Arundel is blessed with a number of excellent eateries and Butlers in Tarrant Street has to be one of the best Arundel restaurants. With a 4.5 rating on Trip Advisor, there’s a bar, a large restaurant area and a stylish terrace. It’s a family-run restaurant that opened in 1996 and the current incumbents refurbished the restaurant in 2017. It has a stylish feel and describes itself as “chic and contemporary”.
There are four menus: lunch, evening, Sunday and set. There’s also a specials board. The dishes are described as “a contemporary mix of modern classical British food and Wines with a little European twist … seasonal menus using the very best local produce”. We drifted in for lunch (well, we had booked), hungry after a walk in Arundel Park and so opted for three courses. I was looking out for local ingredients, so I was pleased to see a Goodwood burger on the menu and local SODT bread.
Between us, we chose Mushroom Arancini and King Prawns for starters. We couldn’t fault the prawns and the mushroom dish was really outstanding and something a little different.
For mains, we went for Baked Aubergine (baked with Harissa pesto, butternut squash purée and vegetable fritter) accompanied by truffle and parmesan fries. The aubergine was the only vegetarian main course choice. I have to say, having had many a baked aubergine in my time, this was by far and above, the best I’ve tasted. It really was superb and the portion sizes were just right, leaving room for pudding.
For pudding, it had to be the Trio of Dark Chocolate. This was three delicate balls described as cremeux, mousse, crumble, and salted caramel ice cream. It was a fun and interesting dish and absolutely lovely. Overall, the presentation was great and prices were perfectly acceptable, starting at £8 for a starter, £16 for a main (although going up to £32) and starting at £7 for a pudding. All in all, our dishes were superb but I’d personally like to see more provenance stated on the menu so that I can identify local produce. I may be alone, but I think these things matter these days.
I was driving so wine wasn’t an option but there was a good choice. Once again, my only reservation would be that I only spotted one local wine, namely, the Ashling Park Cuvée (funnily enough, I visited Ashling Park a few days later and was able to sample some of their award-winning sparkling wine), but I can’t help but feel there should be many more.
The service and atmosphere
The service was excellent. Attentive but not in your face. There was a warm and welcoming atmosphere and a gentle buzz about the place. It felt refined and stylish but not too stuffy. It absolutely met our requirement of a slightly indulgent day spent in Arundel enjoying the finer things in life. Will we be back? Yes, indeed we will, not least because I’d like to drink wine on the terrace in the sunshine.
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