The unassuming entrance to the cobbled courtyard of The Don restaurant in the heart of central London, a few hundred metres from Bank Station to be more precise, belies the sprawling network of restaurant, bistro and bars owned by the franchise.
Following an interview with The Don’s new head chef, Frederick Forster, we were given a tour of the impressive labyrinth of connecting properties and sampled two mouth-watering dishes that will certainly have us coming back for more.
I never thought I would utter the words: “I’ve just had my first fish meal and I liked it!”, but here I was, praising the delectable efforts of Frederick Forster, acclaimed Master of Culinary Arts, who recently joined the restaurant as its executive chef. The meal in question? The most divine roast monkfish tail from his new lunch time a la carte menu.
As a confirmed non-fish eater my whole life, I surprised myself when presented with two dishes to sample, the aforementioned monkfish and a 21-day aged Angus fillet of beef, I veered toward the beautifully presented herb crusted monkfish tail, escabeche vegetables and bouillabaisse sauce. The presentation of both dishes was faultless as you would expect from a chef who has won both National Chef of The Year and the Roux Scholarship!
I challenge anyone not to enjoy the monkfish’s meaty and flavoursome texture. The light fluffy fish with its crusty, herby exterior was a surprise, a pleasant one and while not wholly converted to the delights of eating fish, I will certainly be seeking more monkfish dishes in future.
The beef dish was also a delight. The medium rare fillet of beef was beautifully cooked and tender. Other highlights on the new a la carte menu, which is rich with seasonal produce, include starters ranging from slow- cooked Burford brown egg; to a more substantial walnut and home-baked raisin bread.
Main courses include creations like glazed mussels and milk-fed Pyrenean lamb and there is a wide range of choice desserts including; chocolate tarts, apple tatin, and a selection of British and French cheese.
We also sampled the most delicious wine from St Swithins Wine Bar, part of the franchise. We were impressed at how new-age and sophisticated the process for buying wine is there. You must check this out for yourself.
On average, you can expect to spend about £60 for two people (including drinks). For a limited time, until the end of August 2017, the restaurant is offering a whopping 50% off your bill (see below for how to claim this offer).
The dining rooms of The Don are steeped in history, the locations house medieval cellars. Today, the original cellars are still in use, while the Grade I listed entrance hall separates The Don’s two main dining spaces, the White Room and the Old Restaurant. There are numerous spaces which can also be hired out for private parties and events.
To paraphrase Arnie, “we’ll be back!”
Opening times (Monday to Friday): Lunch: 12pm to 3pm / Dinner: 6pm to 10pm
Address: The Courtyard, 20 St Swithins Lane, London, EC4N 8AD
The Don restaurant is offering 50% off a la carte menu food in the restaurant until 31 August. Maximum group size per booking = six. Reservations for this offer should be made to: firstname.lastname@example.org