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Arbutus is a contemporary bistro located at the heart of Soho, the brainchild of Anthony Demetre and Will Smith..

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Since opening in 2006 they have received one Michelin star on the first year opening.. I first heard of this place from a friend of mine who said the meal was rather delicious and at great value

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With that in mind and a couple of peaking as I sometime walk pass, i just have to give it a try…

First thing I think for a 1 michelin star restaurant is the price, comparing to others they offer set lunch at £18 to £20 on weekdays and pre-theatre at £19 and £21 for either 2 or 3 courses.. A la carte also rather well priced for such accolades with starters range from £7 to £11 and mains from £16 to £19 and dessert at around £6…

But did the food wow as much as the price? Well then let see.. Typical you get a selection of white or brown bread but in that the butter was rather delicious.. Really creamy, fresh and had a nice scent to it..

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For starters, we got the squid and mackerel “burger” with cornish razor clams, voted as Time Out 100 best dishes in London and the dorset crab with guacamole, peanut and Provençal figs

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The squid and mackerel dish was really good.. Light, fresh and pack full of flavours that does not taste rather fishy at all.. The crab dish was a mix reaction, the guacamole had a nice creamy texture and well spice and fresh but the crab even thou the lemongrass adds a nice asian tone to it, it was overpowered by the fish sauce which even thou as a Thai person was overpowering and puts the dish down..

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The mains follow by medium rare grilled piece of beef with cavolo nero, burnt onions, caper and raisin with side of dauphinois and mullet with spikey artichokes ‘a la panche’, mussels, lemon and sea aster

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The beef was nice and tender, rather savoury but the jus was a bit salty but the cavolo nero and capers raisin puree kind of help to balance that out but for me, not enough.. The dauphinois was decadent and luscious… Really indulging… The mullet was perfectly cooked, crisp skin and well seasoned, fresh.. But the element of the dish still lack that punch.. Could have been great..

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For dessert, apple tart tatin with vanilla ice cream, classic english custard tart and dulce de leche with milk ice cream.. Tart tatin went down well.. Not overly sweet and apple super tender and vanilla compliments it well.. The tart’s custard was super soft, softer than panna cotta! The base is crisp.. But the spice on top somehow I think shouldn’t have been on it.. The dulce de leche wasn’t for me.. The milk jam ice cream lets it down…

Arbutus is a pleasant restaurant to dine in.. Great atmosphere and service but the food lacks the wow factor, lacks that punch of flavours which puts it rather good but could have been much much greater…

Price:££££ (set lunch £18-20, pre-theatre £19-£21 or a la carte at £60 of wine, starter, main and dessert)
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