The Gun, Docklands

The timing of reviewing a pub called The Gun could have been better, given the dreadful event across the other side of the world on Friday.

Going here nearly wasn’t the plan. I cannot tell you the original plan as it has been put back to next Sunday, and even then I am not going to tell you the plan or even release the review. I have something up my sleeve. Ooooh.

We had two friends visiting and staying in Canary Wharf for the weekend that wanted to join us – and definitely didn’t want to come on the originally-planned mission, which for when you find out where it is (eventually), you’ll understand.

By the way, for any new readers concerned about my choice of venue, I would like to reassure you that this is not Racist Dinners In London, I am most definitely not celebrating guns and I would happily eat halal roast dinners. I’ve had quite a few black things on roast dinners in my life and I have a black friend, so I am not racist. Although I am from up north.

According to their website, The Gun has a fair amount of history attached to it – albeit not unusual for a London pub – some bloke called Nelson used to live in the area and used to inspect the guns at the nearby West India docks – and also used to be associated with smugglers.

Docklands isn’t the easiest place to get to – the nearest tube station to The Gun is Canary Wharf – a 23 minute walk away. So for no reason at all, I decided to start my journey from Hackney, walking along Regent’s Canal for what seemed like an age – perhaps because I was desperate for a wee and somehow there were no toilets or pubs with toilets on the whole length of the hour+ walk.

Are we nearly there yet?

Regent’s Canal is a pleasant walk once you get past the cornucopia of aggressive joggers demanding you switch walking lanes continuously – oh apart from the needing a piss thing, however as we strode through Limehouse and Poplar, Farage-esque in our new-found common-man walking abilities desperately seeking a pub – the aforementioned areas before I screwed up my segue with my tangent were rather bland. Flats – some modern – some rough – some probably housing drug smugglers (my old geography teacher used to call them smug drugglers…not on purpose either). Is there a certain age where crop tops become unacceptable?

There was actually a point to the last paragraph in that we walked past lots of bland, charmless estates, a bus station, under a main road then along a main road, before turning off down a little side street. I’d heard that The Gun was particularly nice, but I wasn’t expecting to find a cute cobbled street with housing older than me.

Bland
Not bland with a flag not used by racists in the distance

The Gun was unexpectedly rather upmarket – the whole establishment seemed to be for dining, and it was laid out as a proper restaurant – staff with ironed shirts and shoes…I wouldn’t even dress that smart for an interview let alone work. I was probably the only person in ripped jeans ever to have visited – with a hole in the knee that keeps getting larger because I keep putting my foot through it. Most other guests seemed to have been dropped off by their chauffeurs.

We were actually lucky to be here – when we originally tried to book, there were no free tables – hence the plan was to go to The Grapes in Limehouse, which didn’t take bookings…a risky endeavour. However, a table turned up on the booking system the night before – leaving things to the last minute sometimes works as we’ll find out in a week or so. REVOKE ARTICLE 50.

Alas, fate wasn’t kind enough for our table to be on the back half of the pub, overlooking the river – they also had a very charming fake-grass garden. For many reasons the pub…or restaurant, was already becoming worth a recommendation.

I need a wee

Speaking of needing to visit, the toilets caused some confusion. There were no male or female signs, though there was a door named Horatio. Which reminds me of when I was 18 and went to Ibiza for the first time, and found toilets with the male/female symbols on the doors. Being from Hull, I had no idea which was which. I did wait a little, trying to work it out but then I walked through a toilet door…and there loads of women inside.

Likewise, I took a punt on Horatio but nearly turned around when it smelt nice inside. Yep – possibly the only men’s toilets in London that don’t smell like they are cleaned with urine.

Gosh two weeks in a row that I’ve had an Ibiza story for you. There won’t be too many more…even for my standards most of my Ibiza stories are unprintable. Though I did once mistake a slice of cheese for a banknote. I cannot tell you any more of this story. Though it is on video somewhere and is yet another reason why I will never be Prime Minister.

Maybe I should talk about Sunday roasts.

On offer this week was beef sirloin, pork belly, lamb shank or a whole chicken sharer. Priced at £19 for the beef or pork, £24 for the lamb and £19.50 each for the chicken sharer. Actually this blog is good enough reason why I will never be Prime Minister, isn’t it?

Get shanked

I really wanted the lamb but tap water boy couldn’t justify paying £5 more then I would have done otherwise. I cannot be fucked to make my own meal, so the chicken was out. Which left just the pork and the beef. Normally I don’t have the same meat two weeks in a row, unless I have no choice – and last week I’d had pork. However, I decided that as there was pretty much no pork on my plate last Sunday, not to mention that it was dry and half-burnt, that meant I could break my rules and order the pork belly.

Hallelujah

And…praise THE LORD! No vegetarian roast and no vegan roast on the menu.

Our dinners took not much more than 10 minutes to arrive – and looked a damn sight better than last week’s clusterfuck presentation did.

It looks better than last week’s. Honest!

Starting with the carrot which you cannot see because it is hidden in the photo. This was vertically-halved, roasted to a nice texture and flavour if a tad burnt on one side. I didn’t detect the garlic flavour that the menu suggested, but that may be more me than them.

Kale. It’s difficult enough to think of new ways to describe carrots every week, but kale is just kale. I quite like it. Moving on.

You’ll see there was not much gravy originally supplied – more was forthcoming via a collection of thimbles though the waitress seemed confused when I tried to explain that I was northern. I guess the unsubtleties of being an ugly northern gravy-guzzling grunt don’t always translate to the French.

Pretty sure it would have been more efficient had the gravy just came in a larger jug instead of 6 thimbles, but hey. Anyway, so cabbage is a gravy hog – scraping up scraps of cabbage tends to scrape up lots of gravy too. But this wasn’t ordinary cabbage – whole grain mustard had been mixed in to give it some power. Not too strong, but enough to make me take notice. Nice work.

Dolphin Nose?

Then we had an unusual creation – some form of cauliflower-flecked dauphinoise (shitting hell did I spell that right first time?). Softly solid layers of potato, with a slightly creamy filling. Joyous.

I’m pretty sure some places wouldn’t bother with roast potatoes after supplying a dauphinoise (and some places certainly shouldn’t bother…or should learn how to make proper ones). Three roast potatoes were supplied though were the weak point of the dinner. Soft – no crispy edges but perfectly yet uninspiringly edible.

Post-rearrangement

The Yorkshire pudding was shaped nicely and was mostly quite a floury texture and feel. Part of it was rather dry but most of it was decent – even if I am really rather bored of Yorkshire puddings, which is kind of like Nigel Farage being bored of his epic protest march…oh wait a minute.

Damn, us remoaners are going to struggle to win the civil war, aren’t we?

Let’s just laugh at Nigel Farage a bit more, shall we?

Stolen from https://twitter.com/ByDonkeys

Enough to almost make you feel sad for him. Thankfully, the pork belly was anything other than sad – it was a joyous, chunk of meat.

Sumptuously tender with a hint of stuffing in the middle – this was as perfectly cooked a piece of pork belly that I’ve had. Not only was the meat spot-on, but the crackling was too – crunchy enough, not at all chewy – this was bang on cracking crackling. I did once have someone ask me where the best crackling was in London…this has to be a contender now.

A bit like this disco track, I had to not just ask for extra gravy, but some gravy in the first place.

Give me some more gravy, why won’t you give me some more gravy, why won’t you give me some more gravy, why won’t you give me some more gravy.

They did give me some gravy and then some more – no slouching around waiting forever like some places. Decent gravy too – nothing spectacular but all I hope for in a land of thin, watery jus. Maybe chefs are starting to listen to me? Proper gravy consistency if unspectacular in flavour..

Though I think she is singing about wanting cock. Not gravy. Ahhh the joys of disco music. Not much longer until you can stand in a muddy field with thousands of others having a spiritual experience. Ahhh summer. Ahhh hotpants. Ahhh beer season. Ahhh k-holing in a portaloo.

Howzat?

Overall it was a very good Sunday roast. The pork belly was superb – everything else Stuart Broadly – Ahhh cricket – around good. Some creativity on the vegetable front too.

Service was good – a well-spoken young waiter that one of my gay friends (multiple gay friends…check me out) would have appreciated. It was the kind of service that I actually feel like paying the service charge for.

Our two lesser-spotted roast clubbers (one of whom has a tiny bit of everything on the plate in each mouthful, which seems rather inefficient) both scored it a 9. I’m not that generous but it is definitely around an 8. A solid round 8.00 out of 10 – a score that my beef-eating regular roast clubber agrees with.

I could definitely understand why this place is often fully-booked. A charming venue albeit rather out of the way – it is definitely worth making the effort to persuade your chauffeur to drive you here.

Next Sunday is a super secret mission that you are not going to find out about for a while. Soz. I will make it up to you.

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