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“Very good meal / very good value / very good service”

The Don Bistro and Bar
Ranked #2,804 of 24,242 Restaurants in London
Price range: US$36 - US$64
Cuisines: Spanish, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Neighbourhood: City of London
Description: We have traced our building back to 1342 when the Worshipful Company of Drapers bought it to use as their first meeting hall. In 1798, they leased it to George Sandeman, newly arrived from Perthshire to set up a wine company importing barrels of port from Portugal and sherry from Jerez in Spain. The site in St Swithins Lane was perfectly positioned, close (much closer than it is now) to the banks of the Thames where the barrels of wine were unloaded and rolled up a Roman tunnel that led to the medieval vaults beneath the Sign of The Don and The Don to be bottled and dispatched across the globe. You can see the destination stencils on the bistro walls. In 2000, after the Sandeman company had returned to their home base in Oporto, Robert and Robyn Wilson, owners of London's Bleeding Heart Restaurant Group and old friends of George Sandeman converted the building at No 20 St Swithins Lane into The Don Restaurant which justly won the award BMW/Square Meal Award for Best Restaurant in the City. In 2013 the Wilsons took on a much larger task, and, working closely with English Heritage and the City Conservation restored the adjoining building at No 21 St Swithins and its medieval cellar into The Sign of The Don Bar, Bistro and Private Dining Rooms. The Sign itself, a colourful glass image of the Don in his famous cape, was returned from Portugal and now hangs, unmissably, outside Number 21.
Reviewed 1 August 2014

This is a mid price restaurant offering really good food, really good service in a pleasant relaxed atmosphere. Pricing is very reasonable too - in fact this is the stand out point that the quality of the food belies the prices.
It is downstairs / below ground so no views to wow you - but as a relaxed pleasant venue it very much fits the bill.
Very glad we went there.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Review collected in partnership with this restaurant
1  Thank Keith S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BleedingHeartLondon, Manager at The Don Bistro and Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 4 August 2014

Thank you so much for reviewing The Sign of The Don.
We certainly appreciate your comments about our food, service and value.
We will make sure our Chef, Sommelier and Manager will be aware of your feedback.
Looking forward to your next visit,
With best wishes,
The Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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141 - 145 of 186 reviews

Reviewed 29 July 2014

Tucked away on a side street in the heart of The city of London this was designed to be the funkier bar/Bistro to the city institution that is The Don. There are some nice design touches such as the table s being made from old Port Barrels and the quotes from Lily Bollinger in the ladies bathrooms really appealed to me however over all this place is a big miss.
It is shockingly overpriced even for a city bar (£14 for 175ml a glass of wine). On top of that I was overcharged for what was frankly a substandard NZ Tempranillo. When I pointed out the error there was no apology and it took quite a while to sort out the confusion. When i did get the difference back I discovered they were adding a service charge. Not only do I find this cheeky for a drinks order but it is totally unnecessary when I have gone to the bar to order it, negating any actual service.The Manager was at best rude and the final straw was when he whipped the wine list out from under my glass declaring "you wont be needing this any more".
It is a shame as the Bistro space looked nice but on this basis I am not surprised it was completely empty. If this place wants to survive it needs to get rid of the manager and give the staff some customer service training. On this visit I can not possibly recommend this Bar. there are much nicer places to go nearby

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
2  Thank CassieLou_KZN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BleedingHeartLondon, General Manager at The Don Bistro and Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 July 2014

I am very sad to read your feedback and very much would like to investigate what went wrong. Please feel free to contact me on my email address giuseppedewilde@bleedingheart.co.uk as I take feedback seriously, so does the team. On your comment regarding the wine price, we do offer 30 wines by the glass, prices starting at £5 in 3 different measures, beside the bottle. I look forward to hearing from you, to clarify the matter and reassure you that our product and service are great and reflective of all the reviews we have had so far. It is clear that on this occasion we seemed to have failed to live up the expectation and deliver, and the team would like to give you reassurance of its action, and more importantly to welcoming you back.
Kind regards,
Giuseppe Dewilde
Head of Operations

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Reviewed 10 July 2014

Not to be confused with the established Don, the Sign of the Don is less formal but looses none of the creative flair on the menu. Service is attentive, the wine list is full of gems and dishes are reasonably priced.

Thank ChunkyW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BleedingHeartLondon, Manager at The Don Bistro and Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 14 July 2014

Thank you so much for your lovely comments.
We are so pleased you have found us and that we have become a new favourite.
We will certainly make sure our chef and Sommelier are aware of your comments about our menu and wines.
We look forward to welcoming you on your next visit,
With best wishes,
The Sign of The Don Team

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Reviewed 29 June 2014

Wandering round London trying to find a suitable location to eat, close to Liverpool Street station, with my nephew who doesn't normally eat out and is not used to faddy menus, we came across the Sign of The Don.
The menu is uncomplicated, the bar is fitted out with quirky features and the waiting staff are very friendly.
Excellent place to eat, to drink and to meet friends.

Thank VirgoLady19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BleedingHeartLondon, Manager at The Don Bistro and Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 30 June 2014

Thank you so much for your lovely review!
We definitely are not easy to find but well worth it!
Thank you for your lovely comments.
We do look forward to welcoming you on your next visit,
With best wishes,
The Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2014 via mobile

The cost of hotel stays in Central London never ceases to amaze those of us from the provinces, but Travelodge remains a reasonably-priced option. Dependable & clean, so entirely acceptable. The only problem can be the breakfast - ready packed on a tray doesn't quite work for me.

So imagine my delight at discovering 'The Don' next door. Delightful, interesting breakfast options & a more than fair price. Can definitely recommend!

1  Thank UrsaMinorDwarf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BleedingHeartLondon, Manager at The Don Bistro and Bar, responded to this reviewResponded 1 July 2014

Thank you for recommending us.
We are very pleased that you have enjoyed our breakfast menu.
We certainly hope you will come and visit us, for breakfast, lunch and dinner on your next visit.
With best wishes,
The Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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