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This October, the owners of City stalwart The Don (pictured, right) will launch a larger, more informal sibling to the restaurant right next door.
The Sign of the Don will comprise a wine bar, cocktail bar, bistro-style dining room, plus a tasting room and a large private dining room. In total, the 4,000 sq ft site will seat 160 diners – 20 more than its neighbour.
‘This new restaurant will be for people in the City who haven’t got much time,’ Robyn Wilson (who co-owns The Don restaurants – and the Bleeding Heart group – with her husband Robert, both pictured, left) told Square Meal. ‘It will be very vino-centric, with masses of really good wines by the glass dispensed from Enomatic machines. It will also have a glamorous cocktail bar – something we haven’t done before – made out of Portuguese cork, with banquettes made from old port vats. People can sit at the bar and have a snack or a coffee, or they can go to the bistro downstairs, which will serve larger dishes.’
Despite the continuing economic downturn, Wilson is confident that the City will welcome a casual bistro like The Don.
‘When the property first came up 18 months ago, it wasn’t an ideal time to start expanding the business, so we thought long and hard about it,’ said Wilson. ‘But we decided we would regret it if we didn’t go for it so we thought, “Let’s do it”. Now, fortunately, the market is picking up.’
With so many new launches scheduled in the capital this autumn, competition for the best staff is proving fierce.
‘We’re currently interviewing new front-of-house staff for The Sign of the Don, so things are very full on for us at the moment,’ said Wilson. ‘Luckily, our chef is using his contacts to recruit members of the kitchen team he knows will work well at the restaurant.’
The Sign of the Don will open its doors on 15 October. The Don Bistro, underneath the original Don, will be subsumed into the restaurant.