Browns Bar & Brasserie wasn’t a chain I’d heard of before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when we were invited in for dinner. Browns opened on 8 April 2011 at 1 George Square, right next to Jamie’s Italian.
We’ve been for dinner twice now – the first time we ate there was quite close to the opening and they were still ironing out some service issues. The second time thing ran a lot more smoothly and we got a seat upstairs – I really loved this space and preferred it to dining downstairs (which can be quite loud if you’re seated under the piano!). Upstairs is bustling and great for people watching while still making you feel like you’re eating in an intimate setting – the space is divided into smaller dining areas which works really well.
Baked pancetta mushrooms with spinach, garlic and fresh rosemary – £5.75
This was Graeme’s entrée - mushrooms are much more his thing than mine but even I really liked this – the mushrooms had a lovely subtle smoky taste to them without being burnt, and it really worked with the tender spinach.
Pan seared scallops on a bed of pea and marscapone purée with chorizo and chilli butter sauce – £8.95
I love scallops and would eat them constantly if I could. These were lovely – lacking a nice crispy outside but so soft and squidgy in the mouth that they were somewhat heavenly. I also really loved the flavouring of the pea purée and thought the whole dish had a great balance of flavours.
Duck special (I think at £13.95)
Included in the specials list was a dish that was right up Graeme’s alley: confit duck leg with chorizo and new potatoes. He loves both of the main ingredients, and this lived up to his excitement. The duck had a lovely crispy outside, and was nice and soft below. The chorizo was cut into little strips, and was a nice balance against the duck. The portion size was great as well, which was good to see. Highly recommended if you see this on the specials list again.
On our first visit, Graeme had another chorizo dish – a wild boar and chorizo burger (£12.95). Again, the combination of flavours worked great, with the chorizo shining through.
28 day aged rib-eye steak with a bloody mary butter with confit tomato, watercress and chips – £17.95
Probably one of the least attractive dishes I’ve had to photograph! Luckily, the taste more than made up for initial looks. In this picture, the butter hadn’t yet melted so looks like a slide of McDonalds cheese has collapsed on the steak, but once it had melted it was perfect. The steak was cooked exactly to medium rare and the butter was a smooth tomato flavour which complemented the steak perfectly. The accompaniments certainly didn’t set my world on fire (good chips though) but the steak was wonderful.
When we ate at Browns previously, I had the venison for main – while I found the flavour in the sides lacking, the venison was absolute heaven on a plate.
We had this between the two of us and even then we still didn’t finish it! The meringue didn’t have the squishy centre I love of a fresh baked meringue but the dessert still worked as a lovely finisher, and the white chocolate drops added a nice bit of crunch to it.
Over the two visits, we both found a lot of things to recommend at Browns. Upstairs the layout and piano player creates a relaxing but dynamic atmosphere, the staff are friendly, and we both ate some good food. Of the two visits, we definitely preferred the experience when eating upstairs, as you can actually take in all of the effort which has been spent on decorating the room (we also felt the service was a bit sharper when we were in the main room), but some may like the quieter atmosphere. An added bonus at the moment is the cheap cocktails deal, with all of their signature cocktails coming in at a reasonable £4.50 until the end of June.
The Glasgow Food Blog dined as guests of Browns.