Browns Brasserie | George Street
I'm a big fan of George Street in the centre of Edinburgh - it's full of amazing shops, bars and restaurants and for some reason it never feels as congested and hectic as Princes Street. It's also the stretch that Sean and I visit often for lunch or dinner with his dad - though somehow I'd still never got round to trying the menu at Browns until I was invited along to review it this month.
I've never actually been to any Browns restaurants at all, although it has often been recommended to me, and Sean remembers going a few years back and really enjoying the food. When I walked in on a Tuesday night it was quiet, but I'd still recommend booking a table if you're planning a visit - the restaurant is much larger than you'd expect from the outside, but I've still walked past a number of times and spotted it jam-packed with people!
We were shown to a table in the corner by an amazing waitress who I have to make a point of mentioning early on - the service at Browns is really fantastic, you never find yourself waiting for your food to arrive or your plates to be cleared, in fact we never actually had to even pour our own drinks!
THE NEW BROWNS DINNER MENU
I had been invited along to try out the updated menu, which features a number of what you might consider to be classic dishes, such as lobster, steak pie, roast chicken and fish and chips. There are also a number of lighter mains like haddock fishcakes and prawn and crab linguine, and vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. In other words - the menu caters to pretty much everyone, something that can be surprisingly difficult to find when you're hunting for a restaurant to suit larger groups of people!
It was difficult to pick a starter from all the choices, but I eventually settled for a favourite of mine - baked camembert with warm toasted bread and a yummy rhubarb and tomato chutney. So often I find that when you order a baked camembert the serving size is all wrong, with you often running out of bread to dip in halfway through, and whilst I'll never say no to eating melted cheese with a spoon, it is nice when you don't HAVE to go down that route.
Sean isn't a big fan of cheese (why am I marrying him again?) so he went for the Devon crab on toast which I also snuck a bite of - future wife privileges as far as I'm concerned - also very tasty, but not quite on the level of the camembert for me.
For the main course we were both very much on the same wavelength, opting for the slow cooked salted pork belly with buttered green beans, mash, crackling, red wine jus and...get this, a savoury apple pie!
As you may be able to tell from the photos, the portion sizes for the main are also not to be sniffed at. You might expect from the menu for Browns to go for the more fine dining option of small, perfectly arranged portions, but you definitely won't go hungry here! The main was delicious again - I'm not a big fan of apple sauce with my pork but I actually loved the mini savoury apple pie and have already added it to my mental list of things to try in my own kitchen in the future. The pork belly was also perfectly cooked and not overly fatty as it can often be - the only slight niggle I had was that the crackling was far too chewy to eat, but putting it to one side didn't detract from the rest of the meal at all.
I'm a massive chocolate addict, so of course for dessert I had to choose the trio of chocolate - a perfectly executed gooey warm chocolate fondant, chocolate ice-cream with hazelnut praline and a cute little white chocolate pot that Sean actually finished off on top of his own banoffee pie because I was practically full to bursting by this point.
After the dessert plates had been cleared away we lingered a little longer over our last glasses of wine, discussing wedding plans and house decoration ideas, before we forced ourselves to head out into the chilly air of a typical February night in Edinburgh.
WOULD I GO AGAIN?
I'm already planning to head along with my mum or my sister (or both) the next time they come up to visit me - though not for dinner, I want to try out the brunch menu, or maybe the delicious sounding afternoon tea...or maybe both?!
*We were kindly offered a complimentary meal and drinks to review, however as always - all views are my own and I was not paid for this post - if I say something is delicious, you can bet that it is!