We were there on a Thursday night. By the time we arrived at 7.30pm, the main restaurant was already packed with people, mostly couples and a big table with a party of guys with a couple of girls. The décor at Browns has been updated recently to the Parisian bar and brasserie look, with luxuriant palms and a signature Browns clock. The well-stocked and brightly lit feature bar is the centre of operations. We were greeted and seated by Kate, our smart and friendly manager for the evening. As there was quite a din of diners we could not tell what the ambient music was – it was somewhat indistinct but it wasn’t intrusive.
From an exciting and extensive list, we chose to start our meal with Tiger Prawn Cocktail (£6.50), crisp lettuce and generous portion of prawns; pan-seared scallops (£8.95) with Jerusalem artichoke purée and a pequillo pepper and chilli vinaigrette. The scallops were beautifully cooked, tender and creamy to taste. Serving “classic dishes close to people’s hearts” is Browns’ mission, bringing the traditional and modern classics together. Specials lead a diverse and tantalisingly tasty menu. I asked for a selection of vegetables, green beans, spinach, chunky chips, parsnips and carrots (£11.70). They were all perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of individual al dente and crispness. My companion had Fish Pie (£13.95) salmon, smoked haddock and tiger prawns in a cream and white wine sauce topped with crushed baby potatoes, lemon and parmesan served with green beans. Unfortunately the pie suffered from rather too many potatoes and overcooking and the cream and white wine sauce was not enough to overcome the resulting dryness of the dish.
For pudding there is a variety of dishes with complementary drinks which are called Perfect Combinations. We opted for a single pudding Eaton Mess (£5.95) and a selection of British cheese (£8.95) with Port.
The service was impeccable throughout, overseen by Kate, who we noticed pitching in to clear a table or serve a waiting customer. We considered this to be a mark of an attentive and excellent manager but it also told us something about the overall management style and helps to explain nearly 40 years of Browns success since 1973.
For information see http://www.browns-restaurants.co.uk/locations/brighton/
Categories: Brighton Life