Modern bistro in Soho
Arbutus is a contemporary bistro in Soho, with a Michelin star and perhaps the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in London. According to its website, it is known for "turning seasonal and inexpensive food items into affordable and interesting dishes". With a 3 course lunch menu costing less than £20, I went for its pre theatre menu wondering if I was getting a real bargain.
|tartare of mackerel and salmon, English beetroot|
|soft poached egg, squash veloute|
The menu got off to a decent start with my starter of tartare of mackerel and salmon, the sweet and earthy taste of the beetroot along with the sourness of the yoghurt added great harmony to the well seasoned fishes. Soft poached egg with pink grapefruit was an interesting idea to give the dish a contrast of creamy and citrus flavour. My main of slow cooked mutton was a real full flavour dish with elements of pine nut and spinach. Strong middle east influences there with mild peppery tones and spices.
|slow cooked mutton, moussaka|
|cod, Brussels sprout leaves, quinoa|
|Fribourg, Williams pear|
|toffee and date pudding, toasted rice ice cream|
In the end for me the cooking was better than most of your high street bistros, but in terms of quality it is still not quite Michelin status. Service wise it could also be better as our waiter had a stone cold looking face while engaging us which I found rather unpleasant. But if you forget the expectation of a Michelin Star, without a doubt the cooking at Arbutus is solid and definitely value for money.
What I paid:
£30 per head with a cocktail
Average cost without drinks and services:
Lunch menu: £19.95
Dinner menu: £35
63-64 Frith St, London W1D 3JW