I went to London recently to see my first ever West End play – Les Mis. It was amazing and where before I was a ‘take it or leave it’ sort when it comes to theatre I would definitely see a London show again.
The only fly in the weekend was the weather, it snowed back at home and was FREEZING in London. I thought I’d never feel my nose again.
Anyway. The food.
Before the play we went to Arbutus which we had had booked for their pre-theatre menu. At £26 for three courses it wasn’t bad value at all.
When we first walked in we thought it was dead, you can’t see the seating from the street though as its all around one corner. Tables are small with tealights and service was prompt (but not too prompt).
Me and my boyfriend have really similar food tastes (yay) so we both had exactly the same thing – the rabbit ravioli, slow cooked lamb and then the cheeseboard.
The rabbit ravioli was a perfectly fine thin pasta encasing garlicky minced rabbit meat. It came in a rich salty stock with caramelised shallots and topped with Parmesan. This was my favourite dish of the three, I’ve never had anything to savoury tasting and well seasoned. With three ravioli it also wasn’t too filling, leaving plenty of room for the lamb!
I wish I knew what cut of lamb this was. It was only described as ‘slow cooked lamb’ on the menu. It had three stripes of fat running through it that had melted down during the cooking time to almost butter-like ribbons. It came with celeriac and greens and some kind of crusted powder thing which honestly was delicious but I have no idea what it was.
Ok so maybe there wasn’t enough cheese here. But the cheese that was here was great. Clockwise from bottom you have Valençay, Cashel Blue and Comte. Served with a cranberry chutney thing and some wild honey which was amazing with the Comte. Excellent cheese. And after the starter and main the portion was about right for me.
With a couple of carafes of Rioja the meal came to around £75 which was more than reasonable for the quality of the food.
I loved the pre-theatre menu because it encouraged me to try dishes I wouldn’t usually go for. I get stuck in fish starter, chicken or beef main rut in restaurants and this totally broke me out of it. I would never usually order rabbit and it was the tastiest part of the meal.
What’s also great is their menu changes every day based on fresh ingredients so I imagine you could eat here a few times and always have a different experience. I’d really recommend Arbutus whether you’re theatre-going or just in Soho. 10/10.