Bringing a taste of Spain to the city, José Pizarro’s eponymous third restaurant opened in 2015 in the brand new development of Broadgate Circle, just outside the hustle and bustle of Liverpool Street station. This new venue offered chef José the chance to expand on his first two tapas bars and restaurants — José and Pizarro — which had been a hit in Bermondsey, south London, since opening in 2011.
The key elements of José’s food philosophy and ethos remain — serving quality ingredients and traditional recipes in a relaxed setting; ‘I want to do Spanish cuisine, going back to my roots’. This means a mix of small plates and larger dishes, an extensive sherry list, and ‘proper jamón’. This is something the chef is passionate about, and the jamón Ibérico that is carved and served in front of diners at José Pizarro has gone through a long production process; ‘it takes three to four years to cure a good ham, which means that the whole ham takes six years to produce… and when you try it, it’s just like “wow”.’
The hanging jamón are an integral part of the open kitchen feel to the restaurant, which was essential to José’s vision of allowing diners to see their food being prepared, cooked and served. A long marble-topped bar separates the chefs from the tables, and is the perfect place to sample the Spanish sherry and wine on offer, which has a focus on local grape varieties from the regions in which they grow. Alternatively, the open terrace spills over into the rest of Broadgate Circle and offers a lively atmosphere when the sun is out. Burnished copper table tops, terracotta wine racks and rustic wooden panels provide a natural, earthy backdrop to the simple quality of the dishes served.
A breakfast offering at José Pizarro is a new venture from the first two restaurants, allowing city workers a mix of traditional and lighter dishes from 8am on weekdays, or a more relaxed weekend brunch from 11am on Saturday for those in the heart of town. A full Spanish breakfast might include Morcilla Ibérica or patatas fritas, while omelettes may be spiced with pimentón. The main menu changes seasonally with pica pica dishes such as croquetas and pan con tomate, iconic charcuterie, and larger dishes such as salt cod, or bacalao.