Currently (July 2007) my top recommendation for modern European. The best meal we've eaten in quite a long time. We had an early dinner after watching the beginning of the Tour de France - just one main course each, plus one desert shared between four, one (good, Chilean) bottle of wine, iced tap water, and coffee. All delicious - "historic", as Michael Winner would say. Organic Welsh beef was melt-in-the mouth, chocolate desert orgasmic. Service very friendly and helpful. c. £30 per head. Thoroughly recommended - we'll be back.
Favorite Dish: As above
On a culinary website that I frequent, I read with great interest about a new restaurant called Arbutus opening up in Soho. The owners were well renowned restaurateurs in London, and I had the feeling that their new venture was going to be worth checking out. Then when I heard that they were offering 50% off food for the first 4 days of trading, I was even keener!
So, I booked a table for 4 for opening night - and hoped that they would hit the ground running….and they did.
Located close to Soho Square, Arbutus is a classy looking restaurant, offering international cuisine with a bit of a French slant. The design is fresh and airy, service was impressive for opening night, and the food was very good, and excellent value, even without the discount.
One of the best things about Arbutus is that all of the wines on the well selected list are available in a 250ml carafe, giving you a great opportunity to try a few different wines with your meal. Only complaints would be that it was quite noisy once the place filled up, and the lack of side plates for bread.
Favorite Dish: So, to the food. For entrée, Anita had the Warm cod brandade, young squid, sea purslane, parsley cromesqui, Kelly had the Smoked eel, pressed beetroot, horseradish cream, young leaves, and Alex had the Chicken sot-l'y-laisse (oysters), macaroni, broad beans, lemon thyme and hazelnuts. I tried them all and enjoyed the Chicken Oysters the best, but all were yum and well presented.
Main courses - Kelly and I both had the Elwy valley rump of lamb, tortellini of goats cheese, artichokes, tomato, Taggiascha olives, which was absolutely delicious!! The lamb was perfectly cooked and the goats cheese tortellini the perfect accompaniment. Alex had the Breast of veal lacquered with spices, butternut squash, cavolo nero and Anita had the Roast rabbit, shoulder cottage pie, Hispi cabbage, mustard sauce, which was also pretty special.
Well, we just had to sample some desserts. Kelly decided to keep it savoury and had a couple of cheeses which she deemed most tasty. Anita and Alex both ordered the Warm chocolate soup, caramelized brioche, pecan nuts and I had the Floating island with pink praline, custard, mainly because I was intrigued by the name! All desserts were really tasty.
We tried a few different wines throughout the meal and enjoyed them all. All the meals were above average in flavour and presentation. Basically it was a fabulous night, and we will return one day soon.