I went to Bermondsey Kitchen last night and saw Josť Pizarro standing in the kitchen cooking. I said to him "Hang on a minute, what are you doing here?" and he told me that Dela Foster had sold and he was now owner. The place will be renamed Pizarro. It will be a restaurant and not a tapas bar. The bar will be extended to take up the whole front of the restaurant and there will be a private dining area at the back. The most important change is that he has a new vision for the food which will become unashamedly Spanish rather than than the Ottolenghi style Mediterranean fusion of recent years, the wine list will also become Spanish. It's totally exciting and I wish the team there great success.
I'll certainly miss Dela, she has sustained the restaurant for many years. The food's been great and the service has been the best on Bermondsey Street for some time (with Village East clipping at its heals). She's a true Bermondsey pioneer and I congratulate her!
I'm not sure what she's going to do, I don't know her outside the restaurant. She has (I hope) a nice pot of cash now to do with as she pleases and the freedom to do something even better.
I've been going to BK since the beginning and it's the local we've been frequenting for years now. It opened pretty much straight after the Honest Cabbage closed when the only other place to go was Delfina (the food used to be out of this world back then at Delfina). It's disconcerting all this change.
For the sake of posterity, here is the first indication that Tower Bridge Road (almost) was about to get its first gastropub - in 2002. How we fell upon it in November 2002, desperate to give it business in order to keep it going.
How the world has changed since. Bermondsey Square now has an art cinema and a hotel, Bermondsey St is gastopub type place after gastropub -to the extent that one can scarcely open any newspaper without a reasonable chance of a reference to the new Tapas bar. Oh yes, and Grange Road has lost two petrol stations and gained a proper restaurant.
Not to forget The Hartley which has been through several incarnations, including one which was quite close to a pretty grim boozer again.
Bermondsey Kitchen made reasonably good food... but their service was terrible! whoever above claimed it was the best on bermondsey st is clearly reflecting more on the quality of the other establishments!