May 12 2015

Don, The

The Don is one of those “old” city lunch restaurants that has been around for years and has got a loyal clientele (I think mainly the older generation that started going to Don when no other restaurants in the city were available). The Don is located close to Bank station and there is a more casual brasserie and a more formal restaurant next to it, located in a courtyard, so more secluded. We went to the more formal restaurant for lunch.

The décor in the restaurants is quite nice, there are colourful paintings (including seven original Hoyland paintings), blue long, quite comfortable chairs, white tablecloths, a standard city lunch setting. The food is modern French/ British and starters are £10 on average and main courses a bit more than £20, so standard for the city.

I ordered a starter called “salad of Cornish hand-picked crab, avocado and lemongrass dressing “. It was a very pretty and colourful plate, with the nice green avocado nicely “sandwiching” the pale crab, but there was just too much salt in the dish. In Latvia we have a saying that the chef is in love, when the food is over-salted, as the chef does not notice how much salt and other spices he is using when cooking, he is preoccupied by being in love. Maybe that is what had happened here. I could eat the starter, but it did not taste like it should have due to the saltiness. One of my colleagues ordered a very good looking “Carpaccio of venison, horseradish, shallots, pecorino and shaved truffle”, that looked vibrant and pretty and he seemed to enjoy it, and I was also quite intrigued by the starter of “Roasted hand-dived scallops on fine vegetable and ginger salad”, which also looked nice.

I ordered a main course of “Lobster risotto, rocket salad & sauce Americaine”, as I had seen a picture of this main course on their website and it looked very appetizing. The chopped up lobster had been added to the rice at the last minute and the dish was topped with a cute looking hallow lobster head shell. The rice was a la dente, cooked well, but here I actually thought this dish lacked seasoning. However it was nice to eat the risotto with the topped rocket salad, as it gave each mouthful that tiny peppery fell, and you could use it instead of the seasoning. Not sure though if they had meant to do it like this – under season the food, so you eat it with the rocket and get the right taste, maybe, it worked. My friends ordered the “Grilled whole Dover sole” which you could either have with Béarnaise, or Meunière sauce, one of the most expensive dishes at £29, but not expensive for dover sole fish. However I thought it looked messy. Both my friends asked to have it off the bone, and I don’t think they did a very neat job of removing it. It looked good, but not overly appetising. Another one of my friends ordered the fish of the day, served with samphire, tomatoes and sauce, and once again I did not think it looked particularly exciting, especially for the price, and I could have put all these things together myself. I guess when I go to a restaurant I expect to see dishes that amaze me, and with these fish dishes (apart from the risotto), I did not quite see it. The side of potatoes was also quite plain.

We did not order any desserts, but when the bill arrived they gave us some madeleine cakes, which did not feel that fresh or warm. The best way how to eat madeleine cakes is when they are hot. One of my friends though does say the most impressive dessert to have here is the “Pistachio and cranberry nougat glacé “Can-Can”, which looks like a girl dancing “Can-Can”, she sent me a picture of it, and I loved the look of it.
I do think The Don may have been a great restaurant 10 years ago and still it is a good restaurant, but as there is so much competition in the city for good lunch venue restaurants, it does not stand out that much anymore.

Date: 12/ 05/ 14
Location: City
Price for 4 people: around £200 (I did not see the final bill)

The Don on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 



Don, The
The Courtyard, 20 Saint Swithin's Lane EC4N 8AD
United Kingdom
Don, The Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3