Thursday, May 26, 2011
Crab croquetas and Cava at José's
I was invited to a preview of Jose Pizarro's new tapas bar José last night and having seen a selection of his recipes in Observer Food Monthly and the Times (for which it's almost worth breaching the paywall) didn't hesitate to get down there. Any excuse to eat croquetas, especially these awesome crab and basil ones which must be one of the best tapas in London. Note there isn't a single crack in them. Notice too how many of them there were left on the plate. They were wolfed down by the ravening hordes of journos and bloggers the moment they left the kitchen.
I started off drinking manzanilla sherry but switched to a vintage Cava Imperial from Gramona as soon as I realised how good it was. Quite the best Cava I've ever tasted. Ironically I ran into it again at the Berry Bros & Rudd tasting where they've just taken Gramona on though they list different cuvées. José's list normally features the 2006 Brut Nature Gran Reserva (available at Berry's for £16.95)
The rest of the list, which was devised by wine writer Tim Atkin and wine buyer Jo Ahearne is equally interesting. A great selection of sherries and some good Spanish wines - everything available by the glass.
José used to be head chef at Brindisa but has wanted to do his own thing for a while. His choice of Bermondsey which used to be pretty dodgy, might be regarded as surprising but it's fast becoming a foodie mecca. In the same street there's the much-lauded Zucca and a couple of streets away the new Maltby Street market.
PS Almost forgot - the tortillas were great too. Try the spinach and ham one if it's on.
José opens on June 1st 2011 at 104 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UB (020 7403 4902).