Last Updated on February 17, 2020 by Fiona Maclean
Classic British fare in the heart of Marylebone
Winston Churchill was a discerning man, who was notoriously known for his love of fine food and drink, therefore it’s of interest to know that one of his favoured haunts was the Gunmakers in Marylebone. He is quoted saying “I leave when the pub closes”.
The Gunmakers is a classic boutique 18th-century pub, ideally situated just off Marylebone High Street, and after 300 years it is still going strong and is proving to be a local favourite.
In November 2019, renowned sommelier, Xavier Rousset and talented head chef, Mark Jarvis joined forces to take up the reins at Gunmakers.
Xavier started his career working at various prestigious restaurants in France such as the two Michelin Star Le Laurent in Paris and Villa Belrose in St Tropez before becoming Chief Sommelier at the Hotel du Vin. In 2002. Mark worked at the renowned Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons and The Bingham Hotel before successfully opening his own place – Anglo in Farringdon in 2016. We’ve recently reviewed (and loved) his residency Anglo at Trade so were looking forward to sampling more of his cuisine.
The Gunmakers pub is on the ground floor, it has a very down to earth feel about it with its dark wood panelling, red bar stools and a couple of screens for sports fans. In its basement is the 40-cover restaurant, which Mark oversees, and upstairs they have opened six stunning bedrooms. So with everything under one roof, you can eat drink and rest your weary head in comfort.
I went along to try out the restaurant on a cold and damp December evening. I was struck by the 1940s rather masculine décor with a black and white tiled floor, pale green walls hung with period photos and framed bullet casings, British racing green wood panels, wooden tables, and red leather banquettes and a floor to ceiling tiled area at the back with an open plan kitchen.
I accompanied my meal with a chilled glass of Albariño, Rias Baixas, ‘Barbuntin’, Quinta de Couselo 2018 – fresh and bursting with citrus fruits, whereas my friend who was driving stuck to the soft options.
We kicked off with 1/2 dozen deliciously fresh plump and saline Maldon rocks with shallot vinegar and Tabasco, and a pretty plate of pickled ruby beetroots served with slivers of aniseedy fennel and apple, scattered with crunchy toasted sunflower seeds in a citrus dressing.
For our main course, there was a selection of simple well-cooked traditional British fare: beer-battered haddock and chips, English wagyu bavette, dry-aged lamb rump, a classic burger and mushroom risotto. My friend opted for the beautifully cooked fillet of seabass, with creamed leeks and piquant sauce verte. I went for the meaty option – the Hampshire Cross pork chop was quite substantial, and served with an unusual creamy artichoke and coffee purée with perfectly crisp apple slices and crunchy seeds.
And on the side – Koffmanns potato chips and some excellent tenderstem broccoli in a mild soy sauce.
And finally, already rather full but still tempted by the selection of classic desserts – I had a deliciously rich and creamy Earl Grey crème brûlée and my friend enjoyed his gooey sticky toffee pudding with a dob of ice cream on the side. Wonderfully comforting winter puddings!
The Gunmakers offers the perfect British, no fuss pub experience serving excellent good quality British fare in the heart of Marylebone, whilst also taking pride with its rather grand association with Winston Churchill.
The six available bedrooms are beautiful, bright and ranging from £180 to £230 for a double-room including breakfast. Set right in the heart of Marylebone, book in for an overnight stay and enjoy a drink at the pub bar followed by dinner downstairs from December 2019.
33 Aybrook St,
London W1U 4AP