Writer Jessica Goldstein enjoys a bite with a bang at The Gunmakers in Marylebone
The Gunmakers in Marylebone is something on an institution truth be told. This 300-year-old pub is said to have been a beloved boozer of Winston Churchill himself, and quite frankly you couldn’t get much more British than that if you tried.
On this theme of best of British, the menu has been devised by one of the UK’s most beloved chefs, Mark Jarvis who also heads up Stem in Mayfair and Anglo in Farringdon (one of my personal favourite restaurants in the city).
Following suit, Gunmakers’ menu is a celebration of all things Blighty, using the best quality, seasonal ingredients and elevating them to fit this historic, quintessential setting.
Hopes for dinner were high. You’ll find Gunmakers on a gorgeous Marylebone back-street. Open the door and scooch passed merry Londoners relieved to finally be at the pub, and head downstairs to the main restaurant.
There’s not much evidence of 300-year-old history here but there is a lovely, relaxed and warm atmosphere. Low ceilings, dark woods, cream walls and an open(ish) kitchen which I always like.
The Food & Drink
I started with half a dozen Maldon Rock Oysters (£14) which were fresh, sweet morsels of deliciousness. We also went for the hand-dived scallops with black pudding, a cauliflower puree and apple (£11.50). Tasty. Very tasty. A little mean perhaps.
Scallops and black pudding are always a winning combination for me especially when paired with sharp sticks of apple and creamy, earthy, moreish cauliflower puree. But the scallops were fashion week thin in all honesty. Not the juicy, unctuous, greedy scallops I was hoping for.
We waited a while for mains to arrive, but time passed quickly as we enjoyed a bottle of intensely gluggable Malbec.
The wine list at The Gunmakers has been devised by Xavier Rousset and has a fantastic selection of unintimidating, “can’t go wrong, I’ll promise you’ll enjoy this and it’s only around £30” bottles, and some very impressive, “let’s make it special, how about we splash out, I’d love a bottle of Sassicaia 2002” type bottles.
Mains are served! I went for 180g English Wagyu Bavette with a potato rosti and watercress salad (£22.50). Oh my, was it delicious.
The beef was full of flavour and incredibly succulent. It was served with a sweet and sharp fruity puree which added so much zing to each mouthful. The rosti was light and crunchy and to be honest I could’ve eaten a fair few more.
We also ordered the Dry aged lamb rump with aubergine, mint and miso (£20). The lamb rump was perfectly cooked but the aubergine with miso paste was so full of umami flavours that it overpowered the lamb completely. Paired with a quenelle-shaped mint-mound we found ourselves eating around the plate to eat the lamb on its own so as not to ruin the flavour.
Last up, desserts. We shared a cheese platter first and delighted in it. A selection of blue, goat, hard, soft and smelly, however, none of the cheeses were properly explained to us, and as a Best of British style restaurant I was hoping for a lovely producer story, but alas, none came.
We then dived into an Earl Grey Crème Brulee. Moreish and creamy with all the herbaceous goodness that you crave from an Earl Grey. We were also very kindly offered a glass of 1996 Sauternes, Chateau Guiraud to go alongside our desserts.
Absolute heaven in a glass the most perfect way to end our meal. I loved it so much I’d compare it to a goodbye kiss on the forehead by a loved one before you’re to be separated by distant journeys ahead. But yes, I understand that’s probably too much, but it’s just how I feel about it and I wont apologise!
The Wordrobe Verdict
Other than a few minor snags, Gunmakers is still a fantastic evening out. The food, if not yet perfect, is still full of skill and the produce used is fantastic.
It’s a true celebration of all things British, and with an excellent wine list and warm service it’s a great spot for a meal out with friends, a date or perhaps the place to take that aunt and uncle visiting for the weekend.
Make it Happen
Where: 33 Aybrook St, Marylebone, London W1U 4AP
Bookings: Please visit gunmakershouse.co.uk or phone 020 7935 5291 to make a booking.
Words by Jessica Goldstein, writer