Donia

South East Asian·
££££
·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Donia

Silver Award

Slowly but surely, London’s Filipino dining scene continues to evolve with every passing year. It’s still an under-represented cuisine in the capital, but if you were totally new to Filipino food, Donia would make a sparkling first impression. The duo behind Mamasons and Panadera bakery have proved their salt once again with this next venture, a modern Filipino restaurant centred around British produce in Soho’s Kingly Court.  

Emerald-green awnings hang out front with the word ‘Donia’ scrawled in romantic font, while wooden-beamed ceilings and leather banquets within give the space the air of a rustic bistro. There’s an open kitchen at the back where you can watch the chefs turn out dish after dish, but the feature that caught our eye was a beautiful fossil-like light fixture hanging from the ceiling resembling something between volcanic rock and a wedge of Swiss cheese. If Donia decides to branch out into homeware, we’d be the first in line.  

Everything about this place is cool, trendy and modern, from the decor to the young and friendly staff, to the pared-back, sharing-style menu. We start with slowly cooked ‘adobo’ mushroom croquettes which are so deeply rich with umami flavour, we’re convinced there must be Marmite hidden in there somewhere. Conversely, sea bream kinilaw is bright and sprightly, and immersed in a beautiful verdant green oil. The truth is we could wax lyrical about every dish. Four grilled chicken pieces are heavily spiced and charred on the outside, then doused in pink pickled onions and served with an exceptional stock-like sauce. Dessert is a spectacular thing too: a giant choux bun with a sturdy, biscuit texture filled with a ball of purple Ube ice cream. 

Drinks are fun and fashionable. We opt from the non-alcoholic list, including a zesty lemon iced tea and a strawberry, lime and basil mocktail which arrived in a dinky Martini glass. We’re also surrounded by trendy young things enjoying a relaxed dinner on a Wednesday night, although we’d argue the prices are a little less casual - mains range between £20 and £35 before sides and starters. Still, the cooking here nothing short of stupendous, and worth seeking out if you’re stuck for scran in Soho. 

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
South East Asian
Ambience
Cool, Cosy, Fun, Romantic
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegetarian options
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Located within Kingly Court on Carnaby Street, Donia is a contemporary Filipino restaurant serving sharing plates alongside a stellar European wine list and innovative cocktail menu. Led by duo Omar Shah and Florence Mae Maglanoc, who are also responsible for Mamasons ice cream and Panadera Bakery, the cuisine at Donia is primarily inspired by flavours from Maglanoc’s childhood, with dishes refined for London dining. The interiors are modest, with emerald banquette seating and minimalist decor, to create a relaxing and friendly environment.

The menu offers Filipino dishes using the best of British produce and is designed to be shared so diners can enjoy a rounded taste of Donia’s unique cuisine. You might choose to start with Carlingford oysters with guava granita, or sea bream kinilaw, which is a traditional Filipino raw fish dish with citrus (like ceviche). Adobo mushroom croquetas are one of the delightful vegetarian options on offer.

Larger plates include lamb shoulder Calderea pie and chicken insala, a whole or half grilled chicken with charred skin topped with pickled shallots. If you fancy pushing the boat out, the menu also has indulgent plates like aged rib eye with beef jus, and whole lobster Ginataan, flavoured with coconut, ginger, and garlic. If you have any room left, the signature dessert is a crisp choux bun stuffed with purple ube ice cream.

To accompany your meal, or as a pre-dinner tipple, the cocktail list at Donia is packed with enticing concoctions focused around Filipino flavours. For example, the Plum combines umeshu with Campari, mezcal, and vermouth, and the Milo sees milo powder mixed with vodka, Mr Black, and espresso. If you’d prefer to stick with the wine list you won’t be disappointed, with plenty available by the glass as well as revered labels from celebrated vineyards.


FAQs

Is it suitable for vegans?

The menu centres mostly around meat and fish, with a few vegetarian options.

Helpful? 0

Do I need to book?

Booking is advised - you can book via the website.

Helpful? 0

Location

Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, Soho, London, W1B 5PW
Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:00-15:30
Sat 12:00-15:30
Sun 12:00-15:30
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 17:00-22:00
Wed 17:00-22:00
Thu 17:00-22:00
Fri 17:00-22:00
Sat 17:00-22:00
Sun 17:00-21:00

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