 2013

Great and unusual wines by the glass, which we chose over the usual Rioja or Tempranillo thanks to their informative and friendly barman who took us on an oenophilic journey of Spain whilst we dug into delicious small plates featuring marinaded, roasted and ultimately flavoursome morsels. Its busy at the best of times but even though we were seated at the bar close to the entrance, we could still take in the atmosphere in full and what a buzz it is. Perfect for when Jose is packed like sardines.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 2.0

Angela E. 06 December 2012

Pizarro's reputation had me drooling , and a cold winter night spurred my expectations of warm delicious satisfying food. The no booking policy was a nuisance , as sitting at the bar , facing the oven, or in the window facing the windy street , ( the only options )meant a conversation between 3 people was not easy . The staff were busy , but welcoming . The service was good , and we had the entertainment value of watching all the dishes being plated up . My friends chose well, and were happy as they knew the menu , I started with a delicious little squid dish . My main of vegetables “ en Papillote” was a real disappointment. I had imagined delicious little morsels of wonderful vegetables , with some sort of seasoning , wrapped carefully in parchment paper . So much for my imagination . As I was sitting facing the oven I saw this sad little parcel cut open by the chef , to expose a foil envelope , with a layer of paper , and all the steam escaping . So when it arrived it was cool, soggy , and tasteless . I emptied the Aluminium envelope ( so unappetising ) and found slices of just on the hard edge of ‘al dente ‘ vegetables ; carrots , potatoes, pumpkin and maybe fennel . It was lifted by a tasty portion of salsa romesco. I admit I made the wrong choice , and did not complain ; mea culpa . So being trendy , being polar , and being busy , is not necessarily a good omen . Happy hunting and eating !

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Grumbling Gourmet platinum reviewer 08 April 2012

I dunno, you wait for London's tapas king to open one new restaurant, and two come along at almost the same time… No one was at all surprised when Jose Pizarro of Brindesa fame opened up jewel box perfect Jose on Bermondsey Street a year or so ago, there was a little more surprise when it was followed up less than a year later by bigger brother Pizarro a few doors down. If the impression is that these are a couple of places he's thrown together, then it works. Jose is a absolute favourite for post work sherry and a pincho from the authentic little bar cum kitchen in the tiny space. I remember taking a Madrileno friend prior to dinner at nearby Zucca and after a swift but heated argument with the bartender on the best sherry on the menu and two plates of their heavenly croqueta, he happily declared it the equal of anywhere in Madrid. Pizarro is a different level to the bustle of Jose. It's a significant step up in size for one, and though there's window seating and bar service, the majority of the covers occupy dark, masculine furniture evocative of a high end wine shop. We took a seat at the marble bar and eyed up the short menu. While everything is available for sharing as you'd expect from the tapas king, there's a slightly more ordered approach here, with the menu broken up into small and large plates. We went for two of each, which arrived in that order, much in the manner of a starter and a main course… As well as some of the divine jamon croquetas, we went with razor clams to start. Served in their shells with lashings of garlicky butter and sticky nuggets of chorizo to contrast with the soft flesh of the shellfish, they were perfectly well cooked if not quite to my taste, I traded the last one for another go on the croquetas, an outcome that suited both parties. Of the mains, we shared a slightly one dimensional if well conceived dish of roasted root vegetables and curdy but bland goats cheese. The other shared ‘main’ was as lovely a lump of roasted lamb as I've had in some time, soused in good oil and dotted with olives, insanely tasty little flavour bombs when crisped in the hot oven. It wasn't as busy as I was expecting, possibly less surprising as it was a mid week lunch later in service. In itself not a problem, though it did deaden the mood slightly. I'd definitely recommend an evening table shared with friends. You can go through most of the menu between 4 or 5 of you and with the help of an exceptionally well chosen wine list and the knowledgable, friendly staff have a very acceptable night out.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

gmbklm gold reviewer 05 February 2012

In contrast to the stagnant D&D dominated restaurant scene in Shad Thames, its great to see the buzz of new Bars and restaurants around the London Bridge / Bermondsey St area. Pizarro has replaced the uninspiring Bermondsey Kitchen, which we only visited once and didn't return to. Having enjoyed Jose tapas a few times (when relatively quiet off peak), we thought we'd pop into Pizarro for a long Saturday lunch. Since we strolled up at midday, there was no wait for a table. They have a no bookings policy, which I don't like. If, like The Hope & Anchor at The Cut, Pizarro becomes too popular, we simply won't try to eat there at any popular eating hour. It became surprisingly busy soon after we sat down, and quickly had a good buzzy atmosphere. Together with wood furniture, warm decor and friendly staff, Pizarro has a nice cozy feel, as another reviewer has commented. Staff could be a bit better organised, but some were charming. There was a small but sufficient choice of circa 6 starters and 6 mains. We had a wonderfully tasty and light lambs tongue, and a delicious artichoke salad starter. We then went for a 3rd starter, a very tasty quail. Our appetisers were followed by 2 very good mains, a tasty and nicely cooked patridge and a Hake. We really enjoyed the simplicity and lightness of the cooking. Everything was flavoursome and tasty, but not at all oily, fatty or heavy. Like Jose, an all Spanish wine & sherry list, with a very good selection by the glass or carafe (1/3 bottle). We had a good rioja with our mains, followed by a lovely rich sherry with dessert. At roughly £55 for 2 for 2 courses, extremely good value – so I guess everyone will just have to queue to enjoy it ! A great addition to SE1. We wish them well.

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