Pizarro: Spanish tapas bar and restaurant on Bermondsey Street near London Bridge
Last year, I went to Jose, the Spanish tapas bar in Bermondsey street set up by chef Jose Pizarro (who used to work at Brindisa) and I absolutely loved it. He later opened a much bigger restaurant called Pizarro down the road and I've been wanting to check it out for ages. But there's no reservation policy in the evenings and given that it was so popular, I was daunted by the prospect of waiting for ages. Nonetheless, on a Monday evening I found my way there, dreaming of all the croquetas I would eat.
There's a warm inviting atmosphere at Pizarro - the decor is lovely and you can see the chefs at work especially if you sit at the bar. Very similar set up to Jose but much larger and perfect for bigger groups.
I wasn't too happy with the service though - the wait staff seemed a bit abrupt which was a contrast to the staff at Jose who are so friendly and accommodating. Maybe they were having a bad day?
|Ham Croquetas and Beetroot-cured Salmon, Capers & Egg Yolk|
In any case, this didn't dampen my enthusiasm and I proceeded to order away. The menu was divided into small plates (£5- £8) and large plates (£15 - £20). My strategy was to order only small plates as I wanted try as much as possible and the larger plates are quite pricey). My dinner partner decided on the Salt Cod Vizcaina as a main course while I went crazy and proceeded to order the Ham Croquetas which I absolutely adored when I had them at Jose and the Beetroot-cured salmon, capers and egg yolk which sounded a bit strange on the menu but tasted divine.
|Razor Clams, Chorizo and Mint|
We then had the Girolle mushrooms and truffle oil on toast and Razor clams with chorizo and mint. The Razor clams were gigantic and I really enjoyed them with the chorizo but sadly two of the clams had these gritty bits which I couldnt quite stomach.
|Salt Cod Vizcaina|
Since I shamelessly ordered a second plate of croquetas, I had to hold back even though I really wanted to try the special which was suckling pig and the Iberico pork which looked gorgeous. Unfortunately, salt cod Vizcaina was a bit disappointing despite being presented beautifully. The cod was layered with potatoes, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and capers and had quite a strong taste and I don't think it went very well with the cod. The bill wasn't too bad - we each paid £30 for 5 small plates and one large plate, 2 glasses of wine and a dessert.
Given that I wasn't too thrilled with the service, I'd much rather go back to Jose for a few tapas than dinner at Pizzaro. I must say it was nice to see all the chefs at work and have Jose Pizarro himself serve some of our dishes. And actually, that Iberico pork looked so tasty and succulent....ok, I might, just might be persuaded to go back again :)
194 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3TQ
Tube: London Bridge