Restaurants, French Bethnal Green
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Britta Jaschinkski

Since this review was published, Brawn is now fully owned by chef Ed Wilson. Time Out Eating & Drinking editors, June 2016.

Brawn is the second offering from the team behind Terroirs (and most recently, Soif), and is nicely pitched to appeal to a hip east London crowd without alienating other diners. Staff are young and attentive, and there’s a contented buzz about the place. The decor is unfussy: two rooms with whitewashed walls and simple furniture.

Likewise, the terse menu: ‘Cod’s roe £4’, for example, doesn’t do justice to the deluxe taramasalata that appears. Dishes are made to share. From a selection labelled ‘Pig’ we tried moreish pork rillettes; from ‘Cold’, hand-chopped Tuscan-style beef was steak tartare by any other name, and equally good. Less full-on options might be swiss chard with Cantabrian anchovies and lemon, or buffalo mozzarella with olive oil and capers. The ‘Hot’ choice included excellent clams with lemon and garlic, and gone-in-a-flash cauliflower cheese. Unmissable crêpes with salted caramel butter are among the short list of puddings.

Much care is taken over provenance: cheese comes from Androuet (Spitalfields) and the wonderful bread from E5 Bakehouse (London Fields). ‘Natural’ wine is showcased on the drinks list, with most bottles produced by small, committed growers; it certainly makes for an interesting choice.


Venue name: Brawn
Address: 49 Columbia Road
E2 7RG
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-3pm Tue-Sat; noon-4pm Sun. Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Thur; 6-11pm Fri, Sat
Transport: Tube: Hoxton rail or bus 48, 55
Price: Main courses £12-£17. Set lunch (Sun) £28 3 courses
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