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Announcing Posh Lunch Club: First Stop, Arbutus

I want to do something new. I want to do something fun. A mini project that I will want to write about, an injection of passion, an objective. As you know, I like to be fed. So, I present to you: Posh Lunch Club.

Posh Lunch Club is all about the set menus in great restaurants, wonderful food at bargain prices. There will be the occasional defection to the expensive side of the fence, The Fat Duck has got to be done, and there’s a few others that will creep in at high prices. Guest members are allowed, and most welcome. I do love the occasional solo lunch with a book, so will be sure to have a number of these. In the main though, this is about tripping about London as a gourmand, at surprising prices. It’s always possible to source a great bargain.

Where to start? It had to be Arbutus, Anthony Demetre and Will Smith’s modern British restaurant in Soho. I’ve eaten there before, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but didn’t blog it. I was lunching with a visiting friend and decided to leave the camera at home. It’s perfect for Posh Lunch Club, really good food and the set lunch and early bird menu is an absolute bargain, at £16.95 for three courses.


I visited on a Friday, I hadn’t booked, and got a seat at the bar with no fuss. Perched with my book, I was happy, and swiftly ordered a reasonably priced carafe of Syrah/Grenache for £6.50. Sourdough (brown or white) was offered with some butter. I knew immediately what I wanted, and was also very hungry, so I ordered swiftly and shortly after was tucking into a country terrine with fruit chutney. The terrine, served with toast, was delicate and velveteen countered nicely by the sharp chutney. Wafers of radish were a lovely fresh addition. I liked it.

Lunch at Arbutus

I couldn’t resist the caillette for mains, an old fashioned pork meatball, served atop crushed winter root vegetables, primarily swede. The swede was delicious, a much under rated and under used vegetable, I scolded myself for not using it more in my kitchen. The caillette was rich and savoury, with nice contrasting textures, chunks of pork amidst minced, with a lovely lick of what seemed to be gravy on top. Another success, I was very happy with it.

Lunch at Arbutus

Finally a warm polenta and olive oil cake with seville orange marmalade and chantilly cream, followed by an espresso. The cake was nice and light, the cream delicious, the marmalade was tangy and sharp, seasonal, but I think I would have preferred something sweeter. The espresso cost £3.50 extra, but I needed my coffee, and it was a nice rich shot of dark caffeinated goodness, which terminated the meal nicely.

Lunch at Arbutus

Service was friendly and swift, it’s perfectly quick for lunch, I had 3 courses in under an hour and a half. It’s high on my list and I highly recommend it. Next, I must get the cookbook, I am keen to try some of Anthony’s recipes at home.

So, that was it. The first Posh Lunch Club, a very good lunch for a very good price. I can’t wait for the next one.





  1. shelley says

    fabulous!!! can i be a guest of this lunch clu next time i come to visit?? xx

    • Mais oui madame! Guest memberships are open :) Lots of great resautants to veggie tasting menus now, and almost always great veggie options. When’s your next visit?? x

  2. Mmmm. I’m up for that too! Great idea Niamh – there are really are such fantastic bargains to be had at lunchtime. Try Angelus which operates on the Gavroche model and includes half a bottle of posh wine.

    • Would love you to join sometime, Fiona. Thanks for the tipe too re: Angelus. Le Gavroche is high up on the list for Posh Lunch Club.

  3. Kerri says

    Great idea, I’d love to be involved too.

    Still haven’t made it to Arbutus, maybe I’ll follow your lead and head there with a book one lunchtime!

    • We have a well overdue lunch date Kerri! Let’s do it. Perhaps we could go to Wild Honey – have had the pre theatre menu there before and it was excellent too. Hope you’re well!

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  5. I love lunch, great way to experience places that might be out of budget otherwise. World Service in Nottingham do a great set lunch, and always feels very decadent and indulgent. And 3 courses for £17.50 is a bargain. Which means we normally indulge in cocktails and good wine!

  6. gastrogeek says

    What a brilliant idea! Where do I sign up? Still haven’t made it to Arbutus, must try it soon

  7. Patrick says

    I’ve eaten at Arbutus a couple of times and always enjoyed it. Whilst the food isn’t anything brand new I enjoyed both times – just simple things done well. The lunch menu is great value too.

    Le Gavroche is my favourite. Although the lunch deal is expensive (compared to other set lunch deals) I still left thinking it was great value.

    • Hi Payrick. Le Gavroche was one of the inspirations for posh lunch club. Going there soon for sure. Cheers!

  8. I love this idea! I’m always looking for (a) a less expensive way to try out the city’s best and (b) good places for lunch out! I’ll be following this with interest!

    • Thanks Jill! I am very much looking forward to exploring and uncovering some great food and some bargains :)

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  10. Sounds like an awesome project – are these comp’ed meals or are you buying and eating your way through London? Will be a fun thing to follow :)

  11. Andrew says

    Looks like I’ll be at the bottom of the list but I’d love to spend an idle lunch with you…

  12. Stacey says

    Your review came at just the right time – up to the city on Saturday and needed somewhere to dine before going to the theatre. Have now booked a table at Arbutus and am really looking forward to it.
    Thanks Niamh.

      • Stacey says

        Just had to report back.
        The whole dining experience was superb – the food was amazing, service excellent, ambiance great. Overall a great start to the evening.
        Thanks for the recommendation.

  13. Fantastic stuff. Great idea for a series. I’m a massive fan of Arbutus. Their chocolate soup is outstandingly good.

  14. We’ve been doing the same during our time off through January. As you know we’ve been away for the last 4 weeks in the Falkland Islands, but now we’re back we’re planning to resume our posh lunches (that’s how we refer to them too!).
    Will keep my eyes on your list!

  15. This sounds like a fab idea :) Having been fortunate enough to indulge in more than a few posh lunches and dinners, a word of advice. If you’re travelling to Bray, forget The Fat Duck and head straight over to The Waterside. There’s no contest. Really.

  16. Catching up on blog posts this Sunday I’ve just come across your inaugural posh lunch club write-up. Fab idea Niamh, though I strongly agree with geriatricmummy you can get fancy schmancy French food anywhere (Gavroche being perfect example) if you’re trekking up to Bray for lunch then it’s imperative you visit the Fat Duck ;-) p.s. Love Arbutus, have been there about 1/2 dozen times over the years and every meal’s been fantastic, one of the best bargain set menus in town…

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  18. I love restaurants with bars at which you can eat. Arbutus a bit small and poky but friendly bar staff, intelligent wine policy (all wines available in small carafes) and calf’s head terrine to convert any offally squeamish diner

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