Today was my second recent visit to Brown’s, after not crossing its threshold for ages and ages.
Earlier in the week, I’d popped in for the book launch of their 40th anniversary publication, which is part history, part cook book, part cocktail book. Sir Walter Scott (well, an actor impersonating him) launched it.
The second visit was for lunch, during a little break in commitments at the nearby Book Festival. I was joined by Patrick, Hande and Ayla.
Ayla was a little tired after running around collecting leaves, so she had a wee sleep in her Bugaboo Cameleon.
We were shown to our table, by a friendly waitress. The place was extremely busy, particularly considering it was well after 2 when we arrived for lunch.
Their menu is extensive, with lunch options and their full daytime selection set out on one large card. I was happy with the soup, then their bavette steak and chips. Hande joined me in bavetting, after starting with lavash sticks. Patrick started with a duck flatbread, then followed with the steak sandwich. This was all noted, without the need for writing things down, by our highly efficient waitress.
Starters soon appeared. My cauliflower soup looked a little ordinary, and the other starters didn’t look too spectacular, either. Cauliflower soup is a huge favourite with me, but this wasn’t a particularly fine example. It had way to much black pepper, which muddied the fresh flavour of the cauliflower, making it more of a spiced vegetable soup. It was fine, but not much better than that.
Hande’s lavash sticks were very oily, but Patrick really enjoyed his duck flatbread. So, a little bit of a mixed bag, in terms of the starters.
The main course steak and chips was entirely better. I’m a fan of bavette, and this was a big hunk of it. It had good flavour and while it demanded a little more chewing than a leaner cut, that’s always a trade-off I’d gladly make. The frites were really good, too.
So overall, Brown’s is a smart, city centre location, and the service, from a battalion of waiters and waitresses zooming around at a rate, is very efficient. The food is solidly good, but needs a little refinement to really hit the mark. The soup was disappointing and while the main course was better, it didn’t make a compelling enough case for the place to demand a repeat visit.
Blythe scores Brown’s
3/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 14/20
We ate: duck flat bread, lavash breadsticks, cauliflower soup, minute steak (2), steak sandwich
We drank: cola drink, water
We wore: jeans (3)
Total bill: £47.85