I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Browns Brasserie and Bar prior to our visit, surprising really considering there are now 25 of them dotted across the country.
We paid a visit to the Oxford restaurant on a mid-July Saturday afternoon, and immediately it offered a welcome escape from the bustling, tourist-filled streets outside. With a large spacious interior, it’s clearly designed to be somewhere to spend time unwinding over a meal and bottle of wine, or perhaps even while away the hours with an afternoon tea.
Browns Brasserie offers a range classic English dishes, from steaks, pies, fish and of course burgers. Think Bills, but done properly and with some feeling.
They have a few burger options on the menu, though mainly this comes in the form of modifications to the standard ‘Browns Burger’, which is topped with cheese and bacon and accompanied with fries for a very reasonable £12.25.
I however decided to go all-out, and opted for the burger topped with Lobster and sea herb mayonnaise. It’s the priciest burger on the menu at £15.00, but this is still pretty affordable considering the price of lobster in most restaurants. I also knew that I had made a good choice when our waitress gave her instant approval to my selection.
To drink I ordered a bottle of beer from the Rock in Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery. The Honey Spice IPA is part of the brewery’s ‘Connoisseur’s Choice’ of beers, and it’s a real treat for the tastebuds.
Relatively strong i terms of alcohol content for a beer at 6.5%, it’s the flavours that are the real selling point of this drink, with tones of honey and spicy pepper giving it an edge that is difficult to find elsewhere in the pale ale market.
It’s stunning amber colour when poured in the glass also made this very appealing visually. It’s a drink I will definitely be looking to get some more bottles of in the very near future.
Then came the burger. I almost feel that words alone cannot do this justice, so instead I will let the pictures do the talking.
An absolute beast of a burger, it was presented in two halves on the plate – due to its size there wasn’t really much choice about this!
On one half came the beef patty, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, gherkin and four HUGE onion rings, held together by a skewer. On the other was the beautifully fresh lobster in mayo – so fresh in fact that this was the overwhelming smell that filled my nostrils when the plate was put in front of me.
Stacked together, the monstrous size of this burger became even more apparent, with it towering above the bowl of fries placed next to it – and that was after I had taken the onion rings out!
I have to admit that this was one occassion where I broke usual ‘hands only’ rules and decided to cut it in half to make it slightly easier to tackle. I can’t imagine anyone having a big-enough mouth to eat this with just their hands without making the most embarrasing of messes.
The burger also offered a rich-blend of flavours, particularly from the lobster. In fact, the lobster was the highlight of the burger, and it tasted like it had only been caught from the sea only an hour-or-so earlier. Unlike the other elements of the burger, the lobster was cold in the mayonnaise, however this helped to accentuate it’s flavour even further.
The beef was also of high standard. As highlighted in their menu, all burgers served at Browns adhere to Pastures New Standards, meaning the cows they come from are grass-fed as opposed to soy-fed, meaning the beef remains a premium quality.
Overall I would highly recommend paying a visit to Browns Brasserie if you haven’t already, whether that’s in Oxford or elsewhere. I haven’t even mentioned the excellent scallops starter or the chocolate brownie pudding i had after the meal – both of which were also of an excellent standard.
Browns has something for everyone, even if you aren’t necessarily going to want a burger. But with such an incredible burger on offer, why would you not?
Browns Brasserie and Bar can be found at 5-11 Woodstock Rd, Oxford, OX2 6HA. This review took place on 18/07/2015.