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The Sign of the Don, St. Swithin’s London


Sign of the Don, Table Dining

No. 20 St Swithin’s Lane may strike a memory for food lovers within London City as it houses the award winning restaurant The Don. The Don is owned and managed by Robert & Robyn Wilson whom Court Catering have had a strong relationship with for over 20 years. The experienced coalition between the two parties have produced famed sites such as The Bleeding Heart restaurants, but more recently The Wilsons had a vision to swell the centuries old building on St.Swithin's Lane by expanding 6,000 square foot through into No. 21, branding the new sibling Bar, Bistro and Private Rooms; The Sign of the Don.

The project was not without hurdles due to the grade II listed nature of the building. This began to show several challenges during the project relating to ventilation, ducting, drainage & power. Court Catering worked together with the British Heritage Foundation, Robert & Robyn's great vision and the head of operations for The Don Giuseppe De Wilde to maximise the best possible outcome within the given constraints.

Managing Director Nick Howe and Project Manager Vic O'Connor produced intuitive designs and suggestions to accommodate the challenging needs for a sustainable kitchen within a building that can be traced back to 1342. An all-electric kitchen reduced the extract and therefore a ventilation system became viable. Previously The Don was producing 3 bins of rubbish every week with food waste being collected twice a day. Courts fitted a Meiko GTS tank waste system by shoehorning the 5000 litre tank into the basement of the building together with a compactor, and glasscrusher. The site at St. Swithin’s Lane (both the Don and the Sign of the Don) now only produces 1 bin of rubbish per week as well as food waste collection being reduced by over 90% even though the site has nearly doubled in size. Robert Wilson quoted "Later this year the external bin storage area, disguised by fencing and planting, will no longer be required and will be replaced with seating and tables, adding another 12 covers and creating visual interest”.

To make the restaurant shine above others in London, Robert Wilson wanted another focal point besides the great bistro food he would serve. The discovery of an underground blocked off tunnel dating back to before the 18th century, provided him with the muse he needed, this underground chamber was converted into a tasting room and complimented with 3 metre high wine towers by Williams Refrigeration suggested and installed by Court Catering. The stand out site The Sign of the Don has already been acknowledged for its taste, charm and character winning Court Catering Medium Project of the Year award & The overall Project of the Year as recognised at the CEDA Grand Prix Awards 2014 and runner up in Footprint Magazine Energy Efficient Awards


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