Anthony Demetre’s era-defining Arbutus doesn’t look like a trailblazer with its white walls, wooden floors and faintly Scandi style, but when it launched in the halcyon days of 2006, its affordable approach was positively radical. The fact that this cosmopolitan eatery still cuts it in oh-so-fickle Soho speaks volumes for its enduring appeal. Much depends on the kitchen, which maintains Michelin-starred standards while aiming for that magic “bang for buck”: signatures such as the celebrated squid and mackerel burger or ‘pieds et paquets’ reveal humble ingredients elevated by pure technique, while ricotta gnudi with broad beans and asparagus or slow-cooked pork with salsify, honey and polenta are bright, beautiful plates of food. To finish, try the tarte Tatin – a “voluminous but enjoyable beast”. Service does the business, although it’s sometimes hard to attract attention for basic needs. Still, speedy ‘working lunch’ menus, rammed pre-theatre suppers and an organically inclined wine list with everything by the glass or carafe make this a “top favourite” with readers.
Square Meal is proud to be supporting homeless charity StreetSmart in their 2015 campaign, for the seventh year running.
StreetSmart works with over 500 restaurants nationwide by adding £1 to every bill throughout November and December, which is donated to local homeless charities.