Jose I was greeted with a warm smile and a handshake; did I know this man, did he recognise me from somewhere? As if greeting a long lost friend our smiling host had his hand on my shoulder and gently ushered us towards the bar.
Making space for us he moved a couple out of the way and we perched looking over the small open kitchen. I couldn’t help but think immediately that I like this kind of service!
I was with the Producer and the Russian after having a quick walk round the nearby White Cube gallery. As we’d got the cultural pretence of our afternoon out of the way we could now get down to the business of ordering some food!
I started the afternoon with a glass of Tio Pepe; I’m torn between that and a beer so minutes later I order one of those as well... Food wise I knew what I wanted before I walked in so ordering was easy; Croquetas, Jamon Iberico, Bread with Tomato and from the specials the Padron Peppers.
The Croquetas were perfect; the crisp shell giving away to savoury velvet in the mouth. I’m pleased that my own attempt from last month holds up against the scrutiny of their inspiration.
The tomato and bread is every bit as simple and delicious as it should be. Perfectly ripe tomato mashed into the bread offsets the savoury edge of the Croquetas and Jamon reinvigorating the mouth between bites of savoury heaven.
The peppers both sweet and salty at the same time are an interesting diversion but the star of the show is of course the Jamon Iberico Manuel Maldonado. Wafer thin slices of utter mouth sex like a meaty stained glass window; the creamy fat melting onto tongue taking you to that little animalistic point of pleasure that you can only get from eating really good meat!
I could have ordered plate after plate but there was drinking to be done so we got the bill shortly afterwards and headed out. Even at three in the afternoon people were queuing out of the door ready to pounce on our space.
I cannot recommend Jose enough; simple food served plainly but with ingredients this good you really don’t want to fuck around with them!