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Arbutus closes and Will Smith and Anthony Demetre part ways

13 July 2016 by
Arbutus closes and Will Smith and Anthony Demetre part ways

London restaurant Arbutus has closed ahead of its planned relocation, as co-founder Will Smith moves on to pastures new.

Smith and Demetre originally announced in February that they would move Arbutus to a new location at the end of this year.

At the time, it was not known that Smith would be moving on as well, but he now plans to move to Scotland where he will open a boutique hotel and restaurant.

In the meantime, the Frith Street restaurant, which has held a Michelin star since 2007, has closed.

Photo by <span style="FONT-SIZE: 10.5pt; FONT-FAMILY: "Times New Roman","serif"; mso-fareast-font-family: "Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language: EN-GB; mso-fareast-language: EN-GB; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA">Thomas Bowles

Demetre will take over the helm with the restaurant's reopening. Further details of its future location are expected to be released shortly and in the meantime, Wild Honey will continue to operate as usual under Demetre's direction.

"We've had a great journey together and shared so many proud moments over the last 20 years. With the closure of Arbutus after 10 years, my wife and I have decided to move to Loch Lomond to begin a new and exciting chapter," said Smith.

Demetre added: "We have loved every minute of our time in Soho but after 10 years, the time feels right to bring a new lease of life to Arbutus and start its 11th year in a new home. We have celebrated many successes together, particularly Arbutus and Wild Honey both securing and retaining their Michelin star."

The move comes just over a year since the pair sold Les Deux Salons restaurant on William IV Street near London's Trafalgar Square to Prescott & Conran.

Late last year, they announced that they would open a new bar named Les Couilles du Chien (French for ‘the dog's bollocks') at Arbutus, which launched in October 2015.

Smith and Demetre opened Arbutus in May 2006 in Soho on the site of the old Bistrot Bruno (owned by Bruno Loubet, where Anthony once worked as Bruno's number two). They followed this up with Wild Honey in 2007 and Les Deux Salons in September 2010.

The restaurateurs' breed of affordable Michelin-friendly restaurants took the capital by storm when Arbutus opened. Based on a marriage of refined but gutsy French cooking and good value, it was an immediate hit with both the critics and the public, picking up Time Out's Best New Restaurant award in 2006 and the Which? Good Food Guide's London Restaurant of the Year 2007 title, as well as picking up a star in the 2007 Michelin guide.

The pair were awarded the Independent Restaurateurs of the Year Catey in 2008.

Anthony Demetre and Will Smith to move Arbutus >>

Searcys and Anthony Demetre to launch Urban Coterie restaurant >>

Arbutus restaurant team to launch Les Couilles du Chien bar >>

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