ACCLAIMED Spanish chef Jose Pizarro will open not one but two new restaurants in the hallowed grounds within London’s Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly.

The Extremadura-born chef who has been dubbed the Godfather of Spanish cooking in the UK will open a tapas bar offering simple fare such as tortilla de patatas, pan con tomate and empanadas on the ground floor and a more upmarket restaurant in the Dorfman Senate Room upstairs.

Although the plates will no doubt be as artful as the works on the gallery walls, the menu promises to showcase Spanish favourites including jamon iberico, gazpacho, calçots with romesco sauce and merluza in salsa verde.

Drinks will be strictly Spanish too, with cava for those who like bubbles, an extensive sherry list, wine from interesting vineyards across Spain including Pizarro’s own Chardonnay label and with Estrella Damm offered as the house beer.

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The chef Jose Pizarro. Photo from his website:

These will be the first establishments opened in central London by the chef who as a regular on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, is more of a household name in Britain than he is at home in Spain.

He moved to London in 1999 and was soon charged with setting up a restaurant in Borough Market to showcase Spanish products imported by Brindisa before he went solo with his restaurant Jose in nearby Bermondsey Street.

‘When you see art, it’s all about how it makes you feel… your whole body responds, it’s the same with food – well, good food anyway!” he said in a recent interview announcing the new venture. ·

”The creativity and soul that you find in food and art is the same… you get the same excitement. To be able to bring the two together makes me so happy – it’s an incredibly proud moment for me in my career.”

‘Poster Bar by Jose’ and ‘Jose Pizarro at the RA’ open on August 11.

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