This was probably my 4th dinner reservation at Donostia and for some mysterious reason, every time I had planned a dinner there, it got cancelled. Finally went there with a friend from work and his wife after a Princeton Alumni event (my husband attended…I am not that smart).
Tapas are always better when we have more than two people, which was the case, and we were all ravenous.
What we ate:
Pan con tomate: always a classic but it can swing from good to outstanding (at Atelier in Vegas for example, it is magical http://www.mgmgrand.com/restaurants/atelier-joel-robuchon-french-restaurant.aspx ). This one was on the very good side but not outstanding, a couple of sprinkles of a good salt and maybe some basil would have made it great. But the bread was fresh and crispy and the tomatoes perfectly peeled, cubed and fresh.
Mixed salad with orange and hazelnut: very light and healthy, easy on the eyes and on the palate.
Mini Wagyu beef burger: I had heard from my friend that these were great burgers. Since I had been to Ember Yard (http://emberyard.co.uk/) recently and had the best sliders ever, all others have been ruined. This was good but not amazing. They could have been juicier and with some melting yummy cheese on top for perfection would help. None of us were big fans of the purple potato chips.
Charcuterie selection with salchichon, chorizo Iberico de Bellota and Bayonne ham: good but the iberico could have been sliced thinner (thicker bits of fat are just not that enticing unless we are talking lardo on warm bread…).
Tortilla Bacalao: typical spanish tortilla but with cod, spinach and onions. It was piping hot and surprisingly delicious. The cod added a subtle taste and was not overpowering and the balance of spinach and onions made it perfectly gooey inside. It was so yummy we also decided to try the regular tortilla
Classic Tortilla: We expected another amazing one as the tortilla with cod was exceptional. This one had an absurd amount of onions, and they were too caramelized and made it overly liquid and sweet inside
Octopus in basque marinade: as you know, I am an Octopus fanatic. When we sat down, our friends said that the only thing they don’t eat is octopus so we were bad team players when we still ordered it. We should have skipped as the sauce was overly smoky and overpowered the delicate thin slices, which were almost too thin. I also like my octopus grilled and this was boiled only.
Cod with arroz negro (black rice): this dish was visually gorgeous and blew us away. It was a gorgeous piece of flaky white cod, perfectly cooked and seasoned and placed delicately on gooey black rice, that was al-dente to perfection and creamier like the best risottos should be. We cleaned every bite on the plate, and it was a generous portion.
Ibérico pork shoulder with romesco sauce: the waiter asked if we wanted two portions as each serving has two pieces of pork. Thankfully we decided to try one and order more if needed. The romesco was fantastic but the pork was too fatty and a bit stringy and not worth repeating.
In Sum: good food, cute ambiance and a great backup to have in London as reservations are not impossible to get.
Seymour Place, London W1H 7ND
+44203 6201 84510