For background about Beck at Browns and its chef, plus commentary on the wine list, please see my earlier review.A three course set lunch was available for £29, but we went a la carte. The wine list had around 350 labels, and naturally enough was strongest in its Italian section.
A series of nibbles arrived to start the meal. There was rock oyster with tarragon and tomato gel, a crisp of beetroot and avocado cream, and the best: butter and anchovy crostini with lemon cream and caviar. A final amuse bouche of sea bass carpaccio was flavoured with lime, white truffle and cannellini bean sauce (15/20 average). Scottish scallops were pan-seared and served with pickled Calabrian tropea onions, little pieces of courgette and a sweet potato crisp. The scallops had good natural sweetness and the other elements balanced the shellfish nicely (16/20).
A risotto of winter greens was remarkable. The Acquarello carnaroli rice was impeccably cooked, having absorbed the stock, which in this case was a warm veal broth made with veal shoulder. The rice was enhanced with a Madeira reduction, Parmesan and butter, the broccoli tips given a luxurious edge by shavings of white truffle from Alba. The depth of flavour was stunning, and overall this was one of the best risottos I can recall (19/20).
Sea bass came with Mediterranean accompaniments of tomato, Taggiasche olives and lemon zest. The fish was carefully cooked and the olive flavour came through well (15/20). By now we were pretty full, but a modern take on tiramisu was very good, featuring plenty of coffee flavour and the dish having good texture (16/20).
Coffee was from Illy. The service was very slick indeed, silky smooth and friendly. The bill came to £251 each, but that involved some serious festive over-indulgence in the wine list. If you had three courses and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per person might be around £80. This was a lovely meal, the risotto in particular standing out. The cooking has now settled down at Beck and Browns after its early days, and the restaurant is now serving the best Italian food in London.