[London] Arbutus – My First Michelin Experience

17 05 2011

I would think that more people would associate Michelin with being a restaurant appraiser rather than a tyre company. As history has it, the Michelin guide sprung forth as a guide to help drivers maintain their vehicles in addition to suggesting decent lodging and restaurants in France. Over the years, such Michelin guides have also been published for other major cities around the world, though sadly Singapore is not one of them. That is the reason why we don’t hear of Michelin star restaurants in Singapore and not because Singapore restaurants are not good enough as one might possibly think.

As at 1st February 2010, London has 2 Michelin 3-star restaurants, 7 2-star restaurants and 40 1-star restaurants, a large proportion of which serves French cuisine. As this was my first time trying out a Michelin starred restaurant, I was particularly excited.

Arbutus is a 1-star Michelin restaurant serving contemporary European cuisine. As far as I know, it’s also probably offers the most affordable 3-course set lunch amongst its London Michelin starred counterparts going at just 16.95GBP. Located in Soho, which is pretty much central London, it gets really packed during lunch so reservations are a must.

For the set lunch menu, diners are only given a choice between 2 items, for each of the courses.

Both G and myself had the Hand Chopped Scottish Beef Tartare and given its rarity in Singapore restaurants, this is possibly my first or second time having it. The green spices dotting the beef are capers, which are the green stuff you see in tartare sauce. It has a slightly briny pickled taste to it and helps to musk any odours of the raw beef, though there was none in this case.

Another uncommon item on Singapore menus, I took a strong fancy to the Slow Roast Rabbit, Aubergine (aka eggplant), Potato Gnocchi. The rabbit was served already debone which I’m very thankful for as it can get quite troublesome deboning it yourself. While it tastes much like chicken, I much prefer rabbit as it is typically more tender and flavourful when executed well, which in this case it was.

For Desserts, we both had the Vanilla Panna Cotta. It was very smooth and the black specks of fragrant vanilla beans were evident at the base of the glass bowl. However, personally I felt that this panna cotta was a little too mild and could afford to be made more richly.

Overall, I felt that Arbutus’s Michelin star is well deserved and one thing I really like about them is that they do not scrimp on the quantity nor quality, even for mere a set lunch.

Bon Appetit!


63 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 3JW

TEL: +44 20 7734 4545 (020 7734 4545 if you are using are calling from within UK)

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