Belfast Telegraph Review by Joris Minne
Lunch at Browns is a sequence of rich displays of love and affection for local produce
Review by Joris Minne, Belfast Telegraph, 2nd December 2023
“Views can make a poor restaurant popular. You sit in a prominent place by the picture windows overlooking the sea, the city, the mountains or whatever, admiring the dominions before you in the comfort of a warm dining room, and pay less attention than usual to what’s being brought to you.
Views are the best distraction. They tap into the mindset of Londonderry’s 18th century Earl Bishop, Frederick the 4th Earl of Bristol (the cream of sherry ones) who declared across the front door of his newly built library, Mussenden Temple: “Tis pleasant, safely to behold from shore the troubled sailor, and hear the tempests roar.” It’s a popcorn moment which captures the essence of view gazing.
None of this will have crossed the mind of Ian Orr the talented chef patron when he opened Browns on Bonds Hill on Derry’s Waterside. That’s because the promise of a grand vista of Derry City across the Foyle is cut short by the roof of the railway station just down the hill. And yet, the big picture windows provide the sense of space and light which I crave at lunch time.
Ian Orr wouldn’t rest on the view’s laurels anyway because he’s a chef dedicated to the culinary pleasures and keeping his reputation. Brown’s has led the way in Derry ever since he took it over in 2009. It was quickly compared to earlier excellence like Shanks near Bangor and Roscoff in Belfast and yet recognition has been slow to come. Browns does get a mention in the Michelin Guide and it frequently pops up on various radar screens including the Bridgestone/McKenna, Georgina Campbell guides and features in the awards lists of the Restaurants Association of Ireland. But it deserves louder applause.
Lunch is a sequence of comforting, rich displays of love and affection for local produce……. read the full article HERE