Browns - Islington
The extensive menu - which changes seasonally - is a pleasure to browse and features a variety of dishes to appeal to even the fussiest diner. Dishes are initially trialled in the Covent Garden restaurant and once found successful, are rolled out to the other branches.
Our starters set the bar high - my Oriental-inspired smoked duck salad was colourful and light, featuring a variety of textures, while my companion's pan-seared scallops provoked food envy due to their melt-in-the-mouth delicate deliciousness and the accompanying velvety pea risotto. For mains diners can choose from the main dishes, signature dishes and specials of the day. The tiger prawn and chorizo linguine courted my affections and was a light but filling dish - perfect for a spring evening. The other main we sampled was that brasserie classic: the rib-eye steak. This was served with Bloody Mary butter and, of course, golden chips. This, like the previous dishes we tried, more than lived up to expectations. To round things off we ordered Eton Mess, a lovely way to end the meal; the addition of cherries, hazelnuts and white chocolate pieces provided a dazzling twist. Sublime. Many Browns restaurants are housed in old buildings, lending them an historic air, not to mention a great deal of charm. The Bank restaurant is on the site of (surprise, surprise) an old bank, and the Covent Garden branch is located in a former courthouse, with the original courtroom still upstairs. Functions, including weddings, are held here and guests can even sit in the judge's chair. And this judge's verdict on Browns' Excellent location, fabulous service, great atmosphere and, most of all, delicious food.