22 July 2015

Restaurant Review: Browns Brasserie & Bar, Oxford

Last week I was kindly invited to Browns Brasserie & Bar in Oxford to sample their new summer menu. I was so excited when I saw the menu as it was full of delicious plates I knew were going to taste amazing. Browns Brasserie is a chain of elegant upmarket restaurants with very reasonably priced food. Their food takes inspiration from British classics and French twists creating dishes that taste, and look, incredible. 
Browns Brasserie in Oxford reminds me of the type of restaurant we used to go to in Europe, it just has that chilled out vibe where you can sit for hours sipping cocktails and enjoying good food during a long conversation. Liam and I had an amazing time just enjoying each others company which is something we haven't done in ages, and both of us agreed to give this brasserie 100% on all marks. 

For starters we had the warm salad of pan fried chicken livers and black pudding with toasted pumpkin seeds and a raspberry vinaigrette and pulled ham hock and piccalilli terrine with Bramley apple butter and sourdough bread. The chicken livers were incredible - don't be put off by the fact that it's livers, they taste delicious and combined with the slight bitterness of the sweet raspberry vinaigrette and crunchy pumpkin seeds, the dish was just flawless. It looked incredible on the plate too - and explosion of colours! I was also very impressed with the pulled ham hock terrine which had the subtle taste of piccalilli - it looked gorgeous and the Bramley apple butter took the whole dish to a new level of YUM.

For mains, we had to have the two 'surf and turf' combinations: 8oz sirloin steak served with half a lobster tail and peppercorn sauce, and slow cooked salted pork belly served with scallops, smoked Bramley apple puree, buttered mash and apply brandy and Pink Lady jus. YUM. We added the lobster tail and scallops to our meals as Liam and I both love seafood, and also because we both wondered what pork and scallops would taste like together as it's a combination neither of us had ever had. The steal was cooked perfectly (we like it RARE!) and the butter/lobster tail combination bought out the most intense flavours of beef I have ever tasted. It just completely transformed the meat from what we normally know of steak - so intensely creamy and buttery. The pork belly is something we need to just stop and talk about: it should be illegal to serve pork belly without scallops. Oh my dear lord - the taste was incredible! A little bit of pork and a little bit of scallop, covered in apple puree with some crunchy crackling... It's heaven. Seriously, best thing I have eaten in a long time at a restaurant. Totally get if you're shellfish allergic and can't have scallops, but if you are just turning your nose up at seafood - you're missing out. Massive, massive thumbs up to the creator of this dish - it's faultless. We even tried to sit and think of what we didn't like about our meal but nothing came to mind - perfect!

We then moved on to dessert and cocktails: for dessert we had (are you ready?!) salted caramel profiteroles covered in caramel sauce. I think I died and gone to heaven. I mean the profiteroles alone would have been delicious, but the salted caramel was just the perfect finish to this beautiful meal.
We then enjoyed some cocktails (which are a handy £5 from Sunday to Thursday!) and they looked and tasted gorgeous - my favourite has to be the British Royal which is a delicious fruity blend with a punch of vodka and prosecco. Some of the other cocktails we tasted were Browns Martini, Jerrys Iced Tea, Lady Daisy, Honey and Ginger Cosmopolitan and You Rang, M'Lord.

I rank Browns Brasserie & Bar in Oxford a perfect 10/10 for the delicious food, lovely cocktails and excellent service from our smiley waitress Diana. Thank you to the manager of the restaurant Medea for having us and for creating such an inviting environment where the diners are well looked after.


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