Friday, 21 November 2014

Micro terrine in Brown's Old Jewry Street


Brown's is a once trendy restaurant chain that originated in Brighton back in 1973. Their second branch was in Oxford but. oddly, I never went to it when I was at university there, in the late seventies and early eighties, because you had to queue outside to get in and the Legatus is not overly fond of queues (Salute and that's it!).  It was very popular with students seeking out Spaghetti Bolognese (which was then considered culinary exotica) and such like and had the added attraction of waitresses wearing short skirts (almost unheard of in 1979) and fishnet tights.

Brown's Oxford

No, I had come into some money. fortuitously, just before I started at College and so was more likely to be found in La Sorbonne, founded by André Chavignon in 1966 (it closed in the early nineties and is now a Thai restaurant).  It was a traditional, classic French restaurant of very high quality where a dinner for two would cost £50 in 1979, at a time when my student grant, from which I had to pay my accommodation, food and book costs, was £1500 a year.  Chavignon's sous-chef was a young fellow by the name of Raymond Blanc who went to set up his own restaurant in North Oxford called Les Quats Saisons.  It had just got it's first Michelin star when I went there in 1980; the first Michelin star restaurant I had ever eaten at.  Chavignon was not amused by Blanc's defection and setting up of a rival top class French restaurant in the city and famously called Blanc un petit rat!

I did eventually go to Brown's in Oxford years later, after attending a college gaudy (an event held every seven years or so for people who started at College in the same year).  These events were always interesting in that you could see how well or badly your peers were ageing.  In my case it was an opportunity to have Port-fuelled nostalgic sex with former girlfriends (there was a lot of that sort of thing going on!).  It was one of said ex-girlfriends who took me to Brown's the next day for the first time.

Brown's Old Jewry Street

However, the branch I visited this week was at Old Jewry Street in the City of London, close to a former office I used to work in.  We used to regularly visit this branch and I still do with a former personal assistant.  I was there with some Canadian lady friends on Monday and I ordered, as a first course,  some terrine. When it arrived however I was appalled by the tiny serving.  I am not exaggerating but the piece was about one and half inches by one inch.  It is the smallest piece of pate or terrine I have ever had in any restaurant anywhere on earth!  £7.50 for this was outrageous!  I don't mind paying for good food but I don't like being ripped off.  Brown's you are on a warning!


  1. Happy memories... I practically lived in Browns in Brighton in the late 70's, early 80's.. my girlfriend at the time was at Sussex University... such good times......

    1. I have been to the Brighton one a couple of time!