Bethnal Green, London

Ed Wilson and Josie Stead preside over a near perfect neighbourhood restaurant that offers brilliant food


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Brawn started off life as a pig and natural wine-focused restaurant in a somewhat edgy location on Bethnal Green’s Columbia Road. In the years since, both the restaurant and the location have morphed into something much less hipster and much more inviting.

The bright, bijou front dining room hasn’t changed much in this time, and neither has the restaurant’s focus on understated but brilliant cooking, but over the years chef-patron Ed Wilson has lightened his touch and broadened the restaurant’s scope so there is a more Mediterranean feel to its food.

The British and European focused menu is divided neatly into snacks, starters, mains, and pudding and cheese (not dessert) and Wilson has a knack of ensuring that practically every dish jumps off the page. The menu ebbs and flows with what's available but expect fresh fish, terrines, and expertly grilled meats.

With Brawn, Wilson and his wife Josie Stead have created what must be a near perfect neighbourhood restaurant – brilliant food served in bright and convivial surroundings by friendly, engaged staff. The room has a worn but loved feel, like a comfy pair of slippers you can’t wait to sink into.

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