Following a massive revamp that pays more than a passing nod to Glasgow’s art deco history, coupled with the launch of a brand new menu – there never seemed a better time to visit Browns Brasserie. Based in the heart of Glasgow, sitting prominently in the old post office on George Square, a hop, skip and a jump from Queen Street Station – Browns has all the hallmarks of a classic brasserie. Lush booths, a well stocked bar and a well trained and turned out staff. So, I suppose the question is, is the food actually any good?
Finding new places to eat in Glasgow – both well established and lesser known is one of my favourite things to do (it basically hits all the marks for me for the perfect night out. Food, wine and fine company) and Brown’s had been somewhere I’d passed but never really cared to venture in despite it being a favourite stomping ground for my mum on her semi-frequent forays to the city. The new venue looked utterly lush and with a reworked menu featuring vegan and gluten free options, coupled with a focus on the sourcing of their produce, well, you could say my curiosity was more than piqued.
To start we had the Fisherman’s Platter (£17.95) which included Servern & Wye smoked salmon, salt and pepper squid, Devon crab on toast, British mussels, prawn cocktail and warm toasted bread. We couldn’t resist also trying the Beef Carpacio (£7.95) with Parmesan crisps, pea shoots and a tarragon and lemon mayonnaise. The portions here are generous and won’t leave you feeling hungry, though have to say I was underwhelmed with the Fisherman’s Platter. I’m a huge squid fan and instead of what I hoped would be fat chunks of meat was stringy and fried – more akin to a very poor calamari. The smoked salmon however was undeniably beautiful and mussels pleasant and plump. The carpacio was the stronger of the two, the tarragon and lemon giving it a nice lift to finish.
Disclaimer – I am, at the very best of times, ambivalent towards lobster. It’s fine, but it’s never scratched any of my particularly culinary itches. That said, as a new addition to the menu, the Whole Grilled Lobster with parsley and garlic butter, avocado mayonnaise and fries (£22.95) was calling for me to give it a go. My friend opted for a fillet steak (£22.95) with some sides of asparagus tips with a hollandaise. It arrived overdone (far from the medium-rare) and while this was rectified quickly enough, when steaks are such a big part of your offering, this shouldn’t really be something that happens. It was, by all accounts delicious though, and the hollandaise was very bright and citrusy and among the best I’ve had. The lobster itself suffered from what I can only imagine as too much butter (is there such a thing? Turns out yes. Yes there is.) Any flavour of the fish was drowned out by garlic and salt – which usually I am all for but here felt it flattened rather than added to the dish. So much for my grand foray in to shellfish.
The dessert was undeniably the highlight of the entire meal with us both opting for the Caramelised lemon tart with blueberry eton mess (£5.95.) Great flavour, a satisfying crunch and all components blending together perfectly for a gorgeous summery end to the meal. Brown’s really are known for their afternoon tea, and after sampling their sweet selection, it’s very easy to see why. This is clearly what they do best.
The service was great, our host obviously knew the menu inside and out and was happy to answer any questions and provide recommendations when asked for. The venue itself is dark, moody and atmospheric and is the ideal environment for a lazy Sunday evening dinner. While I say skip the main, do stay for the desserts and play to their strengths. So Champagne afternoon tea anyone?