Reviewed by Siobhan Bridgwater
I have been enjoying the hospitality of the Browns Brasserie and Bar for the last three decades around the country, so it was with high expectations I went along this afternoon to sample their Royal Afternoon Tea in celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. I took along one of my girlfriends and we were really looking forward to the luxury of an hour or so of teatime treats and chatter.
Whilst we were seated at our table, I could not help but notice that little had changed in the Browns decor and appearance over the years and, in the daylight hours, whilst clean and presentable, it was starting to look a little tired.
As our cocktails arrived (we were not expecting that with afternoon tea) we were suitably impressed. What a fine start. The British Royal is a vodka based drink with Rosehip and Rhubarb cordial and apple, topped with Prosecco and decorated with two plump blackberries. The taste was very good and added to the sense of fun and relaxation on this sunny afternoon in Bristol.
Soon to follow were the savoury rolls, mini desserts and a cream tea, with both fruit and plain scones and a lovely pot of English Breakfast tea. The presentation was pleasing and we were keen to tuck in.
We started with the mini butter brioche rolls. The fillings were smoked salmon with chive & lemon cream cheese, free range egg and baby watercress and coronation chicken. They all disappeared pretty quickly but, whilst soft and tasty, they did not really seem particularly special or out of the ordinary.
The mini desserts: one salty caramel profiterole each, chocolate brownies and lemon and Earl Grey tea cake were disappointing overall. The cake was dry and we did request some pouring cream to help the brownies down. Unfortunately, the mini Strawberry & Pimm’s Jelly neither looked, nor tasted, very appetising.
The most disappointing of all were the “home baked” scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam which were cold and powdery and tasted no different from the value shop bought ones.
We left somewhat deflated and were in agreement that the whole experience was disappointing. It was fine but not fine dining and just not the special delights we had hoped for and, at £17.95 per person, we did not think it was great value for money.
Served daily throughout June from 2.30pm to 5pm, the Royal Afternoon Tea with a British Royal cocktail is £17.95 per person. For more information or to book a table visit www.browns-restaurants.co.uk.
Browns, 38 Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1RE | 0117 930 4777