Of all the Tapas places I’ve been to in London this feels the most like the bars in Madrid, it’s cramped, noisy and you’re constantly being bumped and elbowed (in a friendly way of course). If ever you feel the need to be touched by strangers give José a visit.
José is small and does not take reservations, we were told the wait would be 45 mins however we had a glass of wine in our hand and some smoked beef within 10 mins. The smoked beef was nice, having recently spent a couple of weeks in Spain I couldn’t take anymore Jamón, the smoked beef was a great alternative covered in a great olive oil.
Previously I’ve had bad experiences with Spanish tomato bread, soggy bread with cold tomatoes that taste mealy. José had great warm bread and the tomatoes were also warm and seasoned well with a little onion.
We had the special of prawns with garlic which were tasty and peeled for you which is always preferable. Even though it was a long while ago, I still remember the prawns from Barrafina which were superior in flavour to the José gambas.
My two favourite dishes of the night were the Pisto with duck egg and the Meatballs. Pisto is a Spanish ratatouille and we understand from our waiter is almost always served with a fried egg. The pisto was very deep in flavour, I assume it was cooked for quiet a while to develop this richness. I could have had this dish buy itself with some good bread and been happy. The Meatballs were also delicious, I think they were lamb but I did not confirm this, they were full of herbs with a rich tomato sauce.
Jose is a great tapas bar and reasonable if you watch your wine consumption.