Browns is the sandwich shop we don’t deserve

The lamb and mint one probably cures cancer

Lunch at uni can be tricky. If you’ve been slogging it out in the library for hours, you’re either faced with the reliable but unspectacular Nisa meal deal or something from the library cafe. Then, if you’re late to the lunch rush, the last resort of choice is a sausage roll and a green apple, probably bruised all over.

Alternatively, those who live on campus can return to their accommodation with relative ease, perhaps with one of Market Square’s finest frozen pizzas or a tasty tinned oxtail soup. Then there are those brilliant twats who cook proper meals, and will probably have some nice leftover salmon that’s been fashioned into a cheeky sandwich or a fajita.

All of these are acceptable avenues of approach to the weekday midday meal, but none of them are comparable to the delight that is Browns of Heslington. If you want to transform your lunchtime from part of the slog to the high point of your day, if not your life, then live a little. It fucking rocks.

Location, location, location

Browns is fabulously positioned. Very near to campus, but bereft of all its horrific architectural hallmarks, Main Street is the sort of road that Hollywood uses to communicate its most cutesy interpretation of England to an American audience.

Bang tidy

Additionally, the Charles XII is a fantastically underrated pub, offering great meal deals every day of the week. Although that won’t matter: you’ll merely stop for a pint there because that’s just how carefree you feel after your first bite of a Browns sandwich.

The only slight eyesore is the boarded-up post office ATM right next to the shop, a consequence of its surprise emancipation by robbers last term, but any sad sentiments resulting from this sorry sight shall soon be alleviated.

The sign

Just look at it. Look at that sign. It’s old-timey and wonderful and it means business. That’s not to mention the other sign which has “probably the best sandwiches in the world” written on it by the door. That’s just a straight up challenge you should rise to.

The interior

It’s bright and warm and cozy and there are wooden beams with directions on them. This is everything you want from a food vendor: it’s got an earthy, homespun feel to it, completely lacking any soulless corporate sheen and never trying to force meal deals and savings down your throat. This shop knows that if you visit, you already have a discerning taste and need no hand-holding when it comes to buying food.

It’s not a rip-off

Of course, some of the food and drink on offer gives off a Waitrose vibe. Tyrrell’s crisps and liquorice in striped packaging can be easily clocked upon entry. But these are not the focal point of Browns – that honour lies with their selection of sandwiches. Focal point in this sense is fairly literal: the sandwiches are found on an octagonal table slap bang in the middle of the shop.

And what sandwiches they are. Egg mayo, tuna and sweetcorn, lamb and mint, pork and stuffing, beef and…well, everything (if there are vegetarian ones I must confess I haven’t stopped to look at them). While these may sound run of the mill, the price tag suggests something more.

At £2.90 a pop, they aren’t £3.19 Nisa mealdeocrity deal cheap, but that’s still pretty good for something that can stand perfectly well on its own merits as a complete meal without the need of some prawn cocktail crisps and a bottle of water to support it.

Also, they’re much girthier than they look in the below picture, and everybody loves girth.

This just screams ‘homemade and healthy as hell’

Sweet treats

Finally, as an addition to your sandwich made in heaven, you can treat yourself to a pudding. These are the kind of desserts you don’t feel guilty for buying. They look homemade (and can thus be classed under “proper food”, and can therefore be eaten with easy justification) and they aren’t a whole Nisa birthday cake. ‘Nuff said there.

So, if you’re in the library, or a similar studying space, and you find 1pm fast approaching, I implore you: desist from the drudgery of Market Square, resist the temptation to reach for that half-eaten Efe’s left over from last night, and head away from the soul-crushing brutalism of campus and buy yourself a nice Browns sandwich. You will not regret it.