Friday, 6 December 2013
The Sign of the Don, The City
The spacious ground floor bar at The Don’s smart new bistro is a cosy cork-walled charmer, suitable for City chinwags over a glass of finest Fino. The black-cloaked hombre depicted in the bar's branding has, for centuries, been synonymous with Sandeman, purveyors of award-winning sherries and port. Served comme il faut (unlike your nan's Christmas Emva Cream), wrap your laughing gear around various styles with shaved Bellota ham off the bone for an authentic taste of Spain. From a list of sherry-laced cocktails, I like flamenco (Woodford Reserve bourbon, Manzanilla, peach liqueur, mint, lime and barley syrup), and torero (loosely, a sherry Americano). The Don is also big on gin, stocked in numbers and used in sophisticated sours such as the Londoner (Adnams First Rate, Noilly Prat, apricot liqueur and lime with egg white). Nutty symphony (a cognac, fig, chestnut honey and butterscotch liqueur fix) is one of various £13 digestifs that promise ‘a surprising journey of flavours’ - albeit not a journey my palate cares to undertake. Three dozen wines come by the glass. Ask to visit The Don's fascinating 18th century cellars, where the restaurant’s stellar cast of 400 global hotties has top notch Tempranillo and Pena das Donas Almalarga, an elegant mineral-rich white produced from Galicia’s godello grapes. Quality hams and crispy pork crackling aside, there's Manchego and sobrassada piquant sausage toastie (£7), various croquettes, deep-fried olives with goats curd, and smoked prawns. Service is slick and although, to the average St Paul's wage slave, prices may err on the steep side, off Cheapside, the Don is definitely your man.