I was kind of hoping for a mini sanctuary, in which a contemporary restaurant sat amidst the flowering Arbutus trees as the name would suggest, however this is urban living so I was pretty impressed to see that Arbutus was in fact nestled into Frith street, the coolest street in soho (thanks to Ronnie Scott’s down the road).
Pleasantly greeted by eagerly awaiting staff, arriving at 6:00pm, there were a handful of people already seated eagerly awaiting their food but soon the restaurant was packed with cheerful diners. We were there in time for the pre-theatre menu (you may have noticed a pattern occurring I generally choose pre-theatre menus from quality restaurants over a la carte in ok restaurants – why not, a little more tasteful than pizza express a la carte). Giving us delicious options of 3 course meal for just £18-95, and an amuse bouche of bread and butter (I’m sure you get one if you don’t have the cheapo menu).
I started with the Salad of Crisp Pork cheeks, delicious little patties of succulent pork cheek, compressed and fried to give a crispy outer layer with a soft shredded centre, served with Puy lentils in a creamy dressing, a bright green parsley puree, with fine slices of radish and baby lettuce leaves. A really delicious plateful of food that hopefully if I can get my hands on some pork cheeks I will try and get hold of the recipe for you. (And indeed I have, check out the recipe here)
The second starter option was Classic fish soup with Rouille and croutes. The flavour of the fish soup was as you would expect in a Michelin starred restaurant, silky smooth and packed full of flavour. Served with of course the classic rouille, with an addition of olive tapenade for the croutes.
For my main meal I opted for the Cornish Silver Mullet, White Beans, Tomatoes. Although the fish had a delicious flavour which really captured the essence of the sea, I didn’t take too greatly to the texture, which seemed kind of bitty and flaky. The firm white beans added a nice contrast in texture to the creamy white bean puree, and soft, juicy skinned cherry tomatoes. I enjoyed the braised chives, a nice touch, as was the intensely flavoured golden fish sauce, a reduction of the fish soup
The other main meal option was Confit duck leg, sautéed potatoes. Succulent duck meat encased in a crispy skin, served with buttered fresh greens, and sticky, yummy potatoes. This wasn’t my plateful of food, so I have a bit less to say about it, and the photo is bad because Rich wanted to eat it rather than let me take a photo!
I remember charentais melons from the south of France, and although it’d been a while since I tasted them, this sorbet brought all those melon flavoured memories back into my head! It was delicious, perfect temperature and so smooth and soft.
The other option for desert was Feugolais, a sort of brie like cheese that had a good old whiff to it!
A very pleasant evening, I would recommend Arbutus to anyone after a barganous, delectable evening out!