As old, England-wide chains go, Browns works surprisingly well. It has branches in some impressive old buildings, where the large windows and high ceilings add to the old-school colonial feel created by the brown leather seats and marble topped bars. The food is better than you might expect and Browns is not a bad place to take foreign visitors in search of something English. There is a decent selection of cocktails, fruit juices, and bottled beers, as well as wines. Dishes on offer include fish cakes and salmon pasta with vodka, and there are usually a couple of daily specials. Mains are around the £10-15 mark. Service charge not included.
Browns Restaurant and Bar, 9 Islington Green, N1 8DU; Tel 0207 226 2555; Tube: Angel. And other branches across England, including Bristol and Cambridge. www.browns-restaurants.com