Donostia brings Basque cuisine to London’s West End

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Spain

Ten of Donostia's 40 seats are at a dining bar from which guests will be able to watch chefs preparing the food in an open kitchen
Ten of Donostia's 40 seats are at a dining bar from which guests will be able to watch chefs preparing the food in an open kitchen
Donostia – a 40-cover restaurant serving food in the style of northern Spain’s Basque region – is set to open its doors in London’s Portman Village next month.

The new concept is the brainchild of couple and first-time business partners Nemanja Borjanovic and Melody Jayne Adams. Located on the site of the former Mura Japanese restaurant, Donostia will serve up a range of tapas and pintxos.

“This is our first business venture together and has been born from a shared love of the Basque cuisine,” Jayne Adams told BigHospitality. “Since we first stopped off in San Sebastian (‘Donostia’ in Basque) over three years ago, we spoke about how someone should open a Basque restaurant in London.

“We identify with a lot of values that the Basque gastronomy stands for - simple ingredients, well-sourced and prepared to the highest standard - we want to bring a small slice of that here.

“We believe Donostia’s Basque focus provides the right level of differentiation to create something new and exciting, yet not untested. Every day we receive calls and enquiries from people wanting to reserve a table, so we’re taking this as a good sign.”

On the menu

Head chef Tomas Baranski, who previously ran the kitchen at acclaimed Spanish restaurant Barrafina in Soho, will oversee an open kitchen, aiming to ‘introduce a different way of preparing some well-known ingredients.’

Donostia's menu will feature:

  • Pil-Pil Cod – “This is a traditional Basque method of preparing the fish by poaching it slowly in olive oil and creating a white sauce from the oil,” explains Jayne Adams. “It uses few ingredients but requires great quality as well as care and attention.”
  • Charcuterie – “Derived from the rare,breed, free-range Basque Kintoa pig, which feeds on acorns, chestnuts and beechnuts to give an exceptional flavour to the ham.”
  • Txakoli white wine will feature on the drinks list alongside other whites, reds and rosés from small, family-run vineyards, as well as natural cider.

Michelin star standards

With the likes of Mugaritz placing third in last year's World's 50 Best Restaurants​, Jayne Adams spoke of the appeal that Basque restaurant concepts can have in the UK.

She added: “There is a lot of cross-over with Spanish and French food in Basque cooking, so while it may have not been classed as ‘Basque’, many of the recipes and techniques of top chefs are adopted from this region. San Sebastian has the highest density of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita in the world, so the influence from this region at the forefront of cuisine is huge.”

Donostia will open in 10 Seymour Place. The specific opening date is yet to be confirmed. For more information on the restaurant, visit www.donostia.co.uk​. 

Related topics: Business, Venues, Restaurants

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