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Browns
Browns
131-133 George Street,
City Centre,
Edinburgh,
EH2 4JS
[View Map]
0131 225 4442

Review Written May 2009


A brasserie for all seasons

THE MORE I GO TO BROWNS THE MORE I LIKE IT; FOR COFFEE, CAKES AND COCKTAILS TO BREAKFAST, BRUNCH AND SUNDAY LUNCH. THE SPACE IS BEAUTIFULLY STYLISH (A CONTEMPORARY TAKE ON ART DECO) BUT WELCOMING; YOU FEEL EQUALLY AT HOME SIPPING A PINT AT THE BAR AS YOU DO SITTING DOWN FOR A SPECIAL THREE COURSE MEAL. THE REASON FOR OUR VISIT THIS TIME WAS THE SEASONAL MENU CHANGE.

To start, I chose a retro prawn cocktail served with bread and butter (£5.95) and my partner plumped for pan-seared scallops served with bacon, spinach and a confit of sweet peppers (£8.35). The prawn cocktail arrived in a chunky glass rather than the ubiquitous wine glass and brimmed with curly king prawns; crisp lettuce and a perfectly-balanced Marie Rose sauce with just the right amount of tang (note to self, return and eat this for lunch!). My partner's scallops were huge and juicy and tender. It was a salty dish but the spinach provided the perfect foil. A sophisticated Sicilian Fiano (see our wine pages) was the perfect quaffing partner for these starters.

Main courses faired equally well. For me, a salmon fillet marinated and baked in soy sauce with shitake and button mushrooms served with char-grilled pak choi (£12.95) and for my partner, steak frites (£12.75), a prime 6oz sirloin with lemon, parsley and peppercorn butter, watercress and chips (£12.75). My salmon had a delicious crust of caramelized sweet soy and the mushrooms were swimming in the 'salty with a sweet edge 'sauce; crunchy pak choi completed my plate. The Asian textures were delicious, well-balanced and well-executed. My partner was delighted with his juicy, dripping-in-butter steak cooked medium rare as requested. The frites were golden crisp on the outside and fluffy inside and the watercress a palate cleansing and refreshing, seasonal touch.

We were hugely disappointed that we couldn't manage dessert and would have chosen an after dinner cocktail from the excellent cocktail list or perhaps the cheesecake which is a new addition to the menu. The temptation of baked vanilla, chocolate, lemon, strawberry, banoffee or rum and raisin versions (£5.25) ensure yet another visit!

Browns is a slick, well-run operation minus the pretension or prices of other George Street venues. The service is knowledgeable and friendly and the ambience perfect for any occasion.

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