Browns Restaurant and Bar on George Street is quintessentially British; a grand cafe with a touch of elegance and a trendy bar. It is a UNESCO World heritage site right in the centre of Edinburgh’s 18th century New Town, located close to the Charlotte Square, West End.
The open, light brasserie towards the back is large and can comfortably accommodate large groups of people but cosy enough for intimate couples. There is pavement dining in the spring/summer months and it even has its own piano in the bar!
We were seated in a two table booth in the conservatory so that I had some good natural light for the photographs, next to an elderly couple who were celebrating a birthday with champagne and seafood!
Whilst perusing the very large menus we ordered a cocktail and a softail. For the cocktail I had the Blackberry Fizz which is Absolut Raspberri, Creme de Cassis, Chambord, lemon juice and Prosecco garnished with blackberries. Lovely and refreshing and on a lovely summers day, this would be an absolute treat!
For the softail it was a Virgin Mojito of fresh mint, lime and bitters and ginger ale. A fantastic alternative to a sugary soft drink without feeling left out.
For visual impact we ordered the Fisherman’s Platter (£17.95). Severn & Wye smoked salmon, salt & pepper squid, Devon crab on toast, British mussels, warm toasted bread
This is a large platter for two people with ample helpings of the crab on toast, salmon, calamari and mussels. Loved this! The calamari was soft and tender, crispy batter and just the right amount of salt and pepper to season. The salmon was fresh and silky and the crab on toast, although not much to look at, was soft and creamy on the crunchy toasted bread. The mussels were my favourites here. Large succulent muscles in a white wine garlic shallot broth perfect for dipping the chunks of bread into. This is one of life’s great pleasures!
My dining partner is a pescatarian so continued with the seafood theme and ordered the Pan Fried Sea Bass (£14.75) served on a stew of prawns, mussels, squid, heritage potatoes, tomato, fennel & white wine sauce. A delight to look at and eat. Every element was cooked well. The skin was crispy and the fish flakes soft. The broth was rich combining flavours from all the seafood on the plate.
I ordered the very impressive Slow cooked salted Pork Belly (£14.50) which came with a wonderful surprise of an actual savoury apple pie. This was served with buttered green beans, mash, crackling and red wine jus. I was delighted that they served the crackling with this which was sheer crackling bliss. The apple pie was quite stodgy but not in a bad way. This pork dish could handle it and all the components of this dish hugged each other in a big warm fuzzy cuddle.
There is always room for dessert and so we ordered the Apple, cherry & almond crumble (V) (£5.95) with brandy snap basket and vanilla ice cream. This dish arrived at the table piping hot allowing the lovely autumnal smell of stewed cherries and apples, and baked almonds to waft over the table. The ice cream was slowly melting and we didn’t need an excuse to tuck into this.
I ordered the Salted caramel profiteroles (£5.95) with Devon cream toffee sauce and homemade salted caramel. Not much else to say other than it was totally delicious.
I am so glad that I was invited to review Browns as it wasn’t on my food radar with all the new restaurants opening in Edinburgh, but sometimes the old ones are the best ones and Browns does know how to deliver good food and good value for money in a very popular touristy part of town.
Their menus are extensive offering a full A La Carte menu, Seasonal menus, Afternoon Teas, Breakfast and Brunch, Sunday Lunch and Gluten Free.
My only slight gripe was the service. Once we had placed our order we were basically left to our own devices with no check backs and no offers to order additional drinks. We had to ask for a dessert menu and on leaving had to hunt down our waiter.
Browns Restaurant and Bar, 131 George Street, Edinburgh. Tel : 0131 225 4442 www.browns-restaurants.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Silver