The Don is a restaurant near Bank and is the flagship white tablecloth establishment of the group that brought Bleeding Heart, one of my fave restaurant for “classics” in the city.
The restaurant itself has a classic look, with a masculine feel in terms of decor and a no-nonsense vibe. Hats off to simplicity, which actually works.
The place used to be home of The Drapers from the British wool trade back in the 1400s. In the 1800s, they leased it to the Sandeman Port and Sherry Company. Many bottles blended and years gone by, it’s now home to The Don Restaurant as well as its neighbouring bar and bistro.
But now, their wine of choice is Trinity Hill.
After perusing the menu (or pretending to, because I’ve already had a look and changed my mind 20 times), C and I enjoyed a fruity and floral aperitif of Chateau de Merande Son Altesse.
C went for the Roasted Orkney scallops (£17.50). These were cooked beautifully, but the absolute star for me on the plate was the chorizo jam and braised chicken wings – which were cripy and full of umami.
I went for my favourite classic – the roasted quail served with marinated beets, endives and hazelnut dressing (£11). This was the absolute highlight of the meal for me and not because I’m biased to quail, but because it was very delicious. The portion was generous, the quail was cooked perfectly and the seasoning was spot on. It was thoughtful and well-presented.
Our starters were paired with a 2016 Trinity Hill Sauvignon Blanc.
C’s main was an herb-crusted monkfish tail (£27) served with escabeche vegetables and bouillabaisse sauce. I liked this dish enough. The fish itself was beautiful. I just with it had more vegetables and sauce.
Not one to shy on fish, I went for the steamed halibut (£26) served with a spiced enoki mushroom broth and razor clams.
Frankly, this was an okay dish. Fish was cooked beautifully but the broth lacked depth and didn’t quite marry the dish as a whole.
We went for some spring greens and buttered jersey royals for sides.
Both fish dishes were complemented with a 2017 Trinity Hill Chardonnay.
As for dessert, C went for the vanilla pannacotta (£7). It was served with a peach sorbet and a pain perdu that didn’t quite taste or feel like pain perdu. But the pannacotta itself was pretty tasty.
Wanting to satisfy my soufflé cravings, I went for the strawberry soufflé (£7) with clotted cream ice-cream.
The soufflé was made to perfection. Crisp, pillowy, and light. I loved the first few spoonfuls until I started getting a super sweet aftertaste. Perhaps I don’t have much of a sweet tooth after all, but this was definitely far more superior than the pannacotta.
I went downstairs for a little snoop of the restaurant.
There are more tables downstairs and also a bar, plus a private area where you can entertain guests!
Verdict for The Don
Whilst I think its location isn’t granting The Don much favour, I think the restaurant’s strength lies on the fact that it’s been there for quite some time. I thought the food was the type you’d eat during a client or business lunch – classic and seemingly uncomplicated. The technique is definitely there but perhaps a little bit of honing and perfecting would do the trick. Service is very pro without feeling contrived.
Go with your boss and go with your clients.
The Courtyard, 20 St Swithin’s Ln, London EC4N
Our meal was complimentary but all opinions are my own.
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The roasted quail is my favorite as well!! And I can never resist a souffle, especially chocolate one! xx
Oooh, a chocolate souffle is my fave too, Nano! x
I’ve been for drinks in their wine bar but never for food. The wings look relish and I would be all over that souffle 🙂 xx
I’m curious to try their wine bar, actually. It looked more atmospheric than the restaurant!