Review: Browns Cambridge

A drink out in the sun-trap terrace outside Browns Cambridge has long been a favoured spot in our fine city. I remember lazy afternoons sat right there from the days of post-exam haze to post-babe haze. There’s something about the location and the consistently tempting menu – full of robust classics and fancier specials, always lures me back.

Browns has always had a classy interior – the old hospital building with it’s high ceiling helps of course, but it also has that touch of Gatsby glamour and shiny gold rails I enjoy. Recently it’s had a bit of a makeover, the Gatsby glamour remains but add in a touch of modern funkiness too – think plush yellow velvet sofas, and a statement wallpaper. With that there’s a new food menu and cocktail menu. We started off with two from the pink themed specials which were a bargain at around £5-6 each. My pink sours was definitely one to add to the new favourite cocktails list – with a delicate pansy placed on top of that delicious pink froth.


I ate from the seasonal specials menu because I’m a sucker for asparagus and all the dishes on there just screamed spring. After some deliberation, I went for the scallops with braised lamb croquette for starter. It was the dish of the night – that lamb croquette melted away, keeping the soft textures of the scallops moving through each mouthful.

Alex opted to have a seafood binge and started it off with Devon crab on toast. The lovely hunk of bread perfectly filled that ‘I’m really hungry and already had a strong cocktail’ feeling, the crab was perfect and she liked the combo of textures.

Braised lamb croquette & pan seared scallops £9.75 Pea & mint houmous
Devon crab on toast £8.95 Toasted sourdough, brown crab mayonnaise

My main was good too – I went for those spring green spears again and had asparagus and smoked pancetta linguine. The flavours not quite so stand out as that gem of a starter, but a perfectly poached egg balanced on top made the dish for me and I loved the smoky pancetta with the oozy yolk.

Alex’s sea bass looked hugely tempting  and would certainly be something I would go for another time. All that seafood broth goodness smelt diving and I like the idea of heritage potatoes. She mentioned she probably should’ve ordered an extra side of greens – and they had some great options to really mop up all that great sauce.

Ever the cocktail fans, we skipped wine and washed this down with some of their more signature cocktails. Alex had the British spritz with Kamm and Sons aperitif, Chase Elderflower liqueur and topped with Prosecco and soda – it was a revelation for us Aperol spritz loving girls. My British Royal with vodka and rhubard and rosehip cordial was ideal too – I love that rhubarb and rosehip syrup and have sampled it at Browns before so it’s great to see I can still get my hands on a cocktail with it in after the menu change.

Pan fried sea bass £15.75 On a stew of prawns, mussels, squid, heritage potatoes, tomato, fennel & white wine sauce
Asparagus & smoked pancetta linguine £9.50 Soft poached egg, basil & lemon dressing

A favourite from the old menu stays strong in the dessert offerings – salted caramel profiteroles. I was in heaven when I sampled them last time and so I couldn’t resist having them again. I wasn’t disappointed – they will be my idea of dessert heaven every time. Alex, in lieu of any dairy-free options apart from sorbet (and the rest sounded too good to have sorbet!)  had the banofee pie, the caramelised banana and popping candy was fantastic and she loved crispy crunch of the base of the pie too.

We’ve made it a tradition to always round off a meal with a glass of dessert wine. A Hungarian Tokaji and a classic Sauternes were absolutely divine and brought a warmth and sophistication that seemed fitting for the slight 1920’s gangster atmosphere. It was that or an Old Fashioned and I think we made the right choice to go with our desserts.

Banoffee pie (V) £6.25 Caramelised banana, chocolate popping candy
Pud Salted caramel profiteroles (V) £6.25 Devon cream toffee sauce, homemade salted caramel

Browns, 23 Trumpington Street, CB2 1QA. 01223 461655, Social @brownsbrasserie

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About us
Bone White China is a Cambridge-based food and lifestyle blog founded in 2009. Written by Sian Anderson and Alex Higgs and featuring fellow mums and friends Charlotte (our baking queen) and Charley (our style guru). We’re passionate about celebrating the everyday, simple pleasures, having fun, motherhood and supporting other locals.