Followed a successful tasting lunch yesterday, I decided to continue with the plan and tried Arbutus. With the reviews and a Michelin star, I was really looking forward to the lunch. I tried to complete the questionnaire about the V&A Museum (awesome place) as soon as possible and rush off for my reservation.
Atmosphere: it was very energetic, people discussing work in loud voice, lots of business men and women, it was interesting to hear quite a bit of stories
Food: I have no complaint.
I started off with some baguette and butter, awesome bread they have. It was cripsy from the outside but moist and buttery. A bit softer and denser than the one from Texture. I love them both.
I ordered a starter, which is their signature dish and a main dish – of which I have no familiarity with – just feeling adventurous.
Starter – Squid and mackerel “burger” with razor clamp.
My first impression – pretty presentation, I love well-decorated food. I was looking at the dish for a minute or so, taking it all it, every little detail of the little flowers, etc. The two gentlemen next to me had to asked if I was about to eat it…
So i digged in. The burger – had a very similar taste of Thai tomyam fish cake. However, I have to say the texture and the flavor of the squid was very tender, juicy and addictive. Yet, I have to say the star of the dish was the freshly cut razor clam sashimi – definitely yummy.
The second course came in around 5 minutes later. I went for lamb tripe – which definitely had strong smell and distinctive taste. I am very used to eating organs so that was fine with me, but if you are not sure, opt for something else.
The dish combined of chopped lamb wrap in a thin layer of tripe, with some stew tripe and deep fried tripe. The sauce was something with rum in it and chickpea. Again, the dish was a little bit salty (I think it has nothing with the restaurant but my tastebud now).
The funny thing was, when I was almost done with my stew, the waiter brought out a salad with chopped lamb toast?! I did not really get this! And this “extra dish” was not described in the menu either, so go figured.
Staff: negative points
Overall: I am not coming back… not even with a friend. I feel annoyed eating lunch with a host.waiter keep walking by, with a “wtf are you here?” face. Plus there was no question of concern if I was doing okay, etc. They were just doing a job, and exactly that.
Despite very nice dishes, this place totally put me off and I had to resort to retail therapy to release my annoyance!
I would not recommend this place, but if you choose to go, perhaps grab a friend and dress business-like, or the waiters would think you are a freak!