The Don Restaurant 333

The Courtyard, 20 St. Swithins Lane , London, EC4N 8AD

020 7626 2606

Visit The Don Restaurant

SquareMeal Review of The Don Restaurant

SquareMeal award hall of fame 1999-2018 logo badgeHead chef Frederick Forster (ex-Gavroche and Ritz) has breathed new life into this atmospherically located City stalwart, which for all its modern minimalism (the dining room is impressively hung with John Hoyland’s abstract artwork) opened way back in 2001. To start, rabbit lasagne has firm layers of al dente pasta sitting in a diverting velouté of roasted cep, or there is a beautifully presented arrangement of white and brown crab meat to spoon onto blinis with caviar. Grouse in season is beautifully flavoured, brilliantly cooked and thoughtfully de-boned by the kitchen, its liver made into a silky smooth parfait, a jug of fabulous bread sauce on the side. A blackberry soufflé the colour of a dark rose offers similar proof that Forster knows how to balance modern luxury with traditional comfort, while widely spaced tables and smooth, polite service reassure City diners that they’re in safe hands. The superior wine list is packed with port, sherry and Madeira, alongside bottles from the owners’ Kiwi vineyard Trinity Hill (they also own The Bleeding Heart in Farringdon). For a less formal experience, the downstairs bistro has steak tartare and coq au vin, while the bar serves 30 wines by the glass alongside Adnams beer and croque monsieurs; you can drop in for breakfast, too.  

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The Don Restaurant is recommended for

Formal | Quiet Conversation | Widely Spaced Tables | Special Occasions Under 40S

Special offers

2/3 courses £21/£25

From a set menu.

From: 09 March 2018

To: 09 September 2018

Max: 6

Maximum of 6 diners. Includes Tax, excludes service.

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Fenchurch Street Station 165m

Bank Tube Station 167m

Address

Address: The Courtyard, 20 St. Swithins Lane , London EC4N 8AD

Area: Fleet Street St Paul s

Opening times

Mon-Fri 12N-3pm 6-10pm

Nearby Landmarks

Bank 150m

Tallow Chandlers' Hall 181m

Details

Telephone: 020 7626 2606

Website:

Cuisine: Modern European

Lunch: £25/30 (2/3 courses)

Dinner: £25/30 (2/3 courses)

Private Dining: 16, 24, 35, 44, 50

7.4

Food & Drink: 7.6

Service: 7.1

Atmosphere: 7.3

Value: 6.5

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Sarah G. gold reviewer 27 July 2016

Nothing to complain about here, excellent food, excellent service - what more could you ask for. A little on the pricey side but where isn't these days in London. I had the monkfish tail wrapped in pancetta which wa absolutely superb, so often monkfish is overcooked and rubbery but this was perfect - washed down with a glass of Champagne - a little bit of heaven!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Stephen W. 12 January 2015

I hadn’t been to the Don in some years, and vaguely remembered it as good quality, if expensive. We were four and booked into an early slot. I like the theatre of restaurants: so the discreet location, the corner wine cellar, the white tablecloths, the sommelier decanting the top Rioja, the carving up of the chateaubriand, the cheese trolley, all these confirmed my view of the way the world should be. The starter foie gras was presented as slices of sausage, tasty enough but hard and cold. I would have preferred it softer and room temperature (or even grilled). The artichoke veloute was pronounced “lovely” (though she did not finish it, on grounds of quantity). The accompanying bread of good quality, but if there was a wholemeal option in the basket, I missed it. The chateaubriand was the main success, adjudged huge, juicy and gorgeous; the venison was good but rather chewier than I had hoped. The nicely-sized crème brule and the chocolate-filled ginger sponge were both full successes. I left the restaurant feeling comfortably full, but also that once again the food had been fully priced.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Stephen W. 12 January 2015

I hadn’t been to the Don in some years, and vaguely remembered it as good quality, if expensive. We were four and booked into an early slot. I like the theatre of restaurants: so the discreet location, the corner wine cellar, the white tablecloths, the sommelier decanting the top Rioja, the carving up of the chateaubriand, the cheese trolley, all these confirmed my view of the way the world should be. The starter foie gras was presented as slices of sausage, tasty enough but hard and cold. I would have preferred it softer and room temperature (or even grilled). The artichoke veloute was pronounced “lovely” (though she did not finish it, on grounds of quantity). The accompanying bread of good quality, but if there was a wholemeal option in the basket, I missed it. The chateaubriand was the main success, adjudged huge, juicy and gorgeous; the venison was good but rather chewier than I had hoped. The nicely-sized crème brule and the chocolate-filled ginger sponge were both full successes. I left the restaurant feeling comfortably full, but also that once again the food had been fully priced.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

cgp 22 November 2014

The staff made us very welcome, and the food & wine was just excellent! I had been to The Don for a long time, and I was really pleased that was still as good as i remembered it. I will be back again soon.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

John W. bronze reviewer 23 January 2014

It was a truncated lunch as a result of a commication problem but excellent. I had dover sole which was delicious and larger than expected and my guest had the catch of the day, pollock, also delicious. Took a chance on an old bottle of Portugese wine which turned out to be remarkable value at £45. excellent light lunch.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Robin W. 22 January 2014

Excellent food as usual, thank you.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Jan d. bronze reviewer 30 October 2013

This was an absolutely delicious meal. Despite it feeling rather like a gentlemens' club upon entering – 20 odd men and no women until our party arrived! – the food was beautifully presented and cooked to perfection. I could find nothing to fault at all, bar perhaps the service which was rather slack to start (we were ignored totally until I asked to see the wine menu) but improved some once we got started. A very good wine list (the Gimblett Gravels 2010 blend being exceptionally good value) brought a great support to a perfectly pink roast rump of salt marsh lamb and moist and succulent roast pork belly and made it through to accompany the exceptionally well-laden cheese trolley – one of the best in London. Perhaps not the most buzzy of places but if it's good food and wine you want then look no further.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

London Gourmet platinum reviewer 03 July 2013

A very good lunch or dinner option in the heart of the city tucked away behind bank. The food is very good value for money for this part of town and while the wine is slightly less so it does offer some good bargains within their offering (in particular their “own” NZ wine offering). Very nice setting, service – while generally good – can be slightly overwhelmed, in particular when fully booked.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 0.0

Scott G. 29 October 2012

I had not been to the Don for a couple of years (used to be a regular) had recently returned to the City to work. I took a client on Friday and was, frankly, embarrassed. I had a mackerel starter which came in a in a bizarre watery liquid with wet lifeless vegetables an acerbic olive tapenade on top. Could not eat. Then I had a salmon main course – no form of vegetable or greens – assumed there would be some as there appear to be no options for extras. The salmon was over-cooked, tasteless and came on some sort of tapioca like substance with a white sauce which filled up a bowl to the brim …. It looked like an apple crumble. Again I could not eat! My client had a couple of dishes which I cannot recall but he but had a similar overall impression. I was so embarrassed. I have never had occasion to tell a waiter at a business lunch that the food was awful in front of a client but I did. The reply was “I will tell the chef”. – Naturally we skipped dessert! Shocking

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

Mark D. bronze reviewer 12 July 2011

Vistied The Don last month for a business lunch. The service was good but slightly over bearing. The menu was very interesting but the end result had mixed results. All of the food was presented well but some times did not live up to the promise of the menu. For examble:-Tian of Hand Picked Crab and Avocado on a Chilled Crab Bisque Sauce -sounds great but tasted of tinned crab with a marie rose sauce! Roast Loin and Braised Belly of Black Bigorre Pig with Choucroute-Very nice but not memorable, a waste of great ingredients. Yorkshire Rhubarb Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream- A huge helping of crumble, sadly no better than my 14yr old can put together. There are better places to visit in the area at this price.

  • The Bistro at The Don Restaurant
  • The Hoyland Room at The Don Restaurant
  • The Sandeman Room at The Don Restaurant
  • The White Room at The Don Restaurant
  • Wine Study at The Don Restaurant

The Don Restaurant and sister restaurant, The Don Bistro & Bar, part of the renowned Bleeding Heart Group, have a variety of private dining options in some of the City’s finest restored historic dining rooms. You can enjoy fine food, superb wine and an attentive level of warm professional service. Private rooms can be hired throughout the day for both seated and standing dining events, or for a unique meeting space.


The stunning brick-lined and vaulted Sandeman Room was originally a bottling cellar for port and sherry shippers and can accommodate 24 seated guests. For larger groups hire of the restaurant spaces can be arranged, up to 50 in The White Room and 44 in The Hoyland Room. The Wine Study that looks into the restaurant through a glass wall of wine is perfect for a semi-private dining spot up to 16, while The Bistro can seat up to 35 guests.

The Wine Study (Semi Private)
Capacity: 16
The Sandeman Room
Capacity: 24
The Bistro
Capacity: 35
The Hoyland Room
Capacity: 44
The White Room
Capacity: 50
Special offers

2/3 courses £21/£25

From: 09 March 2018

To: 09 September 2018

Max: 6

Maximum of 6 diners. Includes Tax, excludes service.