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Arbutus - opening soon in Soho

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Popped in here on Thursday night for an impromptu meal at the bar. Realised after I'd ordered that I had chosen the same things as my first visit just after it had opened (squid & mackeral burger followed by rabbit saddle/cottage pie). A small carafe of Tyrell's verdhelo (sp.?) followed by the same of a Margaret River cab Sauv went down well, the latter lasting till the cheese course.

The 'burger' was as good as I remembered, the pie excellent but the saddle underseasoned.

£75 inc. tip - no longer is this a cheap place (if it ever was).

I am off to Wild Honey on Sunday evening and will be interesting to compare.

Incidentally, about 80% of the diners were male.

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Winot, I missed you! I was sat in the main body of the restaurant and it certainly wasn't 80% male!

I only returned so soon as I was hoping for cassoulet which didn't make it onto the menu because of the mild weather :rolleyes: Crispy pork cheeks (from the pre theatre menu) came with capers and lentils, freebie of Gurnard with Tapenade and Bouillabaisse sauce, Rose Veal loin is decent quality but (and its not a biggy) I would prefer to see it on the bone. Interesting Squash with chocolate and coffee to finish. The chocolate fondant was still as good as the other week.

I agree it has gone up a little but 4 of us still managed to come out at £63 a head including £90 on wine.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Winot and Matthew, I missed you both! Seems Thursday night was eGullet night at Arbutus! I was in about 6pm-8pm, sat with a mate in the main room in a table that backed onto the dividing wall to the bar. I reckon it was 70/30 male/female in there, we had a table of four girls next to us which skewed the demographic mix a little.

We need some special eGullet badges or some-such. Maybe a handshake. Or even a funny walk.

I thought the food was generally very good, and was stonking value. We did the pre-theatre menu - three courses for £17. All cheap produce, and far from overwhelming portions, but deftly and tastily put together to create a well-judged and satisfying dining experience. This is going to become a regular early-evening stop-off for me.

Crispy pigs cheek came reformed as a tasty little pressed cake, with gribiche sauce and leaves. Main was a knock-out rabbit moutarde stew;/;. the meat was beautiful, and the veg judged to perfection - wafer-thin slices of carrot, spinach wilted but with bite, and celery that tasted so celery-ish (as Gregg Wallace might say) that it defied belief. Pudding was panacotta with stewed apple; ridiculously simple but delicious.

We also shared a starter of the squid and mackeral burgers as they are a wonderful signature dish and my friend hadn't been before. Sadly they were the only let-down of the night as they were slightly undercooked with floury raw batter in the centre.

The service was bright and buzzy, the room as inoffensive as ever, and all in all it was a seriously good option for grabbing a quick early evening meal. I'll be back again, and I won't leave it so long this time.



It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Really enjoyed Arbutus and in particular the starters especially (had 2) the squid burger & the Hare because of Matthews recommendation. The Hare & Polenta was my favourite serving and was a massive portion.

Love the carafe of booze like everyone else. Left with enormous sense of wellbeing. I much preferred Arbutus over La Gavroche (with the exception of cheese trolley) the decor & service, of which, made me feel I was on a White Star Liner and someone was about to announce a collision with an iceberg.

Hare & Polenta


Squid Burger


Slow Roast Tri-Tip, (which had been "roasted" but not enough to denature a line of white fat in the interior)


Beef came with a cocotte of dauphinoise


Chocolate Mousse with salted caramel ice cream


And because I'd just heard about Keen's Cheddar on Radio4's Food program, I couldn't resist.


Loved the cheese so much that I headed down to Neal's Yard Dairy to find some the next day.

They were insistent that I not refrigerate it, so it is sat in the chamber of my vacuum packer.


Edited by adey73 (log)
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  • 2 months later...

After reading about it on this thread for god knows how long, I finally went on saturday. Completely full for pre-theatre. We ate the squid burger, saddle of rabbit and from the pre-theatre menu a kale and potato soup and saddle of lamb. All was bloody lovely. Very impressed with the soup - such simple ingredients producing a great full flavour.

Shared a desert, two carafes, bottle of water £73 including service.

I ain't gonna complain about that.

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  • 11 months later...

Arbutus for lunch yesterday, not been for a long time, to long in fact

Good bread and butter as always, well priced wine

A mixture of starters all pretty good, tripe went down better than expected, pigs head was good deep flavour

Just cannot help but feel the squid mackerel burger had that little to much garlic

Mains, again all cooked to perfection, pork belly de jour beautiful and piggy, rabbit looked sharp and tasted better, Bavette as tasty as you will get

Cod a great size portion and could not be cooked any better anywhere in London

Desserts, what can I say ?

Apple tatin 3star without a shadow of a doubt, even better than the classic Ramsay version, the Greenhouse should go to Arbutus for a Master Class!!!!! a very poor attempt recently for dinner there, it was absoulutly perfect, everybody should have the chance to eat it!!

Also brulee as good as you get, and the cold chocolate fondant/mousse again as perfect as you can get, all simple but technically perfect

Service as good as ever, they really do have it just right at Arbutus, to me it is definatly one of the best restaurants in London!!!!

Will be back soon

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Can't agree more about Arbutus (and also thier sister restaurant Wild Honey) excellent food and great VFM. It's a shame about the third offering - Les Deux Salons. Food was no where near up to the same standards, service was really poor and to make matters worse a constructive email with a few complaints went unanswered. If you get the chanve visit Arbutus and Wild Honey but avoid Les Deux Salons.

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  • 9 months later...

Didn't this use to be a place where it was hard to get into, even at lunch? Yesterday (Monday) I had the 'working lunch', the restaurant was very quiet.

For me, it remains THE best value for money lunch in town.

The 'Italian style' vegetable soup had excellent flavours and a nice variety of vegetables, though the two bits of pasta in it were quite horrendous (and in any case putting nothing is better than putting two pieces).

A silver mullet was cooked beautifully and the accompanying vegetables were turned and prepared with class.

Cheeses were OK, actually more than OK considering they were part of a £16 meal.

And the coffee was far better than, e.g., at Pied a Terre. It was a proper Italian espresso.

I'd be a very regular customer if I worked/lived nearby.

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We lunched there on Saturday. First time. One set lunch, same selection as man. One alc, veal with pasta and olive oil to start. Rabbit loin with shoulder cottage pie for main. That washed down with a couple of caraffes of wine made for a good lunch. They were full on Saturday.


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I had a lovely meal here on Friday night, we were looked after very well and ate what ever Anthony served to us (literally).The room has been done up, rustic wooden tables, marble bar, some interesting new artwork etc. Not that I thought it needed freshening up but it looks a lot fresher. For transparency some of these dishes were comped.

Purple sprouting Broccoli, Italian Lardo with a caesar mayonnaise - excellent Lardo, I believe it was from Antica Macelleria Falorni, just a small amount of the dressing on the served, strongly flavoured with anchovies.

Buffalo Mozzerella with slow roasted Onions and white balsamic vinegar

Fresh ricotta Gnocchi "gnudi" served with a lovely tomato/nduja sauce

Cod fillet, crisp chicken wings, sweetcorn and yuzu puree was really good, the yuzu adding an interesting citrus note and a touch of acidity and the cod about as perfectly cooked as it gets.

Grilled Scottish Beef, salsify, autumn vegetable puree and red wine sauce had a beautiful piece of buccleuch bavette, not normally a breed that I'm keen on but in this cut it had excellent flavour and texture.

Pear, butternut, coffee and chestnut.

English treacle tart with creme fraiche

Pear Clafoutis - a highlight for me, not as eggy/dense as some clafoutis and I was pleased to get the chance to have a portion to myself after missing out at Wild Honey a few weeks ago.

Overall a lovely meal after a bit of a protracted absence, I've commented on it before but consistency at Wild Honey and Arbutus is a massive plus, its difficult to be completely impartial but still my "go to" restaurant when entertaining friends or recommending somewhere to eat in London.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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When i started working in london i though i'd be hammering the prix fixe menus at arbutus but for whatever reason i never made it but often recommended it so with some time to kill before a train on tuesday i decided a treat was in order and headed over for a late lunch.

I've met anthony a few times and we usually have a good chat, though matt's red carpet and vip room treatment ;) this time was no different and he popped up with some of the lardo on bread which was excellent and sent over a gratis gnudi also very good, i did detect a distinct franco/italian slant to the menu which i thought was usually predominantly french, this is not a problem as they are my favourite two cuisines.

Starter proper was the squid and mackerel burger , which i've never had, by this time all thoughts of set lunch were out ofthe window! A really excellent dish worthy of the praise that of course iwouldn't order in amillion years if i hadn' theard of it but it fully lived up to the hype.

Main was slow cooked veal breast with spaghetti squash and dauphinoise pots, the veal managed to simultaneously hold its shape whilst being uber unctous, and the cocotte of dauphonoise world class.

Unfortunately running short on time i did manange a swift treacle tart and large espresso, a carafe of gruner and nz pinot completeted the tally. A lovely lunch in a convivial room, prices alc really are good considering how quickly large bills can be racked up in the 'small plate' emporiums that proliferate in soho/london.

I won't leave it so long to return.

you don't win friends with salad

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  • 1 year later...

I'm a fan of Arbutus even though I only go about once a year - I never had a poor dish here, no matter how cheap the menu from which it was taken. Today at lunch I had a two course meal a la carte: the S&M burger, much praise has been bestowed upon it and it is all true, even if mine today was for my taste a bit salty; and the rabbit loin with shoulder cottage pie and the pancetta and the endive, a surefire hit of a dish if cooked well, and this one certainly was.

For me Arbutus lacks the environment to be the place for a great relaxed meal in the complete sense, everything feels a bit rushed and cramped and noisy and the waiters always appear a little inexperienced and I would not take a friend there unless she was a terminal foodie. But certainly the best place I know where to have a great solo lunch straight to the point.

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