Our second visit to Browns happily coincided with the last, best day of intense summer sun. A leisurely bus ride into Sheffield, a stroll in the sun, lunch in the Crucible Theatre Bar and the matinee performance of Northern Ballets’ Romeo and Juliet preceded dinner at Browns. Even if you have never tried the ballet, try this; Northern Ballet productions are accessible and utterly moving.
Last time we went to Browns it was a Saturday and we were almost overwhelmed with the noise in the bar, evidently this is a very ”happening” place whatever that means. We (four) were rescued by the manager and shown to our table, she told us that though we were very early, not to feel pressured to order. She returned with a complimentary carafe of water (how’s that for service?) and asked if we would like to move to a quieter table. Everyone loved the meal including one who usually finds fault everywhere.
This time it was a Thursday and just two of us. Much quieter but the atmosphere was the same, conversations, laughter and cocktail shakers. We were recognised! Then taken to our table as if we were their favourite customers. The view from our table across the Peace Gardens to The Town Hall (see attached photo) was wonderful and added to the experience. The menu is extensive, varied and a mix of classics, modern British and popular world dishes. Last time we all had different and everything was well cooked and delicious; this time it was ”Lobster Night”. We both had crab starters then Champagne Lobster Thermidor, absolutely delicious. The ambience and the service was outstanding. They manage to marry old fashioned waiter service with modern smiles and friendliness. The service and little things like complimentary water before asking if a branded water was wanted make this a must try. The wine list is comprehensive, with plenty of good value, affordable varieties. It also has some outstanding wines that may make your eyes water on price but are stunningly tasty.
This chain is a great example of filling the gap between pub grub and fine dining and hints cleverly at both.