Browns Bar & Brasserie
- Telephone 0141 221 7828
- Food served Mon–Thu 8am–10pm; Fri 8am–11pm; Sat 9am–11pm; Sun 10am–10pm
- Pre-theatre times Mon–Fri noon–7pm
- Average price £15 (lunch); £18 (evening meal)
- Pre-theatre price £11.95
- Website www.brownsglasgow.co.uk
The first Browns opened in 1973 and there are now 20 outlets across the UK, including a well-established restaurant in Edinburgh. It has now come to central Glasgow, where the steady-as-she-goes growth of the steady-as-she-goes chain rubs shoulders with next-door neighbour Jamie’s Italian, whose proprietor was not even born in 1973. The Browns package is an assured, reasonably priced one with some admirable touches. A crab and avocado stack is attractively presented and although the crab is a little over creamy it works well with perfectly ripe avocado. Similarly, a delicious Gloucestershire smoked beef with parmesan shavings is accompanied by fried capers – an unusual and successful change from horseradish. Mains look appealing on the menu with such options as wild boar and chorizo burger and slow cooked shoulder of roast lamb with minted broad beans and sweet potato. Quite how the 'British' style will chime with Glasgow diners is still open to question, and it's a shame to to see little or no evidence of locally sourced produce or even local beers. On a busy night both the house special shepherd’s pie and the fish of the day only appear – after a considerable wait – rather overcooked and salty. Puddings perk things up, though, with both the lemon and mandarin tart and the superbly light apple and strawberry galette rounding the meal off extremely favourably. Sure, there are more glamorous, charming and exciting options elsewhere in the centre of town, but many will take comfort in Browns' assured approach. In addition, aspects such as traditional Sunday lunch (with a free children’s meal), breakfasts and afternoon teas, along with very reasonable prices, will help it to find its market.
Browns is a safe pair of hands in George Square, a busy part of town where food choices can seem overwhelming. It has a French influence in its styling and décor but a very British feel in the food – with a name like Browns it could hardly have anything but. The menu is divided into ‘classics and grills’ – for the patriotic burgers, pies and the like – then a bizarre ‘fish, pasta, salad and vegetarian’ section which could almost be labelled ‘foreign stuff’. It is just a shame there is nothing very Scottish on offer – the featured steak is from the west country. There are some tempting descriptions such as courgette, pea and feta filo parcel and prices are very good. Overall a good place to meet up as no one will have far to go to catch a bus or train home.
- Provides: Pre-theatre menu
- Open since: 2011