Arbutus

Address: 63-64 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 3JW, United Kingdom
Telephone: 020 7734 4545

- Mid-range

4.5

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
4.7
90%
Service
4.2
90%
Food and drink
4.7
90%
Value for money
4.8
90%
Ambience
3.8
90%
Location
4
90%

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.

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). 

Recommended for

  • Business travellers
  • Foodies
  • Mature travellers
  • Singles
  • Relaxation

Details