Chef Patron Jose Pizarro's eponymous restaurant is a low key and becoming foodie retreat and an ideal setting for quality conversation over exemplary Spanish cuisine and an anything but fussy wine list.
You can't really go wrong here. Veggos are thoughtfully catered to but might miss out on what truly makes this such a sensational restaurant – Iberico pig's cheek with sweet potato and almond? Oh God yes please. Pescatarians are as well looked after as the carnos. Hake with purple broccoli, clams and St George mushrooms? We'll be back!
And compared to similar experiences (such as last week's lunch at the fabulous Opera Tavern) as well as Pizarro's own and much-lauded “Jose” tapas bar up the street, prices are almost as delicious as the actual food. Most starters cost around £6.50; most mains about £15. And speaking of comparisons, the space, pace and menu are favourable reminders of another recently reviewed Iberian mainstay, Eyre Brothers: grown up, elegant, relaxing. Maybe Eyre is a tad more refined and Pizarro a little more inventive with the cuisine.
Vino? Si. 2010 Pazo de Marinan (Godello, Treixadura), Monterrei (£23 for the bottle) sips confidently alongside pork and fish and affirms the all Spanish list is a winner. Coffee (£2 for a solo/cortado; £2.50 con leche) is like that cup you had at that wonderful little place in Madrid you stumbled into that one time. Puds are fun and a mix of Spanish trad (Santiago cake) with yummy nuevo ice cream flavours (lemon zest, cinnamon).
Complaints? None really. The place is just a little bit too expensive to be anything more than an occasional treat (for a poor Londonista anyway) – but what a treat it is. Deciding on which dishes from the menu to order can prove exceedingly difficult…and even tougher when your server lays in with the chalkboard specials! Still, if you're uncertain, staff, the manager and possibly even Jose himself (if he's around) are glad to evangelise about what's tasty.
Pizarro is located at 194 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ.
Disclaimer: Londonist visited Pizarro upon invitation by the restaurant.