José

££££
Tapas, Spanish

Bookings not required

Reservations are not required at José.

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About José

SquareMeal Review

Silver Award

José Pizarro began his London career working for Spanish food importer Brindisa before launching his Bermondsey flagship Pizarro, then this little tapas bar down the road. So it’s no surprise that London’s best-known Spanish chef also knows his produce: the hams, cheeses and everything else here are exemplary. There isn’t a great deal of space and it’s standing room only much of the time, but that doesn't stop the tiniest of preparation areas (‘kitchen’ may be too grand a word) from turning out “amazing” croquetas, grills and assemblies. Beyond the patatas bravas, tortilla and Padrón peppers, we’re very partial to the cured tuna with almonds, baby chicken with potatoes and romesco sauce, chorizo al vino and figs with sheep’s cheese and honey dressing. A few little plates and a glass of wine or sherry is sufficient to set most people off in a good mood for the rest of the evening. It’s perennially packed, but the accommodating staff are as expert at dealing with crowds in confined spaces as Spanish bus conductors.

Good to know about José

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Tapas, Spanish
Ambience
Buzzy, Fun
People
Dates
Food Occasions
Afternoon eating
Other Features
Counter dining

Location for José

104 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UB

Opening Times of José

Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -5.30pm)

Reviews of José

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7 Reviews
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Ms/Mrs. Ingrid S

Jose
25 September 2013
It’s fitting that this bijoux tapas bar comes under this particular page heading because here we sampled some of the nicest nibbles we’ve had in a long while. It started well when we were handed a glass each of their recommended clear sherry – and we’re kicking ourselves because we failed to get the name. It needs to be said that we’re not big sherry drinkers – or so we thought. Banish your thoughts of dusty dowagers, this stuff was delicious, tasting more like a perfectly dry, yet aromatic Sauvignon Blanc than Grandma’s favourite tipple. As for the food, we didn’t have much say in the matter and we were thrilled to bits, we love being fed. In no specific order, we demolished jamón ibérico, Padron peppers, chorizo, croquetas and calamari. But the highlight had to be the ultra-simply-put ‘bread and tomato’. More crostini in style than the sliced white and discarded fry-up variety, the bread was squeaky-fresh with crunch and the tomatoes oozing with – well, tomato, and garlic and just the right amount of extra virgin olive oil that was good enough to want to taste. This is our kind of food.
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Ms/Mrs. Mittal S

While away hours in here
07 April 2013
I'll keep it simple, as that's what Jose has accomplished here. Delicious tapas treats, all the usual suspects and more. Fabulous wines by the glass, carafe or bottle. Happy smiley staff. A small yet lively taverna atmosphere where you will happily while away hours. What's not to like. I only wish it was slightly bigger to fit my enormous buggy, so us local mothers could swap coffees for a carafe of fine Rioja!
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Ms/Mrs. TheHungryBea T

29 August 2012
What does Tapas mean to you or to anyone? Small plates of food served with a drink? It’s not just the food. Obviously the food is good. For me, it’s the food and everything else that goes with. If you have been to Spain, You will tend to notice, how the Spaniard just sit around with vin and cervecas and their tapas, chatting away with no worries of everything that’s happening around them. I always been a great lover of cultures who sits down and spends time to enjoy the food and the company they are with. It saddens me something that we do not have this culture in London. Even in Asia, even how very over productive they are, time is essential for making money. They still take time to have their lunches. A proper lunch at most time with friends or even just on their own. In London, having an hour break seems a sort of guilty pleasure that you’re forbidden to enjoy. I was once, one of the Londoners, who have sandwich in the office not willing to sacrifice lunch time. Things changed, when I realise quality of life makes you a better worker. Today, I was with a couple of friends in the Cheese at Leadenhall. Had a cheese platter over some wine. I will consider that a tapas session. Small portion of food, wine and great company. I thoroughly enjoyed today. We three have never sat together for so long, as we are busy with our own lives. But we see each other everyday. But never sat down to have chat,I wish we do this often. Have you notice how people are more themselves outside work? I think the Spanish got it right. Go out, have a drink, have a tapas, relax and enjoy what is more important. As I very much realise, I am derailing from the topic here. I want to introduce, one of my favourite tapas places in London. The food is good, but what I like about it is, it feels I just stepped into a tapas place in Spain. No reservation says Jose. Yeap, Jose’s tapas bar. This little tapas place in Bermondsey brings me back to times good times in Spain. Wine barrels as table tops, simple tapas dishes, and all good Spanish wine by the glass. I went to Jose yesterday, had a few tapas and drinks over long chats on a summer’s day (in London). It was perfect. Simple Spanish food and culture. A good way to experience Spain in London. I highly recommend Jose for exactly what I said. SIMPLE SPANISH CULTURE!!!
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Mr. Chris S

23 November 2011
Been eating and drinking in here since it first opened, and have no fault with the food, drink and general service. Today, however was an eye-opener – had an irate, reactionary customer run after me – after I brushed passed him (impossible not to in a space so small) thinking I'd taken his wallet from his back pocket (when he'd put it elsewhere) No defence from the staff, whatsoever. Stuff like this leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. So, to end – great food, great drink, but be careful not to brush past anyone, lest you be treated like a criminal.
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Ms/Mrs. Victoria B

11 October 2011
Sherry. Ham. Hours of pleasure. You can't go wrong here. Absolutely Brilliant.
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Ms/Mrs. Sunny D

16 August 2011
Small, cute and really not meant to be spending long time eating! We had a lunch there but although food was nice and pleasant…chairs were uncomfortable! We had lunch in shorter time than what we intended and went for coffee next door…we prefer Barrafina! Sorry!
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Mr. Rich M

11 June 2011
We'd finally hit summer. Friday night spent lolling outside the pub and a perky Saturday of sun and fun with walks wearing shirt and no jumper. A continental day ended appropriately with a hoped for but unscheduled aperitif stop in Bermondsey tapas joint du jour Jose. Owned eponymously by Jose ‘Brindisa’ Pizarro and garrulous business partner front of house expert Herve, it's finishing the job that neighbour (and final dinner destination) Zucca kick started and making Bermondsey, Street at least, a real foodie destination. I have a slight problem with tapas restaurants out of their native environments, and it's that you can't crawl. The joy of tapas for me comes with a gleeful bowl around the neighbourhood and a bite and a glass in each joint. Moderation, exercise and a pub crawl in one. With a little help from Herve, we may have cracked it. Prior to dinner and after a long warm walk, I was ready for a glass of something dry and crisp and cold. I steered us into Jose, keen to have a gander. The white tiled space focussed around the marble slab bar feels uncharacteristically out of place in South London, the heat emanating from it even more so. A combination of the small room, a large stove surrounded by Jose and his brigade, no air con and a sunny day meant I nearly lost the others at the first hurdle. The place was packed, no more than 25 in there, but it's enough not to want to be there when it's busier. No reservations means that like Spuntino you're going to have to come early, or be prepared to wait. As Herve explained, they're not aiming for the (London) bridge and tunnel crowd but hoping to add something to a great little local scene prior to opening larger restaurant Pizarro later in the year. I sucked down deliciously dry sherry while we gorged, an early doors licensing quirk meant no booze without food, on a couple of the delicious tapa from behind the counter. We grabbed a couple of plates judging they would suffice as starters. Sea fresh boquerones, juicy white anchovies, came in a light and sweet seasoned cava vinegar, Murcian speciality pisto, a simple full flavoured Spanish version of ratatouille, came with a perfectly fried duck's egg. Giant yolk flecked with salt looming over the the plate reminding us of the late spring sun. Despite the specials board (cruelly featuring crab and basil croquettes the next day) you'd struggle to make a full meal out of the place, but that's partly the point. Grab a couple of plates, and move on. We admitted to Herve that we were going on to Zucca for our mains; “there you go then! There's your tapas crawl.. start here, mains at Zucca and then on to Village East for a cocktail or dessert.” Tapas crawl, Bermondsey style.
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