Browns, Spiceal Street

Lunchtime in the school holidays and what to do? With seven weeks to fill this could be a regular dilemma when we’re out and about in Brum. 

Not in the mood for a typically child-friendly venue (you know the ones) and not forward-thinking enough to have packed a picnic, we thought we’d suss out Browns. While the children’s menu is perfectly good, the grown-up one is particularly appealing and the wine list is a cracking mix. (Well, it was after midday and seven weeks is a long time!) We sat on a high table with a golden sheen, cut crystal glasses and crisp white napkins – all very civilised. The usual kiddie fare features on the menu and not surprisingly my two plumped for garlic bread followed by burgers. They happily devoured the garlic bread while downing pineapple juice and mango smoothies. The burgers were spot on, quality meat and perfectly moist. The chips had been salted in the kitchen a bit heavy-handedly for my liking, but the kids didn’t mind one jot. Apparently I’m ‘soooo serious about salt.’ That told me. I chose asparagus with prosciutto and a poached egg with hollandaise sauce to start which was rich and oozing. The other half emerged from being engrossed in the wine list and ordered pea and mint soup from the specials which was lively and fresh served with a hunk of warm bread. On the wine front I enjoyed a cold glass of Picpoul de Pinet while inspired by the Ashes, he sipped the Googly Chardonnay.

DUO OF LAMB

My main of pan fried cod with shrimp butter, new potatoes and spinach was delicious, laced with capers of which I’m a fan. The portion was quite hefty and there were a handful of tatties going spare. The other half followed the recommendation of our attentive waitress, Agata which was duo of lamb. A mini shepherd’s pie served in a ramekin alongside a couple of juicy cutlets with a sticky, rich sauce was really tasty. We could have lived without pudding, but the kids were keen – any excuse. A chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream rolled in honeycomb was the youngest’s dream dessert and a fruit salad with yoghurt and shoots of popcorn for the eldest was fresh and light. (Still not sure what shoots of popcorn are even having eaten them.) The grown-ups shared salted caramel profiteroles – properly indulgent and perfect for two. We left lunch feeling happy and sated, but given it was the first day of the holidays I had a sinking feeling we may have peaked too soon.

BROWNS 7 Spiceal Street, St Martins Square, Birmingham, B5 4BH. Tel: 0121 643 8708 www.browns-restaurants.co.uk