Arbutus

Price guide: Mid-range

63-64 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 3JW

Price guide: Mid-range

Arbutus exterior © Simon Coppock

By Jenni Muir, your London expert

I write for AA Travel Guides, Time Out. Read more
#29 of 115
expert-rated restaurants in London
Expert overall rating:4.5 out of 5
Food and drink:
4.7
4.7
Ambience:
3.8
3.8
Service:
4.2
4.2
Location:
4
4.0
Value for money:
4.8
4.8
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Foodies, Mature travellers, Singles, Relaxation

Expert review of Arbutus

Michelin-starred modern European food at very reasonable prices.

One of my favourite affordable treats - stick to the set lunch or pre-theatre menus and you’ll eat top-quality nosh at very reasonable prices. Arbutus is a civilized but relaxed setting for delicious, uncomplicated food. There’s a central counter if you’re dining alone or haven’t booked ahead.

Food and drink: 

Chef Anthony Demetre’s cooking is sufficiently high-quality to have caught the Michelin inspectors’ attention soon after opening, but there’s little flim-flam. The menu changes with the seasons, with dishes - roast rabbit, eel, beef bavette, squid and mackerel ‘burger’, cod brandade - usually solid, full-flavoured and presented with great care. Perhaps they could do with losing a mini serving saucepan or two, but you wouldn't think it a fussy place. The wine list is the envy of many restaurateurs and kind to customers: all the wines are available in 250ml carafes - for those moments when a glass ain’t enough, but a bottle would be a step too far, and to make changing wines with each course a doddle.

Ambience: 

Smart, but relaxed. There’s usually a happy mix of business suits, fashionably dressed-down media types and parents being shown a good time by their discerning offspring in the stylishly plain dining rooms.

Service: 

Crisp, helpful and well-drilled.

Location: 

Just off the main people-watching drag of Soho, handy for most of the West End shows and shops.

Price advice: 

The set lunch (three courses at £16.95) and pre- and post-theatre set dinner (three courses at £18.95; not available Sunday) are superb value. A la carte prices are still fair, but stiff by comparison - three courses will cost around £30. Having the wine available in 250ml carafes (as well as by the glass and bottle) helps keeps prices down.

Tables to book: 

There are a couple of street-side window tables. If you're on your own, eat at the counter to spare you that empty chair opposite.

Other useful branches: 

The same team also runs the excellent and rather cosier Wild Honey in Mayfair (www.wildhoneyrestaurant.co.uk, quite handy for shopping), and betwixt Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden the new hit French brasserie Les Deux Salons (www.lesdeuxsalons.co.uk, a potential target for afternoon tea). 

More information on Arbutus:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Restaurant
Food:
French, Modern
Address:
63-64 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 3JW
Telephone:
020 7734 4545
Website:
http://www.arbutusrestaurant.co.uk
Serves:
Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm, 5-11pm; Sun noon-3pm, 5.30-10pm.
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Suggested

Have you been to Arbutus? Would you recommended it?