Dion, 65 St Paul’s Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AB Tel: 020 7248 8880 www.dionlondon.co.uk
We went to Dion for lunch. This bar restaurant, which runs along the side of St Paul’s Cathedral, has a slightly retro feel, drawing on 1970’s style in its decor. The central bar on the ground floor has high chairs and tables along its length and at the two ends with booths on the more sheltered area at the back of the bar, which give you a more secluded feel. There is external seating at its main entrance with views into the gardens to the back of the Cathedral.
Dion’s lunch menu is more extensive than that for the evening which has its focus on bar food, though several of these are starter dishes from the lunch menu and we can assure you that these are not small. Torn as ever by the range of choices we decided to go for three starters to share, which was a bit of a tactical error as it made getting though to dessert somewhat more difficult than it might have been. But of course dear reader, we did it all for you and we bore this minor difficulty valiantly, as ever!
So to our starters, we ordered the onion tart with poached egg, antipasto misto and Serrano ham, fig and buffalo mozzarella salad. These three quite substantial plates turned up at our table and our eyes popped. The onion tart was a lovely light puff pastry tart with a quite delicate onion filling on top of which was a perfectly poached egg, not terribly easy to share, but we managed, the combination worked very well, the egg yolk providing a kind of sauce for the onion topping of the tart. The antipasto, was a plate with thinly sliced full flavoured Serrano ham, good chorizo, some of which was plain and some spiced with paprika, in addition there was mozzarella, olives, a small pile of rocket and some red pepper, it was served with some char grilled bread and a drizzle of olive oil. This is a dish perfect for sharing and a great mix of flavours. The Serrano ham with mozzarella and fig was another substantial dish, mixed with rocket leaves and with a basil dressing there were similarities to the antipasto misto, but the fresh fig added nicely to the cheese ham and rocket mix. These were, all three, very good starter dishes.
For mains we had chosen the ‘pie of the week’, chicken and chorizo pie and the grilled sirloin steak. The pie had a piped mashed potato topping under which was a very tasty creamy cheese sauce packed with hunks of chicken and chunky pieces on the chorizo. These all came together well to make an excellent, tasty mouthful. The steak was a good sized cut of meat, cooked perfectly, medium rare as requested and very tender, its great flavour enhanced by the peppercorn dipping sauce it came with. This was also accompanied by a huge bowl of crispy coated chips. We also ordered a side of tomato and basil salad which was lovely and refreshing.
We were quite full after getting through most, if not all of these dishes, but we felt that we must try dessert, purely for the sake of completeness you understand. We decided to share a portion of the lemon tart with chocolate ice cream. This individual tart had an excellent crisp, sharp lemon filling, nicely presented with a slice of lemon on top and a sprinkling of icing sugar. The ice cream had a full bodied, adult, chocolate flavour and was sat atop a sprinkling of toasted chopped hazelnut, each of the elements of the dessert were excellent and they came together well.
Dion has an extensive bar. Cocktails range up from £8.50, we had the ‘house’ white with our meal, an Argentine Pinot Blanc which had a nicely crisp, dry fruitiness to it and we thought was good value at just under £17 a bottle, or £4.25 for a 175 ml glass. Service was excellent, anticipating our needs well. This is a great place for a lunch or an evening gathering during the week, the food is great and it was quite clear that there were a number of their customers visit regularly, always a good sign. It’s worth checking out whether you work nearby, you are just up in town doing the sites one day, or anything in between really.
We understand that there is live entertainment on Wednesday evenings when the popular Allstars band play and there are bar areas on the lower ground floor which would be ideal for private parties. It is certainly worth looking at their website above for what’s happening both at St Pauls and the City branch in Leadenhall Street.