Brawn, which has just opened on Columbia Road in the fashionable East End, is the sister restaurant of the much loved wine bar/restaurant Terroirs in Covent Garden. The cuisine, which takes its inspiration from France, Britain and Spain, is rustic and unfussy with a big emphasis placed on the provenance of the products used.
The minimalist design with mismatched tables and chairs, the unpretentious atmosphere, the attentive service and the extensive wine list were definite pluses. The food, however, – tapas style, small portions to share – did not convince. The humongous portion of Pork Rillette (£6.00) was a bit tasteless and while the Hand Chopped Tuscan Style Beef (£8.00) was fresh and of excellent quality, it could have done with some seasoning, herbs or spice. The stand-out dish was the Dorset Palourde clams & Manzanilla (£8.00). The clams were perfectly cooked but the real winner was the sauce – a delightful amalgamation of olive oil, garlic and sherry to be enjoyed with loads of the delicious home-made bread that was served free of charge.
When I took the first bite of the crêpes with salted caramel butter (£5.00), I found the combination of salt and caramel lovely and unusual. But the dessert was spoiled by the bitter aftertaste of burnt sugar which overpowered everything else.
Brawn is not a bad place and well worth a visit if you are lucky enough to live in the neighbourhood or if you are venturing out to the flower market or to the vintage shops on Sundays. I wouldn’t bother travelling through town just for a meal there, however.