Browns, Leeds – Restaurant Review

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browns leeds restaurant review Seating area

Browns, Leeds

Restaurant Review

by Kerryn Duckworth

Leeds isn’t short of magnificent buildings with plenty of history and stories behind them. Browns is in one of those buildings. Positioned in The Light on the southern side of The Headrow, the building Browns currently resides in was once the original banking hall of Leeds Building Society. It’s majestic and grand and, on arrival, we are seated straight away by the ornate windows overlooking Victoria Gardens.

On one of those rare sunny days in Leeds, we have the sun shining through the windows and into the restaurant, really highlighting what a striking venue this is. With modern décor and mirrors aplenty, the interior design brings out the location’s full potential.

browns leeds restaurant review exterior

Jenny our server welcomes us to our table. She’s relaxed and approachable and allows us to look through the menus for some time. There is the standard a la carte, then the ‘Homegrown Summer’ menu and also an early evening ‘Fixed Price Menu’ (only available Monday – Friday 12:00-19:00). Apart from the fixed price menu, the other two allow you to mix and match between them, allowing for plenty of choice for all palates.

Based on part recommendations and part personal taste, we opt for two starters and share, both off the standard a la carte menu. They arrive in good time and we dig in.

“Perfect sharing starter”

Firstly, the Pulled Beef Brisket and Brown Sauce Croquettes (£7.95) are round and crispy croquettes surrounded by bright golden yellow piccalilli. The tart vinegar taste from the piccalilli cuts through the beef brisket, complimenting them perfectly. We can only assume the brown sauce is mixed in with the croquettes, however, this would be better drizzled over the top as it’s somehow lost with the other flavours.

browns leeds restaurant review Portobello Mushroom Tart

The other starter, Whole Baked Somerset Camembert (£9.95) is exactly as it says on the tin. A whole Camembert oozing and melting away, covered in a tomato and rhubarb chutney which is sweet and savoury in equal measures. This is the perfect sharing starter for those who care less about their waistband.

No sooner have the starters been cleared, the mains arrive within moments. This time we choose from different menus; Portobello Mushroom Tart (£11.50) from the a la carte and the Chicken, Strawberry and Torched Feta Salad (£12.50) from the Summer menu. The mushroom tart, whilst looks appealing, did come out a little dry and would benefit from a sauce to bring more life to the puff pastry, which takes over the plate. Alternatively this would work better as a starter option and the pastry to mushroom ratio is a little on the wrong side.

“Stuffed to the brim”

The chicken salad is a good choice on the warm summer evening. Plenty of strawberries, avocado and chicken – however, the ‘torched feta’ is simply just feta; there’s no torching that we can see.

My friend chooses a side dish and our meals are accompanied by a portion of Heritage Potatoes with Parsley and Sea Salt’(£2.95). New potatoes sliced in half smothered in melted butter and salt, this is a good choice to sit side-by-side with our light menu choices.

browns leeds restaurant review Heritage Tomato Risotto

To wash down the meal, we choose a recommended white wine; Picpoul De Pinet (£5.60 per 175ml glass). The French wine is light and works alongside our meal perfectly.

Now, I’m not usually a dessert person, which I demonstrate in previous reviews. However, I’m won over by the choice at Browns. Again, two desserts are chosen to share; Salted Caramel Profiteroles (£5.95) and the Caramelised Lemon Tart (£5.95). The stack of profiteroles arrive, stuffed to the brim and coated with toffee sauce. Not too much and light enough. The lemon tart is rich and citrusy and served with a blueberry Eton mess. Whilst the tart is good, the Eton mess is delicious and could be served as a dessert in its entirety.

“A few adjustments”

On finishing our meal, we look around. For a Thursday there is a decent amount of diners, mainly business, older couples and mature friends. There isn’t that many younger groups but that could be in part to the prices of the menu and the fact that the venue is a very big one to fill.

browns leeds restaurant review Chicken and Asparagus Pie

Browns is caught slightly between two stools. There’s the whiff of a high-end dining restaurant but in a family-friendly shoppers’ paradise like The Light. While some of the dishes are good enough for a return visit, others fall flat. And when Leeds is brimming over with a diverse, exciting and extremely competitive restaurant scene where branding is fierce and focused, you wonder if Browns will become lost in the crowd.

But with a few tweaks to the menu and a few adjustments in the kitchen, the Browns brand could shout as loud and proud as the fabulous building that hosts it.

Browns Leeds, Unit H28, The Light, 70-72 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8EQ

Food opening times:
Monday 9am – 10pm
Tuesday 9am – 10pm
Wednesday 9am – 10pm
Thursday 9am – 10pm
Friday 9am – 11pm
Saturday 9am – 11pm
Sunday 9am – 9:30pm

0113 243 9353

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