Thursday, 14 February 2013

Review - Browns Bar & Brasserie, George Street, Edinburgh

One of Nicola's favourite restaurants is the Glasgow branch of Browns Bar & Brasserie, which despite being part of a national chain, manages to offer outstanding quality and service every time that she has dined there. In fact, I have previously written about one of my own experiences of eating at Browns, Glasgow.
On the back of these enjoyable times, we decided to eat at the Edinburgh Branch when we were staying through in the Capital after Christmas. After a quick tweet to the helpful staff in Glasgow, they contacted Edinburgh and booked a table on behalf of Gerry's Kitchen.
Or so we thought! After walking the length of George Street from our hotel to the restaurant, we were looking forward to relaxing over some wine and a tasty meal, however there was no booking in their diary. For some reason Edinburgh were not expecting us and more importantly, the restaurant was already very busy and I didn't fancy walking around the New Town trying to find somewhere else. The duty manager steered us to the bar whilst he looked into the situation, meanwhile I fired a quick tweet to Glasgow to let them know that the night wasn't starting well. I'm not sure what was happening behind the scenes but we ordered a bottle of white wine whilst we waited on the mix-up getting resolved. Things didn't get much better when the bartender presented me with two wine glasses that were just a degree or two below turning back into molten sand! We had only arrived five minutes ago and our night wasn't going to plan!
After receiving a tweet back from Glasgow to confirm that they had definitely booked a table for us, and a further ten minute wait, we were eventually seated and our waitress, Magda, left us to look through the menu. With the earlier derailment dealt with, maybe we were back on track for a great evening.
Earlier in the day we had enjoyed a very tasty and filling lunch at The Dogs, so we decided to share one of flat breads as a starter. Unfortunately, when Magda came back to take our order she informed us that they had sold out of flat breads. This is information that I feel should have been relayed to us when we were seated, as a result we had to look over the menu again before settling on Browns Bread Board instead. Shortly after, a selection of warm tasty bread arrived with a selection of flavoured butters. The menu doesn't say what the flavoured butters are, and with no input from our waitress, we managed to work out that we had unsalted butter, sundried tomato butter and anchovy butter. All of the breads were delicious, as we're the flavoured butters. I just wish that restaurants would stop serving unsalted butter as their default option! I know that other diners must look at me oddly when I start to salt my buttered bread, although I don't believe that it's just me?
Browns menu is a collection of good old fashioned dishes from steaks and burgers to pies and pasta dishes, but don't be fooled into thinking that this is simple pub grub, everything is classy with a capital C. Nicola opted for the crab & tiger prawn linguine tossed with lime, chilli and coriander pesto. This huge bowl of pasta was bursting with fresh flavour and crammed with flaky crab meat and prawns while the lime, coriander and chilli balanced the dish perfectly. As Nicola tucked into her pasta I looked on longingly, hoping that she would need a little help to clear her plate.
In a strange twist, I also ordered a pasta dish. My own bowl of lobster tagliatelle was a sumptuous dish of flaked lobster, cream and white wine sauce, topped with a grilled half lobster tail. I had asked for a little chilli to be added to my dish to give it a little kick. I'm glad that I did because I think for my own taste, the sauce would have been a little one dimensional without the extra heat.

With our plates almost empty and the wine finished, we decided to round off our meal with a cheeky wee 'aftertail' instead of a coffee. The Hazelnut Martini that Nicola ordered was a potent blend of Frangelico, Tuaca, Finlandia Vodka & Noilly Pratt, a proper dry martini with I chose the Apple Strudel which was a comforting mix of Sailor Jerry spiced rum, apple schnapps, Tia Maria, apple juice and a spiced cream float. This liquid version of the Austrian pastry tasted fantastic and was a great way to round off a tasty dinner.
After a ropey start to our evening, the food and drink help turn thing around. I settled up our bill whilst Nicola made a visit to the little girls room (which was in need of a little clean, no paper in one of the cubicles and paper strewn all over the bathroom floor). Whilst she was away, the duty manager came by our table to apologise for the mix up from earlier in the evening. Apparently, the restaurant manager had made the booking arrangements with Glasgow and was supposed to be on duty to look after us but due to illness he had not been able to work the shift. Unfortunately, he hadn't had a chance to pass on instructions for our arrival. By way of apology, the duty manager insisted on refunding the cost of our wine, which I happily accepted and we put to good use on more cocktails next door at Tigerlily.
In summary, Browns demonstrated to us that they can serve up delicious food and drink, however on the night there were a few issues where service could have been so much better. It may have been an off night but I'm sure that we will be back to Browns Edinburgh in the future to give them a second chance.
Keep up to date with Browns Edinburgh on Twitter.


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