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Saturday
Sep302017

Short & Sweet: Brawn

Style: Modern European

Budget: Mid-range, though if, like me, you try every wine by the glass and almost every item on the menu, it soon adds up…

Venue and atmosphere: Cosy neighbourhood wine bar and restaurant.

Service: Casual, friendly and knowledgeable. Often Australian. It can sometimes be hard to get their attention when they are busy, but otherwise on point.

Food: Most of their produce is sourced from Natoora, which imports the most flavourful varieties of fruit and vegetables from Europe and the UK, along with some other top of the range products like charcuterie, cheese and Lolin anchovies.

I mention the anchovies because Brawn use them often and in places that you might not expect, such as the roast chicken with cavalo nero and anchovies that I had when I dined there last autumn. I often put anchovies with lamb, but I would never have thought to do so with chicken. It turned the beige of the meat world into something to relish. Roasted romano peppers with Lolin anchovies is a staple of the summer menu. Drizzled with lashings of Senia olive oil it is the stuff of dreams for those who love to mop up juices with crusty bread.

As you may have gathered, the menu tends to follow the seasons, using the best of what the week or month has to offer and changing regularly. I think Sunday lunch is the best day to go. You get a set menu of 3 starters to share, a main and a dessert each for £28. Exceptionally good value, but more importantly, the focus on these 5 dishes (no choices, you get what you are given) eliminates some of the inconsistencies I have experienced when dining on a weeknight.

Drink: A generous list of mostly European natural wines “from small growers who work sustainably, organically or bio-dynamically in the vineyard and with minimal interventions in the winery.” I'm not enough of an aficionado to know how this impacts on flavour, but it certainly reduces the hangover the next day.

In a nutshell: Beautiful produce cooked simply, but with enough delicacy, elegance and technical flair to make it worth going out for. 

Out of 10: 8

Brawn: 49 Columbia Rd, London, E2 7RG; +44 (0)20 7729 5692

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