The Gun

02 December 2004 by
The Gun
A 34-seat dining area adjoins the bar
It took successful gastropub duo Tom and Ed Martin more than nine months of painstaking restoration to transform a derelict 19th-century naval pub into their latest venture, the Gun. Tucked away in the heart of London's Docklands, the Gun is an eastward move for the Martin brothers, who also own the White Swan pub in the City and the Well in Clerkenwell. The Gun sits right on the banks of the Thames, and its riverside terrace offers a stone's throw view of the Millennium Dome. Inside, the original dark oak bar, reclaimed timber floor and paintings depicting naval battle scenes - appropriate for a pub that can claim Lord Nelson as a former regular - create a smart but cosy feel. Adjoining the main bar there is a 34-seat dining area, as well as two private rooms and two snugs, the Red Room and Gun Room.
Executive chef Scott Wade (pictured left), formerly of London restaurants Mirabelle and Drones, where he was senior sous chef, seems to have settled right in, and he clearly believes in what he's doing. "People want to eat nice food but not to worry about using the right knife and fork," he says. "I like informality, and colleagues have always told me this is my fort‚." The Gun's food has been described as a blend of French bistro and English pub - a description Wade is happy with. "I may look towards Asian or North African influences in the future, but for now I'm concentrating on British and European dishes." There are four menus. The dining room and pub menus are available until 10.30pm each day, then there are menus for Saturday and Sunday brunch and Sunday lunch. The six-option starter, main and dessert menu of the dining room offers the most sophistication, with the likes of rare-breed pork sausages with lyonnaise potatoes and Pommery mustard sauce (12.50), and grilled Aberdeen Angus rib-eye steak and skin-on fat chips (£14.50) served with snails and Caf‚ de Paris butter (made with anchovies, curry powder, garlic, parsley, chervil, capers, Worcestershire sauce and "about 30 other ingredients" Wade refuses to let slip). With Billingsgate market literally next door fish dishes are also common. There are starters such as six oysters with shallots, served with a Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar (£9) and a pint of prawns with mayonnaise - served in a dimpled tankard (£7), or mains such as braised monkfish ossobuco-style with risotto milanese (£15.50).
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The bar at the Gun, where Lord Nelson was once a regular
Wade is still fine-tuning the menu, but big sellers at the moment include the starter of potted duck with pear chutney and sage brioche (£6.50) and main course of tender South Downs lamb: a "Barnsley chop" with roasted garlic mash, cÅ pe duxelle and mint jus (£14). And the roast suckling pig sandwich with apple sauce and crackling (£8.50) has done so well it has become a permanent fixture on the pub menu. Weekday lunchtimes are busy, with the ever-expanding Canary Wharf district near by - a rickshaw service will soon be available to ferry time-conscious diners there and back. The five-man brigade currently serves an average of 35 covers, a figure Wade hopes to increase to 60 in the summer once the riverside terrace is in full use. Two sittings on Saturday nights usually ensure at least 70 covers. "We get a really different mix of people here," Wade explains. "There's good local trade as well as business." For Wade, it seems, the future looks bright. "I've been waiting a long time to do this, to pull together everything I've learnt over the past 15 years," he smiles. "Gastropubs are the way forward." The Gun 27 Coldharbour Docklands London E14 9NS Tel: 020 7515 5222 Website: [ Chef's cheat When you make guacamole, keep the avocado stone and push it into the finished guacamole to stop it going brown. What's on the menu - Warm salad of lambs' sweetbreads with mountain herbs and pickled wild mushrooms, £10 - Beetroot-cured salmon with horseradish créme fraÁ®che and melba toast, £6.50 - Truffle honey-glazed pork belly, braised fennel and ravioli of Bury black pudding, £13.50 - Roast partridge, confit of root vegetables and port vinaigrette, £14.50 - Rice pudding with home-made Kent plum compote, £4.50 - Pear crumble and clotted cream, £4.50 Menus of the quarter The three winning menus for the May to July 2004 quarter are One-O-One, London; Pied Á Terre, London; and the Terrace, Cliveden. All three go through to the shortlist for the 2005 Menu of the Year Catey sponsored by Quorn.
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