24 Quay Street
01905 26263

BROWNS Wine Bar opened this week – and it has already been making headlines.

Flooding caused the new owners to close the doors again briefly within its first week, although hopefully the worst is now passed.

On the evening I visited, the water was just lapping over South Quay and I have to say it made the whole area look really quite pretty.

The new owners clearly want to use the setting to their advantage as the new signage calls it Browns – on the river.

The first impressions were that there had been a few cosmetic changes to the interior – but that the place has retained its lovely, characterful ambience.

One major change is, of course, the menu.

It is now much broader, offering tapas and pizza at lunchtimes, afternoon tea and supper clubs in the evening.

Alongside this is an extensive menu very much in keeping with the new Mediterranean theme.

I felt slightly restricted as I am not a fan of fish or goat’s cheese, so that left me with only two main course options – although I’m sure the fish-heavy menu will find favour with many others.

I plumped for the leek and potato soup (£4.50) while my husband had the garlic and herb bread with melted cheese (£3).

The portions were large – maybe too large – and tasty.

I then opted for the Moroccan spiced lamb rump with spicy potatoes (£14) while my other half had a chargrilled dry-aged rib-eye steak with cafe de Paris butter, french fries and a leaf salad (£18). We both enjoyed the meal. My lamb was cooked to my stated preference and the potatoes were spicy but not overbearing.

The sauce was a little heavy but I particularly enjoyed my green vegetables which were spot on – not too crunchy, not too soft.

My husband said his steak was good. He was mildly disappointed that his fries were thin cut – but that was exactly as described on the menu.

We followed up with the chocolate panettone bread and butter pudding with creme anglaise (£5) for me and the brandy snap basket with fresh fruit and clotted cream (£5) for him. Both were excellent.

The coffee we ordered was not so good. Mine appeared to have been incorrectly prepared and was not filtered so I sent it back undrunk.

I was therefore disappointed to find it appearing on the bill but the team graciously waived payment on both coffees after I pointed it out.

Our waitress was enthusiastic so it was a shame we found ourselves having to ask for our bill repeatedly and were left for about half an hour.

I was happy to put this down to teething problems in the first week.

All in all, I think the restaurant is not perhaps as ‘high brow’ as it once was but I think it will appeal to a lot of people.


Food 4
Service 3
Ambience 3
Value for money 4