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38 Queens Road,

(0117) 9304777

The ViewBristol Review

Review by29/04/2009
Classic food in a glamorous restaurant is a recipe for success, despite the intimidating prices.

The Venue
Aesthetically, Browns has rather more in common with the Acropolis in Athens then with its Whiteladies, Queen’s Road or Park Street counterparts.

Opening in 1922, this grand building was apparently modelled on Doge’s Palace in Venice. It has served as both the city’s museum and Bristol University’s Dining Room, despite being crippled by bombs in the Second World War.

It oozes class - the space, the attractive decor and the splendid steps leading up to its vast doors. You can eat and drink outside on the three terraces, while enjoying the hustle and bustle of the university and Park Street’s frantic shoppers.

The People
Immaculately dressed staff maintain an aura of calm and composure amid the thronging crowds and vast platters of food whizzing around the place. What is immediately striking is the sheer aristocracy of Browns.

It's almost as if you’ve been whisked back in time, to an era where only the well-spoken, elegantly dressed stratum of society could afford the dine out. However, you are soon swept along with this bizarre and very English show, guiltily enjoying the fawning, attentive waiting.

The Food
Where do you start? The main menu is available all day, every day, while there is also the lunch and early evening menu, the breakfast and brunch menu and (a favourite) the prix fixe menu.

The prix fixe is two courses starting at £10.95, which is a bargain when compared to the prices on most other menus. That said, you can be assured that you are paying for quality across the board.

The fish and salads are excellent, with a remarkable salmon (£12.75) and the fresh, indulgent baked sea bream (£11.95). The steaks are delicious, ranging from £11.95 to £18.50, while the appetizers and sides are both good value and taste.

While the breakfasts and brunches at Browns are not so noteworthy, the prices honestly reflect this. The crowning culinary glory of this place though, must be the Sunday lunch, with fine roast sirloin of beef being a real favourite.

The Drink
The champagne flows here like few other restaurants in Bristol. They range from the Primo Prosecco Della Venezie (£4.35 for a glass or £21.95 for a bottle) to the Krug Grand Cuvee Brut (£135).

The wine list is frankly spectacular, though once again you must always keep an eye on the price before you get an unpleasant surprise later on. For an excellent wine with seafood try the Muscadet De Sevre Et Maine Sur Lie (£15.95), but be sure to ask what the waiter recommends – they certainly know the business.

Coffees and teas are fairly cheap, while the continental bottled beers and extensive selection or gins, vodkas, whiskeys, rums and cocktails could satisfy almost anyone.

For an extra little treat, try an after dinner lychee and apple smoothie (£4) and leave feeling less guilty about the impact on your health that your main dish had.

The Last Word
If you have the money then there are few finer, more reliable or pleasure-seeking environments to dine than Browns, even if it’s only for a light snack or afternoon tea.
Browns has been reviewed by 6 users

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Content updated: 04/09/2014 05:37

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