We’ve not visited Brown’s for a while as previously their inconsistency has been an issue. We have eaten fab food there before but also been disappointed in the past, so we tend to give it a miss when considering restaurant options. However, the double-whammy of a special new seasonal menu and the fact that it is now just around the corner from our new flat was enough to tempt us back there.
We ate from the special seasonal lamb and asparagus menu that celebrates spring produce and offers 2 courses and a glass of wine for £20, which is not amazing value in itself but if the food is good, it’s worth it.
For starters, we both ordered the pan seared scallops, which were intriguingly served with a braised lamb croquette on a bed of pea and mint hummous. Scallops and lamb? Hummous? Together? How would that work? This is the kind of dish that we scoff at when we see contestants serve them on Masterchef, but then wind our necks in when the judges declare it as amazing. And we’re happy to report that this was the case here too. This dish was amazing, and we both absolutely loved it. The scallops, while small, were really fresh and cooked to perfection with just the right amount of seasoning. The pea and mint too was very tasty and light, which worked well with the fish and the lamb, in turn. The real unexpected man of the match though was the braised lamb croquette. I don’t normally like croquettes as I find their deep fried nature too heavy and stodgy most of the time. These bad boys however were of a different class. The outer was crispy, but also light so while the rich, meaty lamb contrasted with the rest of the light flavours on the dish, it didn’t overpower it. The lamb inside, was perfectly cooked – it was super moist and fell apart as you’d hope it would with a real intense lamb flavour. Again, this complimented the rest of the dish very well, which we’re still surprised about. The whole dish was amazing, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone – it’s one of the most interesting and delicious plates we’ve tried in a while.
For my main course, I ordered the lamb rump with dauphinoise potatoes and a lamb jus. In a moment of virtuosity, Emily decided to go for the healthier option of asparagus and pancetta linguine with poached egg. Please note that upon ordering the dish, I predicted that Emily would get food envy as she loves lamb – she vehemently denied. The exact second that the plates were placed in front of us Emily’s face turned positively green with the predicted food envy, proving me right (a first!). My dish looked and smelled incredible with large slices of pink lamb rump and the buttery goodness of potato and cream. The accompanying dauphinoise potatoes also looked great – a good sized portion with a crispy top – so I couldn’t wait to tuck in. The lamb was outstanding, perfectly cooked and very tasty, especially with the meaty jus – you could tell it was a great cut as the flavour smacked you in the chops. The potatoes were also cooked really well – a good contrast between the crispy top and the creamy potatoes within. Again, when eaten with the jus this was perfect.
Emily’s asparagus and pancetta linguine dish looked more like a starter in comparison, it was very small. Checking the full price of these dishes we also realised it was the cheapest option so we didn’t get the best value from the 2 for £20 deal. Hindsight is 20/20 eh? Though being disappointed, this was an enjoyable plate of food. The positives: it was a celebration of seasonal asparagus, which was (along with the linguine) perfectly cooked. The egg yolk oozed delightfully over the pasta, coating it in an almost carbonara-like sauce which worked well with the salty pancetta. The negatives: it was just a bit, well, boring. It should have come with a kick of chilli and some parmesan to lift the whole affair and the size was a bit stingy, needing more pancetta. The starter was a tough act to follow, but it should have tried a little harder.
A special mention goes to the Mamaku Sauvignon Blanc they serve at Brown’s, holy crap it’s delicious (and therefore dangerous!)
So, overall a great meal and we were surprised because we have been let down by Brown’s before. Emily may have been slightly disappointed with her main course after the insanely good starter, but pick the right meal celebrating local, seasonal produce and it’s magic. We hope we’ve seen the last of the inconsistencies of the past and plan to visit again soon.
Atmosphere and surroundings: 9/10