Review: Brown’s Bar and Brasserie, Cardiff

Arriving at Browns Bar and Brasserie in Cardiff, my friend Sian and I are greeted almost
immediately by a friendly, smartly-dressed waiter. He politely escorts us to a table next to the full-length windows – the perfect spot for people-watching.
Celebrating their 40th birthday this year, Browns are a self-proclaimed “all-day brasserie”, serving food “close to people’s hearts.” The menu exudes class, with each dish cooked fresh to order using quality ingredients. 
This sophisticated restaurant is just one of 27 branches of Browns dotted around the UK. The brand belongs to 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.
Great attention is paid to the interior décor of each Browns restaurant, with atmosphere and surroundings assuming a big role in the dining experience. In the Cardiff branch, this is evident in the rustic wooden flooring, high ceilings and panoramic window.
Our waiter, who introduces himself as Pree, is more than happy to help us choose a bottle of wine that we both like, letting us try some before pouring it and placing the bottle in an ice bucket – we feel like royalty! Sian isn’t usually a big fan of wine but she really likes it too, which can only be a good sign.
Pree gives us plenty of time to ponder over the menu, without leaving us feeling as though we’ve been forgotten about. To start, I order the roasted goat’s cheese (£6.95), garnished with walnuts, pico de gallo salsa, golden beetroot, sweet pomegranate molasses vinaigrette. I have never tried warm goats cheese but it goes down very well, and the dish is beautifully presented on a black slate board.

Sian orders the grilled asparagus (£6.75), which comes with prosciutto, a poached free range egg, lemon and chervil hollandaise. As Sian is vegetarian she asks Pree if it can be served without the prosciutto, and this is no problem at all for him to arrange.
Moving on to the main course I decide to go for the 21-day aged sirloin steak, accompanied by watercress, plum tomatoes, flat mushrooms, chips and anchovy butter (£18.95), served with exotic mushroom sauce (£1.95 extra). The steak is cooked medium-rare just to my liking, with a mouthwatering, chargrilled taste. The mushroom sauce is like nothing I have ever experienced before – easily the best sauce I have ever tasted – a thick, velvety sauce with whole mushrooms and a hint of madeira. I have to refrain from licking the plate.
For her main meal Sian chooses the goat’s cheese tortellini, served with lemon, semi-dried tomatoes, broad beans and herb vinaigrette (£10.95). She comments that it is well above her expectations, making for a delicious vegetarian dish. 
For dessert, I just have to try the white chocolate and raspberry blondie, served with raspberry coulis and strawberry icecream (£5.95). The brownie is served warm, a pleasant contrast to the coldness of the ice cream, which is sinfully creamy and laced with specks of strawberry.
Sian chooses the salted caramel cheesecake, which is covered in a caramel and lime sauce (£5.95). She insists that I try some because it is so good, and I don’t take much persuading. The caramel layer is rather thick but it doesn’t matter because it is just so moreish – I would order this for dessert if I were to visit Browns again.
After my first visit to Browns Cardiff, it’s safe to say I most definitely will be attending again – in the very near future, hopefully! The food was excellent, but for me what really gives Browns the edge is its elegant décor and flawless customer service. It would be the ideal venue for a quiet date or food with friends.

To celebrate their 40th birthday this year, Browns are offering two courses for two people from their 1973 menu for £19.73, served Monday to Thursday until 29th August 2013. Why not try out Browns for yourself? You’ll need to
register on the website to access this offer, and you will receive a printable voucher to take to the restaurant with you. 
Browns Cardiff
The Friary Centre,
The Friary,
CF10 3FA
(02920) 667 096
I was invited to Brown’s Bar and Brasserie as a guest and our food and drinks were complimentary.

*Unfortunately, Brown’s Bar and Brasserie in Cardiff has now closed down.


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