Forster was most recently executive chef at D&D London’s Pont de la Tour, where in 2015 he oversaw its refurbishment of the dining room and its casual bar and brasserie space, and introduced a new menu.
Forster’s cooking style draws on modern French cuisine and traditional techniques, with a career that also includes time as head chef at The Ritz, under John Williams; head chef at the Boundary restaurant; and roles at Le Gavroche, L’Aubergine with Gordon Ramsay, and with Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons.
The chef has now created a new, now-launched a la carte menu for the 90-cover The Don.
Housed within a Grade I listed building on St Swithins Lane, The Don is part of the Bleeding Heart Restaurants group, owned by Robert and Robyn Wilson, and first opened in November 2000.
It is named after the ‘black-caped figure’ of The Don, which was the symbol of the Sandeman Port and Sherry house, set up in 1789 on the site.
It has two dining spaces, including the White Room decorated with John Hoyland paintings; and the Old Restaurant, also with Hoyland paintings, high ceilings, and a double height wine tower.
There is also a private dining room, the brick-vaulted Sandeman Room in the Cellar.
The menu of ‘a dining revolution’
Forster’s new menu includes slow-cooked Burford brown egg with wild asparagus, mushrooms, and spring truffle sabayon; a fricassé of Herons farm lamb sweetbreads with gnocchi, broad beans, and a haricot bean broth.
There is also roast monkfish tail with glazed mussels, purple sprouting broccoli, Jersey royals and bouillabaisse sauce; and Angus fillet of beef with turnips, Girolle mushrooms, grelot onions, pancetta, and red wine sauce.
Desserts include raspberries and white chocolate tart; milk chocolate and peanut pavé; and Braeburn apple tatin with crème fraiche and vanilla ice cream; and British and French cheeses.
Starters begin at £8, main courses at £18, and desserts at £7.50. The lunchtime set menu is priced at £27 for two courses and £32 for three. Average spend is £60 for two people including drinks.
The restaurant still stores its wine in the building’s original cellars. Arnaud Fiol is head sommelier, while Christopher Delalonde is the group head of wine.
There are over 400 old and new world wines on the list, plus 25 Champagnes, including bottles from the Wilsons’ vineyard, Trinity Hill, in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.
The restaurant’s group general manager is Nicolás Garcia.
“City eating is going through such a dramatic change right now, with so many great new places opening,” says Robyn Wilson. “We want to be a part of that dining revolution.”
The Bleeding Heart Restaurants group includes the Bleeding Heart The Restaurant, The Bistro, The Crypt, and The Tavern.