Let’s dig in
I’ve started watching Ugly Delicious recently, and while I don’t quite agree with everything David Chang says and believes in, it’s definitely an interesting show. Especially the discussions about fusion food. I used to think a restaurant needs to make authentic dishes, to be good, and any attempts at mixing two different cuisines should be avoided at all costs. Probably because I’ve not tried a lot of food at the time, and also because any fusion food I tried until then was terribly executed and completely ignored history behind the dishes. Honestly, most of the times I tried fusion food it was more a gimmick than actual innovation. This is where The Gunmakers is different.
A quick look at the menu reveals chef Madison Duffy’s love for Asian cuisine. There’s no mistake. But instead of making “British ramen” or “Asian Sunday roast, she simply takes the ingredients she likes, such as Miso or Tofu, and creates her own mouth-watering dishes. Honestly, I was so excited they invited me to try!
The Menu at The Gunmakers
So what did we eat? The Gunmakers has a seasonal menu, with rotating dishes as they source different ingredients. I liked the fact that they had a good variety of small plates, as it allows you to try a lot of different dishes and flavours. Most of them were actually Vegetarian! While the Gunmakers is not a vegetarian restaurant, their owner told us that it’s much easier to source good and sustainable vegetables and it’s harder to find the quality of meats they would like. We ordered a handful of small plates, and a fish special and vegetarian special each. For the sake of this review I had to try a lot, right?
The Small Plates & Large Plates
We started off with Beef Shin Croquettes (one of the few meat dishes), Chickpea Nuggets with Tahini and Miso and a plate of King January Cabbage with Chilli, Mint and Ginger. It’s hard to pick my favourite among these. The Chickpea Nuggets were incredible flavourful and tender, but so were the Beef Shin Croquettes in its tangy sauce. The crisp cabbage was grilled which made for a beautifully smokey flavour.
The Vegetarian Special of the day was Szechuan Tofu. Deep fried strips of tofu in a beautifully satisfying broth. Light and refreshing, really delicious on rice. Despite its name it wasn’t all that spicy, but the hints of Szechuan pepper gave it a nice kick. However, the Fish Special surprised me the most. A crispy battered fish, served with a small bowl of sauce. A little unassuming, but as they debone the fish in front of you, and you take a bite of the crispy batter, the tenderness of the fish mixed with the slight tartness of the dipping sauce filled the inside of your mouth. So good! I feel like the sauce had a hint of fish sauce? I’m not quite sure, it was delicious either way, and really enhanced flavour of the fried fish.
We concluded our lunch by sharing some blood orange and rhubarb crumble. Crumble is one of my favourite English desserts, and this was probably one of my favourite versions of it! Amazingly crunch, sweet and tangy, topped with delicious milk cream.
Why you should visit
Usually I finish my reviews with my “thoughts”, but the main takeaway I want to give everyone is that you should definitely pay The Gunmakers a visit if you like freshly sourced ingredients and have a soft spot for Asian ingredients. Even weeks after my visit, it’s still one of the best places I’ve been to this year. The food is inventive, warming and mouth-watering, the ingredients are carefully selected and the prices won’t leave your wallet empty. Honestly, I was shocked about the prices?! Small plates were around £4 only, and a main was £13. For 2 large plates, 3 small plates, and 1 dessert, it would have been £45.5 for the two of us, if we split the bill. I guess if you ate a bit more than us and add a drink, it would max set you back by £30 each? Considering the amount of food and the quality, such a good price! I’m booking my next meal, and you should definitely give it a go yourself.