Donde review: Eat tapas the way it’s supposed to be eaten in this relaxed restaurant
Honor Oak in South East London may not be your first thought of a location for a great tapas restaurant. However, Donde is a wonderful new addition to local culinary scene, bringing a relaxed and enjoyable eating experience. Opened in September 2013 on the site of a former Tapas restaurant, Donde features a bar and restaurant in two adjoining rooms. The restaurant is simple and modern – leaving the focus on the food and atmosphere. Wood chip tables are dotted around with orange and blue chairs against a colourful backdrop of a wall mural featuring Spanish scenes.
Upon arrival, our group of six were shown to a table by the arch separating the bar from the dining area. As it was a Tuesday, we opted for the ‘two Tapas for £7’ offer for many of our dishes (this offer applies daily within different time slots). The menu is split into straightforward sub-sections of meat, fish, vegetarian, cured meat, cheese, patatas (potato) and salad. Although it took us a while to choose what we wanted, we eventually remembered the beauty of tapas is you can just order more as you go along – something not so easy to do in other cuisines. We ordered a bottle of Codorniu Cava, a dry and refreshing bubbly. As well as beer on taps and a selection of spirits, there is also a small, but good value list of cocktails and mocktails.
To start with we ordered bread, olives and aioli. The bread was locally sourced sourdough which was light and tasty – perfect as you never want to eat heavy bread which will fill you up before your mains arrive. The aioli was really good, with the garlic a more subtle flavour than other aiolis I’ve eaten so less detrimental to your breath! We ordered roughly 3 tapas per person to be shared amongst us, as well as the vegetarian platter (briam, pisto empanadilla, manchego & quince, marinated peppers & feta, olives, fine bean, shallot salad, salmorejo and freshly baked local bread). Among my favourite dishes were the sautéed king prawns, marinated in garlic, olive and lemon. They come in their shells so be prepared to make some effort for your food, but were cooked to perfection and were really delicious. The patatas bravas were good, with the spice milder than usual which I actually prefer. The meatballs in a rosemary tomato fritada also went down well with the group. Overall, the experience was good. The service was friendly and the restaurant was a lot more relaxed venue than most. After our meal, we ended up staying to drink another bottle. The food was tasty, well cooked and very good value. I’ll definitely be back.
- Donde, 37–39 Honor Oak Park, Honor Oak, SE23 1DZ. Nearest train: Honor Oak (overground and National Rail). For more information, visit the Donde website.
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