There’s something about a good ol’ fashioned pub that we can never quite resist. London is full of them, tiny, sprawling, each with their own tribe, sinking pints after work.
We visited The Gunmakers on day one of snowmageddon, making falling into a glass of red wine all that sweeter. It’s a teeny tiny 19th century pub tucked away on a little side street in the heart of Clerkenwell (honestly, it’s a wonder anyone finds it!) and its recently been taken over by the team behind eco bar Nine Lives.
You’ll find an interesting selection of craft beers and cocktails served by some of the warmest bar staff in the biz. But the really exciting bit about this place is the food. Yes, newly appointed Head Chef Madison Duffy (ex Brooksby’s Walk and Wright Bros) has taken over the kitchen with her Asian inspired dishes. The menu is split into small plates with one seasonal larger dish of meat, fish or vegetable. We ordered all of the small plates so can confidently say, it’s a winner.
Particular highlights include the chickpea nuggets with a tahini and miso dipping sauce, crispy tofu squares in a gloriously sticky sweet & sour glaze and smoky charred broccoli with a jalapeno, mint and ginger dressing. The fish was hake, delicate and subtle under lashings of spring onion and perfect with the brown rice which had crispy onion stirred through it.
Not only were the flavours exciting but it was really refreshing to see so many awesome vegetarian options on a pub menu. They weren’t supporting dishes, they turned out to be the stars of the show.
Let it be said that Madison is an exceptional chef. And modest too. She’ll try and sweep in at the end of your meal to quietly clear your plates and ask if you’d like to try the dessert (peanut butter and sesame brittle crepes with coffee ice cream – you do) but don’t let her get away that easily. Heap praise on her, she really deserves it.
She humbly explained that the reason you’ll find so many veggie options on the menu is purely due to economics. It’s a small pub and it’s cheaper and easier to store seasonal plant based ingredients, she explains. She goes on to say that she’s never visited any of the countries she’s drawn inspiration from, having only travelled to Oz – not that you’d ever be able to tell. She’s obviously meticulous in her research when it comes to building recipes and we’re positive you’ll see her name in the spotlight in the years to come.
What a lovely team! If you’re lucky enough to have this as your local boozer, make sure you use it! If not, it’s well worth going out of your way for a visit.