Donostia, a tapas restaurant has its roots steeped in the Basque region of Spain. It is a stylish little number, with dark wood floors providing a contrast to the restaurant’s long, sleek and white interior. Donostia rings with a comfortable and contemporary casualness, and has a menu that lists many temptations. Located on trendy Seymour Place, it is neighbours with its sister restaurant Lurra, which I also visited last year.
I first went to Donostia in 2012 and at the time I liked the experience, but felt that in certain areas the cooking could have been better. Visit number two, and this time around I felt like I couldn’t get enough.
A mini wagyu beef burger (£5.60) was flavoursome and very enjoyable. It was a teeny tiny thing, so not ideal for sharing. But it was packed with flavour and nicely fatty and juicy. The toasted bun was soft and sweet, and the crunchy purple potato crisps went nicely with it.
A dish of skrei cod with arroz negro (£14.20) was a touch salty, but otherwise this was a stunning plate of food. I love skrei cod from Norway. It’s a beautiful delicate piece of fish that flakes ever so nicely, and is abundant with flavour. At Donostia, they did the fish proud as it was perfectly cooked. The arroz negro was also very tasty and deep with the flavour of the squid. It was nicely done, but as mentioned, a touch salty.
We really enjoyed the foie gras (£5.60) with walnuts and PX vinegar served on a slice of toasted sourdough. The foie gras was unctuous and rich, and it paired really well with the sweet, slight acidity of the vinegar. The use of walnuts was a wonderful addition as it provided some crunchiness.
I had a disappointing dessert experience at Donostia’s sister restaurant Lurra last year and so I initially had reservations about trying the dessert at Donostia. But despite that, I found myself to be really impressed with the torrija with mint ice cream (£5.20). Similar to a bread pudding where the brioche bread had been soaked in milk, there was a lovely lightness to the torrija, not to mention a beautiful creamy taste.
And the mint ice cream? Well I am not a big fan of mint ice cream. On most occasions I find the mint too overpowering. But here, the use of the mint was very well judged and perfectly delicate. The pairing of the two proved to be, surprisingly, an excellent choice. This is a special Easter dessert and so unfortunately will probably no longer be available.
We were well satisfied with the quantify of food that we ordered, but easily could have eaten more. Everything was really delicious and far more accomplished than I remembered from before. Donostia is a sleek, well-tuned affair with excellent food. The service was also very good.
1) All of the food was delicious, particularly the skrei cod (even if it was a little salty).
2) I adored the torrija – it had a beautiful texture and flavour.
1) The skrei cod was a little salty.
Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.5/5
Prices: About £35 to £45 a head.