After being closed for the past four years, The Don restaurant in St Swithin’s Lane is finally re-opening under new ownership with a completely refurbished space and a new management team that aims to restore it to its former glory.
The Don is famous for its association with Sandeman Port, as it is situated next to its sister establishment, a Portuguese wine bar called Bar 1790, in Sandeman House.
New Management Team and Menu
The restaurant’s new General Manager, Peter Horton, is proud to announce the return of Sandeman to St Swithin’s Lane with a highlighted selection from the Rothschild wine estates around the world, including Chateau Lafite in Bordeaux.
The Don’s head chef, Toby Lever, formerly of Lutyens, has developed a modern European menu that is based on seasonal ingredients “that haven’t been mucked about with,” explains Horton.
The simplicity and quality of the food is important, given the complexity of the wine, says Horton.
Wine List and Private Dining
The wine list, which focuses on Italy, France, and Iberia, boasts over 600 wines selected by Head Sommelier Max Cohn and David Gleave MW, the chairman, and founder of Liberty Wines.
The Port list includes wines from all the major Port houses, as it is Horton’s aim to mark the return of Sandeman to the City by making The Don a meeting point for the UK Port shippers.
The Don also offers an extensive Champagne list that includes well-known brands and lesser-known Champagnes, thanks to Champagne expert Simon Stockton.
The restaurant has done the same with whisky, offering a list that reflects the current excitement of this sector, with grand old names like Macallan and newcomers like Ardnamurchan rubbing shoulders.
The restaurant’s private dining spaces are some of the City’s finest sites, with a wonderful heritage dining room for up to 16 people called the Sandeman Room and the old Barrel Cellar, which offers one of the largest private dining spaces in the City.
History and Legacy
George Sandeman set up as a wine merchant on Birchin Lane in 1790, importing Ports and Sherries from Portugal and Spain.
The business moved to St Swithins Lane in 1805 as the cellars were ideal for ageing and storing the wines and were easily accessed by an underground passage from the Thames.
The barrels were rolled off the ships, which were moored on the Thames near where Cannon Street Station stands today, and up the passage to the cellars.
The Don, located at 19-23 St Swithins Lane, re-launches at the end of March 2023 for lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Friday from 12 pm – 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm.