Arbutus is a hidden gem within Soho that was opened in 2006 by Anthony Demetre and Will Smith. It has a lovely relaxed atmosphere and decor. You wouldn’t know they received one michelin star in 2007 until you see the artistic plates and good service.
They pride themselves on affordable but yet incredible dishes with an extensive wine list to accompany the food, which has the speciality of being available by 250ml carafes as well as bottles. This allowed us to have an amazing montepulciano (bringing back memories from Tuscany) which would normally be way out of our price range when bought by the bottle.
Now Lawrence and I were taking advantage of having the set menu at £39 each with a lovely elderflower, prosecco cocktail to start off the evening. This deal can be booked here although it’s only on until the end of the month. However they do have a daily pre theatre menu which is equally good and great value at just £25 for 3 courses.
Due to my perhaps adventurous choice of going for pig’s head to start I was on my own with this one. Boy was it good though, if you didn’t know what it was then I’m sure many people would love this, tender pork meat with a slight crispy outside and accompanied by fresh piccalilli and fermented ramsons.
Lawrence had the salad of black iberica tomatoes, strawberry and basil salsa which wasn’t life changing but think he was feeling a little stuck in choices for the starter.
Onto the mains which we did go halves on, first up the John dory with wild mushrooms, asparagus, freekeh wheat and brown shrimp. It was a good mix of ingredients but perhaps a little bland in flavours compared to the next main…
Which was the short rib of beef, wild mushrooms, tropea onions and corno peppers. Gorgeous flavours and rich meat with the perfect texture, lovely dish.
Now the puddings were amazing, I opted for the rose water scented cheese cake, yorkshire rhubarb and fraises des bois. Creamy, melt in the mouth cheesecake with the fresh strawberries, rhubarb and sorbet – up there with one of my favourite desserts.
Lawrence, not one to miss out on a circular pastry style tart went for the apricot clafoutis with vanilla ice cream. After an apparently disappointing tarte tatin at lunchtime with a soggy bottom he was incredibly happy with his choice of dessert.
It was a lovely evening and hopefully will be making a few more trips down that way from work for the pre theatre menu. If you miss out on the Arbutus deal then you can find many more equally great London restaurant deals at Bookatable, worth giving it a gander.