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Sunday, December 11, 2011

DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS @ JOSE PIZARRO


























I am sure that everyone in London is now aware that Jose Pizarro’s new gaff in Bermondsey will stake a strong claim to be the best Spanish restaurant in London.  Two weeks ago, however, it looked a little unlikely that he would even be open on time to host what proved to be the most popular DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS to date.

It was David Strauss, the GM of the terrific Goodman steakhouses who actually first suggested the idea.  I was musing on Twitter about where and when to have the next event and London’s favourite restaurant munchkin replied “If you combined a #DWDH event with the opening of Jose Pizarro’s new restaurants, you would break all records”. 

It was a fabulous idea and, as soon as I read it, I shot off a mail to Jose asking him if he would be game to host the latest in our ever popular dining evenings.  He was up for the task and, no sooner had I posted about it on the blog/Facebook and Twitter did the requests for places begin to flood in.  In all, we had nearly a thousand requests for the coveted fifty seats and after making sure there were spaces for a few family and friends, I did what I have been forced to do for the last few occasions and drew names from of a hat.

A couple of days before the event, I was back in London with my missus, after a fun trip to Croatia and Hungary.  After a quick visit to Maltby Street Market, I suggested to her that we visit Pizarro just to make sure that everything was set for the big day.  It wasn’t.  There was no sign outside the restaurant and the inside looked like the East End after a particularly nasty visit from Jerry during the blitz.  Pizarro was there amongst all the dust and mayhem and, when he saw us walk through the door, his eyes widened like deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. “It will be ready on time, Amigo, I promise you” he wailed as I trod carefully around the working builders shaking my head in dismay.

In all the years I have known him, Jose has never let me down and after much reassuranceI took him at his word that all would be shipshape for the Monday evening.  Mind you, as I walked towards the place about 45 minutes before everyone else was due to turn up, the fact that there was still builder’s paper covering the windows, did give me cause for concern. Inside, however, it was a different story.  It was certainly not finished, but it looked lovely and all the chefs and serving staff were busy preparing for what would be their very first time cooking for and serving customers.

It was not long before the guests arrived and, as soon as they handed over their precious tickets, each was handed a glass of Cava Gramona Brut imperial and given the chance to mingle with the other lucky punters. It was fantastic stuff and set the tone for one of the best DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS events yet.  Once we were seated, the courses began to arrive in earnest and, just as he had done at a similar event some three years ago at Casa Brindisa, Jose had gone far beyond what he had promised in terms of both food and drink. 

We began, of course, with large plates of Jamon, served this time with a glass of an uber rare “Dos Palmas” Sherry, from Gonzalez Byass.  This was followed by a salad of Cod, a breathtakingly good dish of duck livers and croquetas.  Fort he record, I have always believed that Jose makes the best croquetas in town and this offering did nothing to make me change my opinión.

The next two courses divided people’s opinions.  Not because they were not both spot on, but because they were arguing which was the best.  My vote went to some meltingly soft Hake cheeks while others at my table held out that braised Iberico pork cheeks were the winner.  Let’s just put it this way, if I was on a dessert island, I would alternate which I dreamt about.  I would also hope that they would be served with a glass of the crisp Rosado de Silos that Jose had managed to obtain for us.

Desserts of cheese and rich chocolate cake were supported by two more sherries; Amomtillado and Pedro Ximinez both from Fernando de Castilla and the tables were soon filled with empty glasses.  Plates however, were whisked away with incredible efficiency by the staff in training, which included coincidentally, my American niece in law who now calls London home.

Even if this event had not been the first time the ovens of Pizarro had been fired up or the first time the staff had worked the tables, it still would have been a memorable event.  The fact that it was means that it holds a particularly special place in the hearts of Dos Hermanos.  I want to give my own personal thanks to Jose, his team of superb chefs and excellent front of house and, of course, all those who provided food and wine to make this a DWDH event to cherish.

By 11pm, some four hours after we arrived, just about everyone agreed on two things.  The first was that Pizarro’s was soon going to become a hot ticket in London for those seeking the genuine Spanish article.  The second was that we would have to come up with something special if the next DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS was to top this one.

All I can say is, watch this space.  We got something special brewing.


PS: For those wondering why some of the pictures on this post are of a much higher quality than normal, there is a very good reason.  They are the work of one Thomas Bowles who does such things for a living and  whose work can be found at www.thomasbowles.com

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6 Comments:

Blogger Foodycat said...

Sounds amazing! I also love that he actually called you Amigo.

Monday, December 12, 2011 9:59:00 am  
Blogger Chris said...

What's fantastic about Jose's cooking is not just that it's technically very good, but it also challenges you. I remember the first time I tried the rare iberico pluma at Jose and it took me a good few moments to get over the fact I was eating raw pork before quickly realising it was absolutely bloody fantastic.

Similarly two dishes at the DWDH event - the seasoned raw cauliflower, which at first seemed like a very odd texture before the flavour won you over, and the head of hake which required a bit of effort to get over the sheer visceral impact of a flattened fish head then - again - once you tasted it, who cares.

The guy is very, very good at what he does.

Monday, December 12, 2011 9:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Wonder Food Blog said...

Sounds great! Also you've got sine great photos.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 7:30:00 pm  
Anonymous Greta said...

Looks amazing!!! May have to check this place out. Looks like you had fun too. facing direction

Saturday, December 17, 2011 10:03:00 am  
Anonymous I ♥ food and travel said...

Wow, this sounds amazing! Can't wait to try it out. Thanks for your posts, I've just discovered your website and it's a great find - cheers! x

Monday, December 26, 2011 10:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Designer blog said...

Sounds good. I like your photos also.

Sunday, June 17, 2012 5:09:00 pm  

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