Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

A bite to eat with the Brains ladies!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to meet the marketing and PR ladies from Brains for a bite to eat in their new town centre establishment, Greenwood and Brown. I was unfortunate enough to miss the grand opening so I was pleased to get a second chance and an opportunity to sample some of the food on offer.

I was very impressed when I walked in. It was nothing like I was expecting and if I hadn’t been told it was a Brains establishment, I would never have guessed. The layout was very up market and much more like a restaurant than a pub. In fact, although you can go in for a drink, they don’t serve beer on tap, only in bottles. It is much more geared towards eating than drinking.

The Brains ladies busied themselves ordering lots of food from the menu for us to try which I am certainly not going to complain about! They were very passionate about the concept they were trying to achieve and keen to show off the menu which is currently unique to the Greenwood and Brown.

I learnt a lot about Brains in those few hours (and ate a lot!). They are really trying to make more of the food they offer. While many Brains pubs will stay geared towards drinkers, others are being used to showcase the ever expanding and improving menu that development chefs are working on. Many Brains establishments use the same menus which they are able to select dishes from but some of the more ‘foodie’ places like the Greenwood and Brown have a menu developed especially for them which I was very interested to learn.

I have to say the food was good and it is competitive. With a lunch menu at a fixed price of £7 and a general menu too ranging from £2.25 for bar snacks to £19 for a steak, there is lots to choose from. There are also daily steak specials and all ingredients are locally sourced where possible.

We tucked into sandwiches, steak, risotto, mussels, chips, pork scratchings, and olives. Just as I thought I couldn’t possibly eat any more, dessert was ordered. We had what is called a ‘dollar dessert’ which meant we had a pounds worth of each dessert usually priced at around £5 for a whole one. I think it’s a brilliant concept and we certainly got a fair amount for the money. It looked great too.

Until my meeting with the Brains ladies, I have to say, I never would have been that quick to pair Brains with good food. Many of the Brains pubs I have visited have been great for a drink but left me a little disappointed on the food front. Is this all about to change? With lots of refurbs going on, are Brains going to be able to make enough of their food to put them up there with some of the better restaurants in Cardiff. I’d certainly be more than happy to review some to find out.

What do you think? I’d be interested to know your opinions on this….

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6 responses to “A bite to eat with the Brains ladies!

  1. xcardiffbirdx (@xcardiffbirdx) February 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I have always found the majority of Brains Pubs in Cardiff to have a brilliant atmosphere and love their ales but have always been left sorely dissappointed in their food. Steaks are never cooked how you ask them to be cooked and are usually very hard to eat let alone enjoy. Warm food often reheated never cooked from fresh is poor.too. After this review though, I shall definitely be giving Greenwood and Brown a visit……the Dollar Dessert sounds divine!

  2. Sara Robinson February 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Brains food – universally rank. The concept of moving upmarket is an interesting one. But I would rather starve than eat in one of their pubs.

  3. uncle wilco February 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I recently had ripeye steak at G & B and it was excellent (best I have had in Cardiff for a very long time) and all the side dishes (we had different one each) between 4 us were more then enough to share – the buttery mash was lush

    I did not try the pudding

    only downside no real ale on tap – but we just popped to the city arms after for a nightcap – so everyone was a winner.

  4. aledwynne February 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Sounds good. I think that dessert would appeal to a lot of customers too, as choosing just the one can be tricky!

    I’ll have to give it a go! Do you know how busy they are, for booking purposes? (Just wondering as I tried to get a table at The Potted Pig last week, to be told that I’d need to book 8 weeks in advance!)

    • Nikki- Your Last Mouthful February 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

      I have to say I largely agree with all your comments. I haven’t had a great experience with Brains pub food in the past but I think it’s great they are trying to turn things around and the Greenwood and Brown is nice. I’m not sure about booking, I don’t think it will be necessary. It’s not like the Potted Pig where you would go solely for a meal.

  5. telerijj February 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I do like Brains pubs in Cardiff as I’m a fan of traditional ‘old man’s pub’ rather than fancy wine bars. Great value for money, good laugh and atmosphere, especially on match days and Christmas time. You can’t go wrong with City Arms, Dempseys and The Cottage in town.

    Food in Brains pubs are a bit hit and miss and not consistent in all of their properties – I’ve had good experience in Bar 33 in Windsor Place and Barocca in Wharton St, mixed at The Yard and Malsters in Llandaff and but quite poor at Black Lion in Llandaf and The Wharf in the Bay. So due to this, I have been going to other restaurants / pubs for lunch or evening meal.

    However, my opinion on food with Brains has changed since I was invited to the preview evening at Greenwood and Browns back in December – I was very impressed with the presentation and the quality of food, especially the steaks. I was also pleased to hear that they use local suppliers like Celtic Pride (based in Carmarthenshire) for their meat. The bread, seafood platter and the steak were amazing and probably the best food I’ve had in Cardiff for a long long time (apart from The Potted Pig).

    I can see what Brains are doing here – they are responding to the current economic change and have identified that their customers ‘habits’ have changed from no longer wanting a cheap pub meal or spend the night getting drunk but instead treat themselves to good quality meal at a quality restaurant. Other establishments in Cardiff have done the same such as The Old Cottage in Thornhill and The Corner House (formally Kings Cross) in town, and they are doing very well for themselves.

    I just hope that they roll out the same quality of food, service and presentation in other Brains pubs.

    I was sad to see the The Model Inn gone and transformed into a restaurant but after visiting G&B a few times now, Brains have done a fantastic job here. I was a bit taken a back that the restaurant looks and feels very similar to Randall & Aubin in central London – all Brains need to do now is serve oysters on ice with champagne!

    One thing that does let the place down is no beer on tap but as Uncle Wilco said, City Arms is only next door!

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