Brown & Bean, Plymouth
We love to sniff out a new restaurant at Muddy and we were first through the door at this one, on Ebrington Street.
Well, that was unexpected. There I am, tottering along the street, minding my own business, nose to the Muddy grindstone wondering where to park myself and my laptop for coffee, when all of a sudden, I remember where I am. Didn’t I read somewhere about a new restaurant opening on Ebrington Street soon? I wonder where that is, then? Oh, hang on. Right in front of me. And, oh, hang on. There seems to be movement inside. Oh wait. They’re turning the closed sign to open. In I go, then.
It’s quite a nice feeling to be the first through the door of a new opening; even better when you don’t really know much about the place, so you’re naturally full of curiosity. What I do know is that Plymouth’s Ebrington Street is really starting to garner a decent reputation for its indie cafes, coffee shops and bars, so Brown & Bean is in good company.
So anyway, having escaped an almighty hailstorm and unwittingly bundled myself in through the door for the restaurant’s soft launch, it only feels right to tell you what it’s like.
It’s a small, cosy candlelit space, with exposed brick walls and wooden floors, shades of brown and grey, with an understated class about it. In short, rather bang on decor. I particularly like the logo, which somehow really reflects the kind of place it is. I was greeted by the owners who certainly went out of their way to make sure I got a decent welcome (along with every other person who walked in behind me).
And then, I made quite a discovery: this is a first-time venture for long-time friends Ben McBean and Paul Brown, the latter of whom is a health and safety consultant and the former an Afghan War veteran, who Prince Harry hailed a ‘true’ hero of the conflict, having been badly injured in a landmine blast aged just 20.
But who completes the trio and cooks the food? I’ll tell you who, it’s only blimmin’ Anton Piotrowski, of BBCs Masterchef fame; now a Michelin Starred chef in his own right and the man behind the hugely successful Treby Arms. Well, this was quickly turning into the best Sunday lunch of the year.
And what was on the scaled-down menu for the trial run? A good old Great British roast beef, is what, along with Yorkshire pud and all the trimmings. You can’t go wrong, really. The chef himself popped out of the kitchen to deliver the ‘trimmings’ (hardly seems fair to call them trimmings) and, although I made all the polite noises about how I couldn’t possibly get through such an enormous portion, I put in a pretty impressive performance, leaving only one carrot going spare.
That carrot then turned up in my pud, not as some kind of petulant protest from the kitchen, but as Anton’s now-famous signature carrot cake, as seen on Masterchef.
It was a lip-smacking, belly-pleasing, hugely enjoyable few hours and I’d say the early signs are rather brilliant for this new venture. It has just the right amount of offbeat indie personality, but with a more refined feel to stand out as a fine dining establishment. Which is what Brown & Bean is setting out to be, by the way. It’ll be fully open by Wednesday for lunch and dinner and the menu sounds as good as you’d hope from a chef of Anton’s calibre. If today’s very reasonably priced lunch (at around £24 for two courses and a glass of plonk) is anything to go by, I’d book a table while you still can.
Brown & Bean, 68 Ebrington Street, Plymouth, PL4 9AQ. Opening Wed 8 March and then Tues – Sun for lunch and dinner.