First of all, guys, apologies for the poor quality of my photos – this is not the standard you're used to on my blog or I generally prefer to include. However, the lighting at the restaurant was particularly unhelpful and while it made for a great atmosphere (much more important of course than my pictures), a good photo it did not make. So please see beyond the quality and know that all the dishes we tried on our visit looked much nicer and more flattering than they appear on the images in this review.
Like with any good Thursday evening dinner, we started our evening with a round of delicious signature cocktails. My friend had the Charleston Sour (Bulleit Bourbon, Archers, Earl Grey syrup, lemon juice, peach bitters), which she really enjoyed, and I ordered the Blackberry Fizz (Absolut Raspberri, Créme de Cassis, Chambord, lemon juice, Prosecco). I adored the presentation of mine and it was delicious too, the flavour of blackberry (or Cassis) really came through and made for a refreshing drink, perfect for a warm summer's day (or, as the case may be, a rather grey February evening).
For a starter I had something the size of a main (because I'm Dutch and I love my cheese): a Whole Baked Somerset Camembert With Warm Toasted Bread and a Tomato & Rhubarb Chutney. It was absolutely delicious. The crunchy pieces of bread punctured through the Camembert skin perfectly to let the gooey cheese ooze out in abundance. The slight tangy touch of the chutney complimented the rich flavour of the cheese, balancing the dish perfectly. It was also an incredibly generous starter and so of course I did share it (but only a little bit).
My friend ordered the Salt and Pepper Crispy Squid With Aioli for her starter. She said it was nice, although not very substantial – but good for a small snack if you don't want to ruin your main meal. However, she felt it was mostly batter with not enough squid. It's a good thing my Camembert was so big that I was able to share it!
For my main I choose the Slow Cooked Salted Pork Belly, which came accompanied by a Savoury Apple Pie, Buttered Green Beans, Mash, Crackling and a Red Wine Jus. First of all, can we take a moment to admire the genious of the savoury apple pie and the delightfully playful result on the plate? I absolutely loved this and thought it a very clever way to snazzy up the condiment. Though, it has to be said, the mini pie didn't allow for much filling and so there wasn't quite enough apple sauce for the very generous piece of pork belly. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this main very much. It was big, delicious, and the pork belly in particular was cooked to perfection; succulent and oh so flavoursome with a delightful crunch on the top.
My friend's main was the Roasted Lamb Rump With Potato Gratin, Crushed Minted Peas and a Wine Red Jus, which was plated lovely and nice tasting to boot. She said there was a good quantity of lamb, it was nice and tender, and it was cooked exactly how she's requested it. The accompaniments of the minted peas and potato gratin were also very suiting. Overall the dish was filling enough, but it wasn't so big that you'd felt uncomfortably stuffed afterwards.
Finally, for dessert, I had the Trio of Chocolate (warm chocolate fondant, white chocolate pot, chocolate ice cream, hazelnut praline). Because why have one dessert when you can have three? All three of the chocolate minis on the plate were scrumptious, but especially the intense yet delicate white chocolate pot and the gooey fondant, which oozed a rich chocolate sauce when opened up. A beautiful trio of cocoa delights that would make any chocolate fan (or someone who simply has a sweet tooth) very happy.
My friend loved the Salted Caramel Profiteroles (Devon cream toffee sauce, homemade salted caramel) she had chosen. As we all know, salted caramel is very in right now and so this twist on the traditional profiteroles is right on trend. They were gorgeously presented, and a perfect finish to the meal. My friend found them really flavoursome and said she'd happily eat them again.
All in all, we had a very lovely dinner, filled with traditional dishes with a modern twist and all cooked extremely well. And with this location of the Brown's restaurants being just a hop, skip and a jump away from London's glittering theatre land, it's the perfect stop before or after a show for some tasty cocktails and well-made comfort food.
Brown's Covent Garden is located on 82-84 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4AG.