Donostia is the Basque word for San Sebastián. Anyone who is passionate about food will know that San Sebastián in the Basque region of Spain has the most Michelin starred restaurants per capita. Donostia is also a tapas restaurant situated just behind Marble Arch. I love sharing food because that way I can get a taste of lots of different things. I’m also greedy and often have plate envy, so tapas is a win/win situation for me.
Donostiahas been on my radar for a while and I was even more excited to be eating there when I saw the pictures that Nigel Slater posted on Twitter earlier this week of the food he was eating there. I was looking forward to great food and a fantastic catch up with one of my besties.
Bestie left me in charge of ordering and since she’s not mad keen on meat, I ordered a lot of fish dishes. The fish part of the menu read beautifully though, so I probably would’ve ordered a lot of fish anyway! So here we go…
‘Crispy creamy croquettas with jamon’ (3.50) from the Pintxo section – this was my favourite dish of all. As the name suggests, the croquettas were indeed crispy and oh so creamy with chunks of jamon running through.
From the cold plates section I ordered ‘Olagarroa: octopus with Basque marinade’ (£8.20). This was one of the pics that Nigel Slater had posted and it looked beautiful, so I had to order it. The octopus was tender and the olive oil drizzled over the top was delicious, really good quality clearly. But the dish was overpowered by too much smoked paprika.
I ordered ‘Tortilla Bacalhao: Classic egg tortilla with cod and spinach’ (£6.50) from the Tapas section. As tortillas go, this had to be one of the best ones I’ve had. I’ve never had one that was still soft in the middle, but it was delicious. Really well seasoned, lovely texture from the cod and the spinach adding colour and a lovely iron richness to the dish.
‘Txipirones: Crisp fried baby squid with lemon’ (£6.90) I love squid/calamari/octopus. Especially when it’s battered and deep fried. These little bad boys were delicious and the lemon added a nice zing, but just not enough zing. We also thought that an aioli would’ve been really nice with it.
From the meat section I ordered ‘Arkumea: Lamb steak with caramelised baby onion and a red wine sauce’ (£7.80). I really liked this dish. The sauce was really rich and the meat was tender. I loved the sweetness that the baby onions brought to the dish. If I’d had more bread, I would’ve mopped up the sauce and squashed the onions onto it. Mmmmm.
‘Pluma: succulent pork shoulder with romesco sauce’ (£12.50) There was no denying the quality of the Iberico pork used in this dish. It was absolutely beautiful. Cooked crispy on the outside but still very pink in the middle. The meat really was delicious. The romesco sauce on the other hand let this dish down in a big way. The best way to describe it is bland. No single flavour stood out, I couldn’t really taste any red pepper or almonds or garlic. It had the look of a really good romesco, but just didn’t taste like one.
Lastly, I ordered ‘Patatas bravas’ (£3.50) or chips and dip! The bravas sauce was very good, punchy with just the right amount of heat. But it was served on the side of a pile of chips. Kinda disappointing.
For dessert we shared a cheese board with 12 month aged Manchego, Idiazabal, Picos, Epoisses and smoked chilli jam (£8.50) which were all very nice, although we did have to ask for more bread. A slice each was never going to be enough.
Service was attentive and it was great to watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. I liked that the chefs came out and presented some of the dishes. Overall though, I thought the food a bit hit and miss. Some fabulous dishes, but it just didn’t blow me away. I’ve had better tapas elsewhere.The bill for two including service a bottle of wine, 2 more glasses of wine, a bottle of water and 2 glasses of sherry came to £131.71.
This week I will be going to the soft opening of the new Jason Atherton restaurant ‘Social Eating House’. I have loved both his other restaurants, so I am looking forward to another great meal!
Until we eat again!