Browns Eatery & Store

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - INDEX - Greg Bruce


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.


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.


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.

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