taldragon is a friend with a constructive approach. She likes reading my food write-ups, so she asks me out to lunch on a regular basis and has me choose the location. This time, taking all the relevant factors into account, I picked The Don Restaurant & Bistro, conveniently located near her touristic destination of the day, the Tower of London. The Don is tucked away in a quiet courtyard off of a quiet street off of Cannon Street, right in the heart of the City. I took us to the bistro, not the restaurant, which would have been more formal. Our coats were taken before we even said we had a reservation.
The bistro is located in the brick vaulting in the basement, rows of white cotton tablecloths and suited customers chatting comfortably over ample portions. The three of us stood out without, but that's because we don't work in the City. The ample portions looked substantial enough that even though some of the appetizers tempted, we held out for mains and dessert. The wine list was ample, with a healthy range of by-the-glass at reasonable prices. Two-thirds of our group stuck with water; some of us were planning on working afterwards.
My lamburger was enormous, topped generously with carmalized onions and accompanied by uniformly-sized chips. I was offered a selection of mustard for the meat, but the place had no mayonnaise for the chips. The lamb was robust and tasty, but far too large for my appetite, and far more substantial than the mains the others had. taldragon had a version of Tuna Niçoise, with a dressing erring on the side of sweet (but palatable) and tuna undercooked for her order. (Personally, I like my tuna mostly raw, but it isn't what I think of as "medium rare".) A.'s salmon confit seemed to make him happy. A nice array of rolls were offered throughout the meal.
Desserts were good. A.'s strawberry mousse with candied citron peel was remarkably delicate. My iced nougat parfait was nicely complemented by an apricot sauce, enlivened with soft chunks of the fruit itself. taldragon had the best of the consistently appealing dessert options, with a dark chocolate mararon filled with smooth raspberry fool. We forewent coffees, but the server brought around a platter with rows of dark and white chocolates on it for us to choose one anyways. They melted on our fingers and in our mouths.
Service was generally attentive, ambiance pleasant, and the cooking competent throughout with occasional highs. For a city venue, the prices are competitive (5-8 for starters, 9-14 for mains, 6 for desserts) and they offer two options for cheese courses. Given how large my main was - the others were more reasonable - if I went back I'd be tempted to order starters, cheese&salad, and then dessert instead of the usual trilogy of courses. The bill arrived with an advertisement for their meet-the-winemakers dinners. For a reasonably priced, solid, substantial meal option in the City, this is a fine choice.