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Full flavours, large portions, winter comfort

Octopus… poached first and then tossed on the grill. Photo: Wendy Johnson

In the cold, shivery winter months there’s nothing like indulging in a hearty, warming meal, rich in flavour and designed to comfort every bone in your body, writes dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.  

D’Browes, in Narrabundah, specialises in full flavours and large portions with many dishes and food that nourishes the soul. 

Wendy Johnson.

Some dishes have featured on the menu for many moons (indeed, the kitchen wouldn’t dare remove some of the most long-standing popular ones). Specials are offered to hold interest, especially for D’Browes’ long list of regular fans.

One dish D’Browes is well known for is kidneys ($23), cooked so they are soft and moist (kidneys can be dry and dusty if not treated with full respect). Served in a metal dish, to keep them piping hot, they were true heaven with a grain mustard wine cream sauce.

Another long-standing dish is the field and forest mushrooms with white wine and parsley cream ($23), cream being a fave ingredient of D’Browes (butter, too!). Umami delicious savouriness features in every bite.

Duck Maryland has always been a stand-out meal at DeBrowes ($36) – crispy, crunchy skin and poached pear rounding out the dish. The mash was rustic and yum. The beans were overcooked for my liking.

Kidneys… served in a metal dish, to keep them piping hot. Photo: Wendy Johnson

On our visit, octopus was an option, and I was attracted – as I always am – by the promise of fresh herbs, lemon and chilli. The octopus was poached first and then tossed on the grill to get that wonderful, charred effect, without compromising on tenderness. It was a huge portion, and the char was excellent, but I couldn’t really taste the chilli. 

Also on our visit was the punch Cotechino on the specials’ menu, also packed with flavour, with char-grilled pork sausage and garlic lentils ($23).

Although not available on the current winter menu, a friend always orders the chicken and leek crepe when it’s available. It’s her all-time favourite, with the chicken moist, the crepe lovely and soft and the leeks delicate.

D’Browes has a highly flexible set menu option at lunch – design your own meal (two courses $50 and three courses $60). The dinner set menu option is also great value (10 or more people and includes bread and corkage – two courses $60 and three courses $70).

Desserts are decadent (all $17.50) and showcase sticky date pudding, crème caramel, tartufo, pears and zabaglione, and profiteroles. Cheese lovers enjoy a mixed combo with dried fruits, almonds, hazelnuts and biscuits ($25).

The interior at D’Browes is designed around warm tones and an elegant look, with white tablecloth service. The friendly service is efficient (almost too efficient, with some plates whisked away before everyone finished).

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Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson

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