Brains are diversifying. The Cardiff-based brewery recently bought the Coffee #1 chain and is now branching out into restaurants. Greenwood & Brown on Quay Street is a bold statement of intent.
At this week’s Greenwood & Brown bar grill preview tasting evenings they’re serving up seafood platters followed by two different steak cuts.
The seafood sampler comprised large meaty shrimp (crevettes), prawn cocktail, peppered mackerel pate, oak smoked salmon and a horseradish and dill sauce. The smoked salmon and the shrimp, in particular, impressed. I like horseradish with my oily fish, so the sauce was a little milder than I would make it. On the full menu, you’ll also find calamari, a kilo of Welsh mussels (with a choice of two sauces, £12), seafood chowder, sea bass and other fish specials at market prices. A fish platter appetiser will cost £16. If you really want to sail the boat out, the Fruits de Mer (for two people) is £58.00 (pre-order 12 hours notice required).
The steaks, served with green beans and steak chips, were tender and tasted like they had come from animals that had been well looked after. I thought the sirloin was really good, but the comparison showed why the ribeye costs that little more, as it was even better. The green beans and thick steak chips were very moreish, partly because there’s a fair bit of salt on them. On the full menu there’s a choice of rump, sirloin and ribeye (£12, £15 and £19, respectively, which includes one side dish), while there will be steak cut specials. If you’re a couple and want to go for it, the Chateaubriand steak with Béarnaise sauce might be for you (£48 for two people). Our preview steaks definitely left us wanting more.
The desserts are suitably grown up and there’s Costa coffee. The wine list features nine reds and nine whites, with a few roses, with additional choices on a wine specials board. Bottled beers, spirits, champagne and classic cocktails are featured.
Music can complement the dining experience. In Cardiff, for example, the classical music in Wally’s Kaffeehaus and the classic rock in the New York Deli perfectly chime with the décor and food. At Greenwood & Brown, the overloud early-evening dance music did nothing to enhance my dining experience.
I had a pint of the Rev in the City Arms beforehand, a pub owned by Brains and one of the best traditional-style drinking venues in the city centre. The City Arms is practically next door to Greenwood & Brown (Casanova’s Italian Restaurant is sandwiched between them) and this was a key factor in the decision to convert the Model Inn into a restaurant rather than another pub. I suspect there will be a fair amount of traffic between the two Brain’s establishments.
Other Brains pubs in Cardiff city centre: Goat Major, Dempsey’s, Old Arcade, Cardiff Cottage, Barocco, Yard Bar and Kitchen, Kitty Flynn’s, Duke of Wellington, Westgate, Cardiff Arts Institute, 33 Windsor Place.
Greenwood & Brown:
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