Browns Eatery & Store
SET UP & SITE
At a nearby table a superbly dressed couple, deep into their 70s, shared Sunday morning club sandwiches. They were not necessarily representative of the crowd as a whole, which included families with small children, groups of middle-aged friends, couples and so on — the stuff of brunch crowds everywhere — but in its stereotypical Remuera-ness, the feeling it gave of being in a very particular part of the city, these two could not be ignored. Browns is fairly boisterous, with much coming and going, people picking up baking and coffee. There’s a nice semi-segregated area at the back for families and a small table at which children can read from the selection of books, or colour-in the provided Browns-sponsored sheets.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
It’s almost unfair to judge Browns for its brunch offering since the cooked choices are effectively just bacon and eggs on toast or avocado on toast, and the place appears better known for its baking and elegant club sandwiches than for anything else. But if you’re going to offer brunch, you need to be prepared to be held accountable for that brunch. The avocado on toast was fine, the eggs were reasonably poached, and served with decent free-range bacon and five-grain toast, but none of those ingredients, nor their presentation, offered anything to suggest you were anywhere particularly special. The coffee was good and the cheese scone was excellent. It wasn’t like there was anything wrong with Browns. It was just sort of inoffensive.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
The coffee didn’t come until after we had finished eating our meals, although our children’s hot chocolates came long before. Service was otherwise totally okay and sometimes friendly, but this is solely a counter-service place and the queues at the counter sometimes reached precarious levels. Browns has the feel of a neighbourhood spot to pick up a good coffee and an incredible-looking lamington. If you judge it by those standards, it’s good, and possibly even excellent. If you’re looking for somewhere to get a cooked brunch and hang out for a bit, however, you could definitely do better.