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|Address:||Seymour Place, London W1H 5DB|
|Tel:||020 3620 1845|
|Price: £37.00||Wine: £17.00||Champagne: £74.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sat 11am-3pm 6-11pm Sun 10am-3pm|
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On the first autumnal evening (torrential rain, cold, grey, true London) this year, I escaped into this little gem in Marylebone (more Marble Arch end of Oxford St). Donostia is an attractive, contemporary, cute restaurant with fine fine Basque cooking. The owner is an ex-Barrafina chef, so this establishment is a serious contender for the best tapas in London. The atmosphere was buzzy, warm and had that bonhomie, that is often hard to find in London city.
We were seated by the window (best table for the frisson) with ‘ham on our heads’ (ie a large legs of Bayonne ham, tantalising near enough to nuzzle). I managed to refrain. You can also sit at the bar, if your posture is good enough.
The menu was clear, concise but bursting with yummy sounding bites. The tempura prawns with mango had the lightest batter and the most succulent seafood, at £2 per prawn, I had to order another. Cod cheeks with tarry black aioli were delightfully moreish. The star was the chargrilled porky iberico shoulder surrounded by dollops of delicious romesco sauce. The often boring tortilla was an eggy, carbohydrate revelation. Triple cooked chips with brava sauce were as good as the ones in Opera Tavern.
The wine list was equally impressive with novel and classic Spanish wines, with very reasonable price tags. The end bill was a rather economical £75 for 2, for a meal of this quality and quantity (I wish this was my local). I must also mention the fantastic service and our waiter who braved the downpours to hail a cab from around the corner. Old school manners count for a lot these days. This place is a little taste of San Sebastian on our doorstep, not to be missed.