Thursday 25 August 2011

José, Bermondsey Street

José, a tapas bar on Bermondsey Street, is quickly to becoming my favourite place. I first visited with my parents on a hot, sticky Monday. We dashed in just before 7pm and still didn't manage to secure a seat but happily perched at the bar that evening, sweat pouring down our brows.

This vaguely uncomfortable way of dining is tolerated not only for the lively and bustling atmosphere, but for the food. Incredible in simplicity but by being so goddamn tasty. Visiting again last week, I was able to try more dishes and reaffirm the dishes that I will now day-dream about.

Ham croquettes were crisp on the outside, gorgeously creamy and studded with flesh within. I just don't understand how they make them; melting in the mouth and just the right shade of richness.

Jamon Iberico is sliced by hand and the creamy, gorgeous fat makes me salivate just thinking about it. I recently sat next to someone at a dinner who proudly exclaimed 'I even cut the fat off Parma ham!' which has now made me pity her even more than I did on the night. This was so good that the four of us ordered three plates of this over the course of our visit.

Pan con tomate (background) is often a disappointment to me as the tomato makes the bread a bit gross and soggy, but for some reason José's version just works. I'm fairly certain it's the liberal amount of garlic the bread is rubbed with.

THE PRAWNS. The chilli garlic prawns are perhaps the best I've eaten. Cooked to perfection and amazingly sweet.

Another addictive plate was the peas with poached egg, chorizo and migas (croutons). Egg yolk spilled out, making a sauce for the fresh, just-done peas.

The 'are you sure?' plate comes in the form of Pluma Iberica - rare grilled pork. My mum's eyes widened as the plate was set down. Understandable really, since many of us have been conditioned to think that pork must be cooked through, but this stuff is different. Of a far higher quality than normal pork, it tastes almost beefy, but with the tastiness of pork fat.

It's not all breathtakingly spectacular. Though the patatas with our bravas were cooked to crispy perfection, the tomato sauce could have had a touch more kick.

Similarly, the aioli served with the hake could have done with much, much more garlic. I like my aioli almost spicy with the stuff, but in this I failed to notice it at all.

Washed down with a bottle of Manzanilla sherry, I fell in love with the place. It would be amazing if there were a couple more tapas bars of the same ilk nearby so that you could do that proper tapas thing of going place to place, a little bite in each, but until London is ready for that, you'll find me throwing back the sherry and munching on jamon at José.


104 Bermondsey Street,
London, SE1 3UB

They do not take bookings.

José on Urbanspoon


Dan said...

Love José. The peas with poached egg dish was the one thing I didn't try that I really fancied. Look's so simple but awesome. Absolutely top notch place that completely deserves all the praise that's been heaped on it.

Unknown said...

MMM, looks very nice, bit like Barafina? Good review, this place seems to be getting lots of press.

Re: aioli it’s like Fergus Henderson says – it’s supposed to be emotional and ridiculously strong! That’s the point! Underpowered ones are the height of wackness.

Anonymous said...

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AussieFoodie said...

Hi - have been reading for a while but this is my first comment. The egg and pea dish looks amazing and is now on my must try list.

Another good tapas locally is Meson Don Felipe - same sort of popularity but tey do take bookings. Its almost opposite Southwark Tube on The Cut.

Greedy Diva said...

I still haven't been and it's at the top of this list - looks like the perfect antedote to my Madrid withdrawal symptoms.

roym said...

Wow, i remember the naff sandwich bar that preceded this.

Looks like it matches the high standards set by morito

PDH said...

I cannot wait to try this place! Saw on the tweets tho that they are out of the Pluma for the season...

Anonymous said...

I went to Jose a couple of months ago and loved it too.
We had the pork which we thought was spectacular too. we decided the go for dishes were the specials on the board. We had razor clams with chorizo.mmmm
We also had the croquettes, i'm not a fan but the over half loves them so we did a swap on razor clams v croquettes. Wish i had tried the peas with egg, right up my street.

Samantha said...

Wow those garlic prawns look incredible, it's nearly lunchtime...I think I may have to go and find a tapas bar!!!


mycookinghut said...

I haven't had a chance to try it out yet! Not too far from where I live, need to go there one day!

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