Brawn is a homely small restaurant located in the heart of Columbia road which transforms to a busy flower market every Sunday. The location cannot suit better for this rustic neighbourhood restaurant much similar in style to St. JOHN Bar and Restaurant. Making a booking can be a good idea, especially around lunch time. It filled up fairly quickly after we arrived early afternoon. It’s a sibling of wine bar/restaurant Terroirs which is known for its organic wine list so naturally you’ll find a few quirky bottles at Brawn as well.
This was the first time I came here on a Sunday afternoon. They only offer a set menu with starters, main and dessert on Sundays. In lack of other options both of us went for the set menu. The three starters were served about the same time before progressing to the main and finally the dessert.
The sourdough bread, supplied by E5 Bakehouse, was a nice start of the meal. E5 Bakehouse has been my go-to place for bread in East London until Fabrique in Hoxton opened up in November 2012 as an alternative.
The first starter was Spanish ham from Teruel. Spanish Jamon can’t go wrong and again I couldn’t prove the opposite. Served plain on a wood board the nutty ham did well on its own.
Next on the table was cured salmon with orange dressing. There was a faint hint of orange in the dressing but the salmon was good.
This was the best of the starters without doubt. The mozzarella had a bouncy texture and was very flavourful. I guess the use of unpasteurized milk at Pasquale Vito contributes to the flavours. The other elements of the dish olive oil and lemon complemented the mozzarella very well.
Next up was the roast chicken. The chicken was juicy and tender. Flavouring was light which let the natural flavours of the ingredients come out. Accompanied by crisp green beans and plain Jersey potatoes the dish was both simple and good.
The previous dishes did well in filling me up to the point of almost forgetting about the dessert. The chocolate pudding was very rich. It was served with a light cream, hazelnuts and crunchy sprinkle on the side. I would prefer to have it slightly less baked but otherwise it was very nice.
As usual I knew what to expect at Brawn. I normally come here for dinner and each time manage to find something interesting accompanied with a wine I’ve never tried before. This time the set menu was less exciting but nevertheless well done and since it was an early Sunday afternoon I decided to stay away from the wine list. For a few dishes it was definitely more about the ingredients than what was done with them like the mozzarella and jamon. I also really enjoyed the roasted chicken. Compared to Beagle in the neighbourhood Brawn is more laid back and so is the food. It remains one of my favourites in the area but I think I prefer it on a weekday evening when Columbia road is less busy and à la carte is available.
For more photos from Brawn, please visit my Flickr set.
49 Columbia Rd
London, E2 7RG
Tel. +44 (0)20 7729 5692