Any Port in a storm: Sandeman London dining institution The Don reopens with epic wine list

A bottle of wine is poured at The Don restaurant

Calling all port lovers! The Don restaurant, in London’s St. Swithin’s Lane, is re-opening this week after a four year closure, having undergone a complete refurbishment under new ownership.

The restaurant is located in Sandeman House, the building where the Sandeman family moved their wine importing and bottling business in 1805.

The Sandeman name has long been synonymous with port, and The Don pays tribute to this legacy with an extensive port list that includes product from all the major port houses.

The Sandeman name is synonymous with port, and The Don pays tribute to this legacy with an extensive port list…

The wine list at The Don boasts over 600 wines from Italy, France, and Iberia, chosen by Head Sommelier Max Cohn and David Gleave MW, chairman and founder of Liberty Wines. The restaurant also showcases a selection of wines from the Rothschild wine estates around the world, including Chateau Lafite in Bordeaux, to celebrate the long association between the Rothschilds and the Sandemans in St. Swithin’s Lane.

Paying homage to George Sandeman’s Scottish birth, The Don also offers a whisky list that reflects the current excitement of this sector, with grand old names like Macallan rubbing shoulders with newcomers like Ardnamurchan.   

For the reopening, Head Chef Toby Lever, formerly of Lutyens, has developed a modern European menu that emphasises seasonal ingredients. According to General Manager Peter Horton, “The simplicity and quality of the food is important, given the complexity of the wine.” 

The Don’s historic cellars, are also opening for private dining and tastings: the heritage Sandeman Room can accommodate up to 16 people, while the old Barrel Cellar offers one of the largest private dining spaces in the City.

Used by wine merchant George Sandeman in the 1800s to age and store his wines, the cellars were linked by underground passage to the Thames where barrels were rolled off ships for smooth passage into the cellars.

Enjoy The Don’s rich history and enticing wine selection over lunch or dinner, Tuesday to Friday, from 12pm to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 9.30pm.

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