BROWN’S, the home of interesting international comfort food, used to be a home-based business that occupied an intimate 30-square-meter area in Granada St., Quezon City, started by young entrepreneur Kristian Gadia and his wife. Now, Brown’s has found a new and permanent home at The Hub, Greenfield District, in Mandaluyong City.
Greenfield District is a prime 12-hectare commercial and residential development framed by Shaw Boulevard, EDSA, Sheridan and Reliance Streets, where the EDSA Central Complex used to stand. In answer to the demands of the times, the place was rebuilt and elevated to become home to several high-rise condominium buildings, open spaces dotted with trees and greens, retail zones and dining hubs. The Hub is Greenfield District’s newest dining strip, and it is home to several unique dining concepts, one of which is Brown’s Gourmet Café.
A cozy and comfy place to dine, Brown’s serves international comfort food at affordable prices. The menu is quite extensive, offering a wide range of appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, all-day breakfast fares, roast chicken and rice meals, pasta dishes, Omm Rice (which is flavored rice wrapped in an omelette, much like the Japanese Omu Rice), entrées, rice variants, desserts and drinks. The food is good, the portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable. They range from Php90 for a delightful appetizer like Mushroom + Spinach Croquettes (buttermilk, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and local spinach in croquettes), soups such as Roasted Carrot + Garlic Soup (seasoned carrots, roasted garlic and spinach) and Potato + Leek Soup (organic potato, sautéed leeks and cream), and a must-try dessert like Churros + Blonde Mocha (churros served with mocha-flavored chocolate dip), to Php249 for a hefty 1/2 Chicken + Rice + 2 Sides complete meal.
The home-cooked original recipes served at Brown’s offer familiar flavors yet with a delightfully unique twist. The Omm Rice, for one, is a specialty that must not be missed. It comes in five variants—Arroz ala Cubana (Php160), which has ground beef, tomato sauce, raisins, carrots, potatoes and banana; Pinakbet Rice (Php155), with homemade shrimp paste, squash, okra, eggplant and stringbeans as filling, much like the all-time favorite Ilocano dish; Chicken Rice (Php165), which is roasted chicken with cumin, paprika and cilantro in rice); Smoked Fish + Olives (smoked fish, olives and tomatoes), and Beef Bulgogi (Php170), which recreates the flavors of the Korean dish using sirloin beef, homemade sauce, leeks and carrots. My favorites are the Smoked Fish + Olives Omm Rice and the Pinakbet Omm Rice.
The salads at Brown’s deviates from the usual Caesar’s Salad, Chef’s Salad and Garden Fresh Salad that most restaurants offer. What it has are Garlic Dijon Salad (Php130), which has watercress, cherry tomatoes, bacon bits and croutons; Lemon + Basil Salad + Caramelized Pear (Php140), with Parmesan cheese, croutons, chiffonade of basil, and caramelized pear wedges; and Chili-Calamansi Salad + Candied Nuts (Php135), which has cilantro and candied mixed nuts to go with the mixed greens.
Pasta dishes are another interesting item on the menu. Diners can choose from among eight variants: Basil Pesto (Php150) with garlic and pumpkin seeds; Summer Squash (Php170) that combines roasted squash with nuts, bacon and black mushrooms; Classic Carbonara (Php160) with bacon, cream and cheese; Roasted Tomato (Php165), which has olive oil, garlic, basil and Parmesan cheese; another classic, Aglio Olio (Php150), made up of anchovies, garlic, olive oil and basil leaves; Arrabiata Pasta (Php155) with homemade tomato sauce, chili and olives; Shiitake Cream (Php170), which has button mushrooms, spinach and cheese in a cream sauce; and Puttanesca Pasta (Php150), using stewed tomatoes to go with red wine and herbs.
Baked Spaghetti (Php220) is a pasta dish, but it is grouped together with the entrées in Brown’s menu because it is a generous amount of spaghetti with ground meat in tomato sauce and is served with garlic toast and a house salad.
Paying attention to details, Brown’s offers five kinds of rice—Plain Rice, Garlic Rice, Hainanese Rice, Egg + Leek Rice and Rice Pilaf—priced between Php30 to Php45 so diners can try a different variety with each visit. The place also serves a house blend of Iced Tea, Brown’s Iced Tea, and three refreshing fresh herb and fruit shakes: Ginger + Basil Shake, Mango + Mint Shake, and Mixed Berry Shake. I’ve tried them all, and my top pick is the Ginger + Basil Shake. Of course, Brown’s serves the usual canned sodas, but why would you want a soda when you can have a unique and refreshing shake?
Finally, dessert is a toss-up among Churros + Blonde Mocha (Php90), Deep-fried Cookie Dough (Php95) which I surprisingly fell in love with, and Mango + Cream Trifle (Php120).
(Brown’s Gourmet Café can be found at Unit 18, The Hub, Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City.)