Winter is totally the time for hibernation, and I have to admit it’s taken me a while to accept this fact. Embrace the hygge, curl up in front of the fire, put on your comfy pants and chow down on a whole packet of beetroot crisps. I get it, I really do.
But now spring has arrived, and it’s time for adventure! Dates nights have now moved from that cosy sofa Pizarro last week. Younger sister of the extremely popular Jose tapas bar, famous for its authentic Spanish tapas and also on Bermondsey Street, Pizarro offers a more relaxed sit down restaurant dining experience serving up both tapas and larger dishes.
We sat amidst the beautiful rustic décor next to the open kitchen where you could see the inner workings of the place. For busy service the kitchen was calm and collected, and it would turn out with beautiful attention to detail.
Tapas is our fave, so we opted for a number of smaller plates. Bread with olive oil was served as we browsed, the olive oil had a beautiful faint bitter taste and I believe the bread had the open crumb and texture of sourdough. Perfect to snack while we chose.
We started with the Jamon Iberico acorn fed pork, thin slices of cured meat sourced from the Iberian pig. This pig lives in a unique environment in comparison to many other farmed pigs as it feeds on acorns traditionally in the Dehesa region of Spain. The acorns give the pigs a nutrient rich diet and impart a unique flavour on the meat.
We also tried the prawn and squid croquettes encapsulated in a rich béchamel sauce, this was my favourite, so deliciously decadent.
The stand out presentation wise was the morcilla (blood sausage) and squid with squid ink was beautiful, and also delicious. I really enjoy underutilized meats, and blood sausage is such an overlooked option. A stand out dish was the octopus, pork belly crackling ontop potato revolcona with paprika. The octopus was so meaty and tender, I was totally surprised!
We also opted for salty padron peppers and smooth olives which were a welcome plant based option on the menu, as was the grilled asparagus with a tomato peanut sauce (a combo I’ve never tried before!). The restaurant is very on the rich meaty side, however these vegetarian options we equally as delicious.
We did ask the team about meat sourcing and they said:
“Our presa (pork) is from Cinco Jotas as is our Jamon, so Spanish. The rest of the meat is O’Shea’s butchers, fish/seafood mostly we get it from Wright Brothers and it’s from UK, although we get some produce from Spain too.”
Oh I nearly forgot, one of the most amazing thing about a Spanish restaurant….the Spanish wine! Oh wow, we were like kids in a candy store. In the end we chose 2 reds (2014 MaciàBatle, Crianza, Mallorca, Mantonegro, Merlot, Syrah, Cab-Sauv; 2014 Voché, Selección, Rioja, Granciano) and 2 whites(2015 Amaren, Bodegas Amaren, Rioja, Malvasia, Viura; 2013 Organistrum, Martin Códax, Rias Baixas, Albariño). All delicious in their own way, the waiting staff were great at teaming our wines with our dinner choices. A mix of rich and lighter choices.
With just a little room left we went light on dessert with a scoop of the pine nut and saffron ice cream and the blood orange sorbet. The blood orange was tangy and fresh but the ice cream blew us away. So rich and creamy but almost savoury in the greatest way with the pine nuts. Yum.
Jose Pizarro has done their sister proud, with a more relaxed environment than their bustling sister up the street but with the same authentic Spanish tastes she’s well worth a visit. Just be aware she is on the rich meaty side.
Written by Abi Aspen
Credit Photo: Paul Winch-Furness / www.paulwf.co.uk
194 BERMONDSEY STREET