Cardiff restaurant review: Brown’s Bar and Brasserie, The Friary

 After visiting Browns Bar and Brasserie, Cardiff, back in March and falling in love at first taste, imagine my excitement when I was kindly invited to visit the restaurant again.

Browns Cardiff is just one of 27 branches of its kind in the UK, owned by Mitchells and Butlers, the UK’s leading restaurant and pub operator and owner of well-known food outlets like Harvester, O’Neills and Miller and Carter. To find out more about Browns and what the Cardiff branch is like inside, click here to read my earlier review of Browns Cardiff.Browns serve popular British dishes with a classy twist, like chicken, leek and bacon pie in a cream, white wine and mint sauce with buttered mash and broad bean and shallot fricassee (£11), and calves liver with mash, crispy prosciutto, deep fried sage and a red wine jus (£14).


When I last visited Browns I noted that their staff have an excellent knowledge of the wine menu, and I’m pleased to say that this is still the case. After entering the restaurant and being escorted to a seat, we take a look at the rather extensive list of wines and eventually opt for the pinot grigio rosé (£5.35 for 175ml; £19.50 for 750ml). Our waiter asks us if we’re sure, noting that it’s quite a “pale” wine. This suits us fine so we stick to our choice, but it’s good to know that advice is on hand should we need it.

We can’t decide what to order for starters but we eventually decide upon the Browns sharing platter (£16), so we get to taste a variety of smaller dishes. The platter includes honey mustard chicken, crispy chilli duck, chorizo sausage roll, salt and pepper squid, prawn cocktail, goat’s cheese stuffed picante peppers, lavash breadsticks with harissa hummus, aubergine caviar and a lime and chilli mayonnaise (vegetarian version also available).

The chorizo sausage roll is by far our favourite dish on the platter, consisting of warm, spicy chorizo in a light puff pastry – I’d take these over ordinary sausage rolls any day. I’m also very fond of the honey mustard chicken, which is tender and aromatic, and the picante peppers, oozing with warm goat’s cheese.

I’m not very keen on the squid or the caviar, although to be fair I’ve never tried either before and I am a bit funny with seafood.  The caviar tastes bland and whilst I enjoy the initial taste of the seasoned squid, the rubbery texture puts me off.

For my main course, I choose the lamb, feta and mint burger (£13). This is so big it’s served open and as you can see, it looks pretty impressive. A thick lamb burger, stuffed with feta and mint, is topped with iceberg lettuce, sliced beef tomato, tzatziki and crispy onion rings, served with chips, Browns chunky ketchup (more of a relish), mayonnaise and sliced dill pickle on the side.

My burger really exceeds my expectations; the warm feta inside it tastes great paired with the lamb and mint. The chips are golden and crunchy and taste homemade.

My guest orders Browns cod and chips (£12) for her main, an Atlantic cod steak in a herb tempura batter served with crushed minted peas, chips, tartare sauce and Browns ketchup. This looks really tasty and my guest thought the minted peas made for a refreshing change from mushy peas, only too often served with battered fish.

For dessert, I order the Browns eton mess (£6), a creamy concoction of crunchy meringue pieces, whole cherries, white chocolate and hazelnuts. I love all of the different textures in this dish and the juice from the cherries runs into the cream, giving it a delicious fruity taste. I manage to polish most of it off but by the time I’m done, I could literally roll home.

My guest goes for the brioche and butter pudding with cinnamon and dates, served with a dainty jug of hot custard (£6). This is a great comfort dish, the perfect treat for these cold winter months.

Once again, I’m pleased to say I’ve had a lovely evening dining at Brown’s Cardiff. The food was great and our waiter was friendly, popping over a few times to check we were enjoying our meal. It’s the ideal restaurant to visit when you’re after some quality food in classy surroundings – but be prepared to splash out, it’s quite pricey.

Browns Cardiff
The Friary Centre
The Friary
CF10 3FA
(029) 2066 7096

I was invited to Brown’s Bar and Brasserie as a guest and our food and drinks were complimentary.

*Unfortunately, this restaurant has now closed down.


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