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REVIEW: The Gun, Docklands, London 3/5


Surroundings 2/5
The Gun seriously needs to make up its mind as to what the hell it is.  At the prices it charges, it is a superior restaurant but the way it arranges it's space loudly yells, over the din from the bar, that it is a bistro.  Having bar music and bar conversation intruding into the eating space is not acceptable.   Having customers loitering by the service station and queuing up into the bar is not ideal.  Fighting one's way through bar customers and waiters to get to the toilets is no fun.  I must add a thanks from me to the pub customer who saw my confused look and (unasked) directed me to 'Emma' which is the sign on the ladies toilet door.  A good thing I didn't think the Horatio door worth a punt.

The tables are arranged in militaristic rows and unless you manage to get a table in the far corner, you are constantly walked past.  If you are going, insist on a table against the back wall.  Given the decorative log pile on the back wall perhaps you claim a Bavarian bent to your preferred dining location.  The decor is typical given it is on the Thames and also markets itself as one of the places that Nelson and his 'lady friend' indulged in a lap or two of horizontal jogging.  (This is much in the Mary Queen o' Scots slept ere line that the Scots milk to great success.  And the less said about Shakespeare and whatever he got up to with Anne Hathaway up north, the better.)  

Food 4/5
As a rule - I try to be adventurous when eating out.  There are many things I do not trust myself to cook.  And that's why I will happily rely on the skills of a competent chef to transform into something wonderful.  

Aperitif
major_clanger
started with a glass of red called Innocent Bystander (Australian, Shiraz) and it was nice enough for him to progress to a second glass.  I went with Crème de cassis which with a little ice to temper it, is a lovely way to begin.

Starters
major_clanger started with the Black pudding faggot with parsnip purée which had a lovely deep meaty taste.  It had the taste of black pudding and the texture of a faggot.  The parsnip puree was tasty and served with shreds of fried parsnip.  I had the Grilled ox tongue, potato cake, horseradish cream, salsify crisps.  The Ox tongue tasted very like pork but was nice despite the shape which had me internally yelling 'you're eating tongue - you have silenced a bovine voice and thus will you be cursed you oppressor of beef'.  The only problem was that, nice as it was it was not hot enough.  And please ditch those crisps - they just aren't crisps they're an anorexic chip.

Main
major_clanger went with the Rump of Herdwick mutton, braised shoulder, pearl barley stew, carrots and turnips which again had a lovely deep meaty taste.  The barley stew was mild and in good balance to the mutton which is a cut that needs a lot more love than it gets.

Usually by this point I already have plate envy and look despondently at my plate and then with drooping cutlery, dig in, more in hope that genuine expectancy.  But the Grilled fillet of Royal bream, squid and parsley risotto, pickled shallot, caper and lemon butter I chose was actually rather good.  It was hot enough - praise be!  The green risotto formed a good base with two bream fillets on top and a baby deep fried octopus as the crowning achievement.  As for the taste - the octopus was crunchy and perfect.  The bream had been left alone to develop it's own flavour and for that I thank the chef.  The risotto which I initially dismissed as a pretty green splodge which would probably have rubbery shreds through it, was not.  The taste of the risotto was pleasantly parsley and the squid was not overcooked and added perfect bite to the overall texture of the soft rice.  However the caper and lemon butter was dribbled on the outlying borders of the plate and didn't really have a role to play.  I would have named it an innocent bystander but for the wine on the table, it must have been guilty.  

We eschewed pudding and after a peppermint tea (the mint was decidedly scruffy and had as much stalk as leaf) and an americano, we left.  We ran from dessert as we had that morning been at a chocolate making workshop and couldn't take any more.  Although one nice thing that The Gun does on the dessert menu is to suggest a dessert wine with each dessert.  From the last time I visited - I remember them getting this admirably right. 

Service 3/5 (I'm being generous)
The website states that them aim to have you in and out within two hours.  We left after two hours but had only had two courses, that being our choice.  The service was slow and we did not have the same waiter all the time.  It had about 14 tables - most of them two cover tables and some were fours.  The waiters marched up and down the rows checking on diners and I felt 'inspected' rather than waited on. We had three 'was everything ok' checks - that's a few too many for me. I let major_clanger answer these or I simply say fine because I am trying hard not to lie.  I must register distaste at the manageress/supervisor who asked us at the end of our starters "Is everything tasting well?".  I listened to her accent and found no trace of a foreign accent at all, only appalling syntax.  

Overall 3/5 
Any sort of physical division between the restaurant and bar would be welcome. 
The food is nearly there but the menu goes into minute description which over promises and under delivers.
The service needs organising and please just leave the customers alone to eat.

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