The Don review
Places like the Don are what make the City of London so special and never more so than right now. The regeneration of the area has seen countless skyscraper office blocks erected, and yet still there are unexplored corners that restaurateurs can turn into something magical. The Don and its brasserie counterpart the Sign of the Don are hidden in a courtyard off St Swithins Lane, and yet, like all good tardises, the rooms go on and on. The Don’s private dining rooms include the semi-private Wine Study, just off the upstairs restaurant – a modern space for up to 18 guests flanked with wine walls and wine bottles. For a wine room it has a feminine, open feel with windows at either end and lends itself to corporate lunches and dinners but not speeches due to the noise from the main restaurant.
Then there’s the Old Restaurant, which is ideal for exclusive use for corporate or private events. The room seats 22-44 guests and has a modern feel whilst maintaining beautiful original features as well as a stunning two storey wine cellar at the far end of the room. Downstairs, the Sandeman Room, for up to 24 guests is in a vaulted cellar which can be opened out to Vault 1, creating a space for up to 70 and spanning the Don and the Sign of the Don – not as confusing as that might sound –they just open up the double doors. Within the Sign, there is also the Tasting Room for 16 people – a stunning subterranean red walled room with a striking map of old Spain as well as old kegs cleverly designed as side tables. The Cocktail Bar also has a semi private area for up to 20 guests or exclusive use for up to 60.
The venue has over 30 wines by the glass and an original Medieval cellar down a tiny staircase, which, whilst it can’t host stand alone events, makes a great tour and bonding experience. There’s no minimum spend or room hire charge, just a minimum number per room. The more fine dining English with French influenced menus at the Don start from £37 rising to £55 for three courses, not including tea, coffee or service charge, while the Sign of the Don Spanish/Portuguese slanted menus range from £27-£32. All dietary requirements can be catered for, while the Wine Study and Old Restaurant are suitable for disabled access.