Restaurant of the week: José Pizarro triumphs in London with The Swann Inn
The Spanish chef opens 'gastropub' half an hour from London
José Pizarro triumphs in London with The Swann Inn © The Swann Inn
Esher it is a charming little town in the county of Surrey, one of the wealthiest areas in the entire United Kingdom and the place where José Pizarro has opened its first gastropub a few weeks ago.
He is one of the Spanish chefs with more success in that country and its new restaurant, which partly retains the original name, José Pizarro The Swan Inn, distills the same Spanish spirit as its other London restaurants (José Pizarro Broadgate, Pizarro Restaurant Bermondsey and José Tapas Bar Bermondsey), but with some winks to his adopted country, England.
Very well connected, since it is only half an hour by train from central London (the nearest station is Claygate), in this letter gastropub he Iberian ham Cinco Jotas lives with some English concessions, such as fish & chips, essential dish in any pub British and that they elaborate with a Spanish touch: the batter is made with Estrella Damm beer.
Village Essence © José Pizarro The Swann Inn Esher
The croquettes, the bread with tomato or the fried prawns are dishes that are found in all the restaurants of José, but the rest of the menu changes depending on the restaurant and its new gastropub It is no exception.
Joseph states that a pub "has the same essence as for us the town or neighborhood bar; You come here to have your coffee, or a pint, as you go to the village bar to have a carajillo or a cane. And you can stay a minute, or if you have nothing to do, you stay all day. ”
At first glance and from the outside, nothing can guess that this pub has Spanish roots. The place is divided into two areas: a more informal, bar-style, with tables and bar, and another for a restaurant. In addition, summer promises, as it has a large terrace where José plans serve paellas and grilled meat on weekends. "We want to make two or three paellas a day, depending on how it works." The interiors are simple and with the character of pub, cozy and relaxed; The staff is attentive and friendly.
'Fish & chips' with a twist © José Pizarro The Swann Inn Esher
With the exception of the Iberian dam and the fish & chips, which are main dishes, the rest of the menu items are tapas, as it is designed with the idea of dishes to share. An interesting dish is the Scotch Egg: it is a cooked egg covered with sausage meat and batter, which in this gastropub Spanishized when made with sausage and Iberian ham.
Another cover that is worth trying is the hake with saffron, calçots, tomatoes and almonds, as well as the lamb chops with eggplant, garlic and tomato, and of course, dishes as ours as the classic tortillas or the brave potatoes. Iberian ham is always an excellent option: “People now ask for Iberian ham because they know it, and they know what they are paying,” says José.
And is that when he moved to London two decades ago, the Spanish Iberian ham did not have the presence it has now, nor the popularity. “The English are interested, they want to know more, and also, You already know the basis of our kitchen”.
Iberian dam at The Swann Inn © The Swann Inn
Despite having only been open for a few weeks, the gastropub José already has usual customers, and as he says, "some come every day and already have their own tables." For José, one of the keys to having a gastropub outside the big city is the connection with the locals and that close relationship that is often much more feasible in small places.
“In central London you have millions of people, but here you have to adapt to what customers want, and that's the beauty, because this is his pubThey have been coming here for years and I want to hear from you. Because of that I want change the menu very much, because there are many regular customers who want to try new things. ”
On the day of my visit, the clientele is very varied, from young people taking the first pint with some olives to families with young children paying homage to Spanish food.
The chef who brought Spain to London © José Pizarro The Swann Inn Esher
In addition to a menu that is available daily from noon, they recently released their breakfast menu in which they offer, among others, fruit juices and smoothies, granola with yogurt and fruit compote, as well as the classic English breakfast of eggs, bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms and chorizo. There is also room for smoked salmon with scrambled eggs or avocado toast. Also, the pub It has accommodation options, since It has six rooms.
The drinks menu includes cocktails and wines, mainly Spanish - from Jerez to Albariño, through the wine that José produces in Cádiz-, although it also has a small selection of other European wines, including several English.
With this new project, José continues with his mission of gastronomic ambassador of Spain, this time taking not only the dishes, but the best of the Spanish product, beyond London.
Perrete at The Swann Inn © The Swann Inn
2 Hare Ln, Claygate, Esher KT10 9BS
From Monday to Wednesday from 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday from 12:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturdays from 12:00 to 22:00 and Sundays from 12:00 to 20:30 hours