Apparently I’m on a gastropub kick, deciding yesterday to return to the Gun for lunch. Like the Marquess, the Gun is a restaurant that I often overlook because I’m lazy. It’s a 15-minute walk from Canary Wharf, which in my opinion is a long journey for a weekday lunch. It’s also pricey as a lunch option – most mains are £15-20 – but it’s worth the trip and the money.
The dining room is always packed with Canary Wharf suits for lunch, as is the outdoor terrace that overlooks the Thames. I like the comfortable, old, masculine feel of the Gun, and because it’s been around for hundreds of years, the place comes with an interesting bit of history: Admiral Nelson would allegedly meet his mistress, Emma Hamilton, here. Lest you overlook this mildly-scandalous tidbit, the men’s room is labeled “Horatio” and the women’s, “Emma.”
The menu changes regularly, and it’s an ambitious, seasonal one that’s heavy on seafood offerings. When I went yesterday, I had a pan-fried fillet of dover sole. It’d been lightly battered and seasoned, and I’m sure there was more butter involved in its cooking than I want to know. Still, all that butter worked its crisping, salty, creamy magic on the sole, and much as I enjoy a side of potato tower and refreshing arugula, I was stuffed after eating just the fish.
In all my past meals at the Gun, I’ve been happy with the fish specials, which is no surprise given how close the restaurant is to the Billingsgate Fish Market.
Service is fast and helpful, and what thrills me is the ease with which pitchers of tap water are provided. A lunch with a starter, main and glass of wine (this is Europe, after all) runs about £35 a person. Not a cheap lunch, but a high-quality one.