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Jan 9, 2012 02:40 PM

London - Modern European at Arbutus, Soho

Pleasantly pleased by our dinner experience at Arbutus in Soho this evening. First time visit for me to this 5-year-old dining spot. What we had:

- Slow-cooked belly of lamb with Iranian aubergine (kashk bademjan) - lovely texture and surprisingly delicate, subtle flavors for this dish, which we'd expected to be more robust;
- Crisp pig's head, with spinach & turnip salad - simply loved the flavor, the rectangular block of compressed crisp-cooked pig's head meat was *exactly* what I expected and very substantial for a starter. Perfectly complemented by the crisp, crunchy textures of the accompanying salad;

- Roast rabbit, served with sides of artichokes, carrots & pancetta, and with a small pot of shoulder cottage pie. Robust meaty flavors here, can be on the heavy side for those little small appetites;
- Norfolk pheasant, with breast & leg sausage (which tasted very gamey & slightly bitterish) & potted cabbage. The pheasant was perfectly-cooked, slightly rare in the middle;

- Soft meringue with custard & pralines. Super-delightful - the rich, creamy custard was the star here;
- Biiter chocolate & clementine mousse, topped with pistachio & hazelnuts - liked the mousse, but the sticky, hard crumbles of caramelised & sugary nuts & bits were a bit of a nuisance.

Nice meal, unfortunately not Michelin-star standard as yet, and can be downright heavy in parts.

63-64 Frith St, London W1D, GB

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  1. Looks like you are enjoying your London trip. I dined at Arbutus the last time I was in London and thought it was good value. The serves were very big and we were struggling to finish the food which as you have observed can be too heavy. What else have you got lined up? Are you going to Gilbert Scott or Dinner?

    3 Replies
    1. re: mikey8811

      Maybe shall do Dinner next week - thanks for reminding me. Been crazy busy at work this week :-(

      1. re: klyeoh

        If you can get a reservation at Dinner just one week ahead, I'd like to know how you did it!
        I tried to get one for Bocca di Lupo for the end of January and couldn't even do that. :-) Enjoying all your postings... keep eating!!

        1. re: zuriga1

          LOL! Thanks for the forewarning, zuriga1.