Browns Birmingham recently launched its new menu and I was invited to a taster evening. Having never been to Browns, I had no idea what to expect with the quality of the food, but I wasn’t disappointed.
Situated in Saint Martins Square, the entrance to Browns faces St Martins Cathedral and the full circular glass front means that from inside there is a panoramic view of the Bullring. As my friend and I sat down at our table for two the brasserie vibe is definitely prominent, but it felt modern and re-vamped. Industrial fans and pipes were on show and the bar on the back wall was full of wines and spirits – we opted for a large glass of Rosé. The addition of large wooden shelving units and cabinets added a homely touch to the welcoming environment.
Now, onto the food. The whole menu was pretty reasonable for the type of restaurant I was in. Offering a large variant of options, I was pretty spoilt for choice. My friend, however, is Vegan and there were only three vegan options on the entire menu, including a nut starter.
We enquired with Robin (who I have to say was one of the friendliest and most helpful waiters I’ve met in a while – and very funny which added to his charm), if there was another special menu for vegans, veggies and gluten intolerant diners. He explained that there wasn’t, but this wasn’t too much of an issue as the Portobello mushroom tart with asparagus & pea shoot salad was something my fellow diner was happy to eat.
Robin proceeded to offer sides that my friend could have to accompany her mushroom tart – she opted for some chunky chips. Robin then proceeded to tell my friend that he could make an arrangement with the chefs to alter something on the menu to cater to her diet. Not wanting to make a fuss, she politely declined and stuck to her original choice.
I ordered three courses, a white onion and English cider cream soup served with Isle of Man cheddar on toast. For main, the roasted lamb rump, potato gratin, crushed minted peas and red wine jus, which was just what I wanted on that cold February evening, recommended by Robin of course. For dessert, I opted for the sticky toffee pudding with ginger ice cream and granola.
The atmosphere while we waited for our food, which I have to add wasn’t long at all, was quiet and calm but didn’t at all make us feel like we couldn’t chat and laugh amongst ourselves.
Now I have to say, I love food and will pretty much try anything, and Browns didn’t disappoint me. I was really happy with my food. All the dishes were served hot and presented nicely, two things you’d expect from a restaurant. The star of my three-course meal was the white onion soup, which was incredibly creamy and the chefs didn’t shy away from keeping the onion in huge chunks, only adding to the flavour.
The lamb, which I requested to be cooked medium to well done was cooked to perfection. The meat was incredibly tender with a peppery flavour, which was not a bad thing at all. The potato gratin was beautifully creamy and the addition of the minted crushed peas was a refreshing contrast to the bold flavours from the rest of my meal.
My friend also enjoyed the Portobello mushroom tart, which she savoured and took her time to eat. I was ready for my dessert pretty much straight away, but I decide to wait for ‘my food to settle’ as my mum would say before diving into the sticky toffee pudding which came with a deliciously smooth ice cream, that was mixed with chunks of ginger to add a sharp flavour.
All in all the meal myself and my friend had was incredibly enjoyable. Each course was cooked properly, the dishes were put together nicely and the flavours complimented each other well. We didn’t get bored of eating, the portion sizes were just right. The staff were very friendly, not forgetting Robin who went out of his way to make sure our evening went smoothly and that we had a great time dining at the restaurant. The atmosphere and staff alone were an added bonus to our already great meal.
Browns is a place you go to for great tasting food and a great atmosphere that won’t break the bank. So, if that’s what you’re looking for, which let’s face it is all we really want from a restaurant, then I suggest giving Browns a try. The only downside I would say was that there wasn’t much of a vegan menu, which given that Veganism is growing, I think was a bit of a shame but I will definitely be returning again soon, maybe in the summer when I can sit in the outside seating area and have some of their delicious cocktails.