Golden sherry clinging to the side of the glass like honey, sumptuous squares of pink pork, prawns the size of dolphins, and a perfect spot overlooking bustling Bermondsey Street: an afternoon at José has all of it.
Run by impossibly charming chef/patron José Pizarro, who also owns Pizarro (named after his grandfather, don’t you know?), just down the road, South London’s best tapas bar is evocative of all that is good about authentic Spanish locals – it’s small, atmospheric and every dish is made with the finest-quality ingredients. And the sherry list is spectacular, as good as any in the UK. Look out for rare fino en rama in season.
We can’t get enough of the razor clams. The perfectly cooked strings of shellfish come with tiny flavour-packed shreds of chorizo to create a super-high-end surf ’n’ turf. The Ibérico ham is beautiful, too, soft and salty, with an incredible kick. Costly legs of it are imported from Pizarro’s native Extremadura and hang in the window waiting to be devoured, the perfect advertisement for José.