Gunmakers in Marylebone: Pub dining from Anglo’s Mark Jarvis
It isn’t the smoke of chargrill that greets you when you make your way downstairs to the Gunmakers in Marylebone, it’s the decor. From their 18th-century vibrant leather seats to a stunning selection of vintage art on the walls, this newly refurbished restaurant is doing high end with a lo-fi finish. The long, broad room is dominated by an open dining space with a window to the kitchen; decorated with matte checkered titles and plenty of light, it’s a cosy place to settle in for the night.
Chef Mark Jarvis of Anglo aims to offer an inventive approach to pub dining. The menu is fairly diverse: start with the house-made focaccia bread and beef fat butter, followed up quickly by some starters to share. We tried a platter of half-a-dozen Maldon oysters, with a hint of tabasco and shallot vinegar to accompany the salty kick of flavours. Moving to the prawn tempura, slicked with a Marie Rose sauce that hums with chilli, we realise the steakhouse smoke sticks to every serve.
At this tucked-away restaurant with a historic reflection of its journey for the last 300 years, the main event was, expectedly, the steak: order as many variations as you think you can finish between your party. The Warrendale Wagyu Bavette was perfected to medium rare, a slab of caramel brown and stark pink. Traditionally this flavoursome cut is not the most tender, and yet here they made it easy to eat – and beautifully charred on the outside. We also tried a neat mound of marinated cherry tomatoes to balance the rich crusty sear of the beef. After placing the order, it’s the wine that you want to get it right. We all know that nothing can rival a nice glass of red, and the recommended Felicité Pinot Noir 2018 by Newton Johnson left us standing uncorrected. The richness and acidity of tannin perfectly counterbalanced the fat. It’ll break neither your bank nor the tradition.
A few of the Gunmakers’ dishes got lost in similar categories of flavours, making it unnecessary to try the other steaks, even if they had their unique profiles. While the prawn tempura lacked a striking taste, the field flat mushrooms – one of the sides, soaked in smoke – is a must. Thick-cut seasoned French fries are predictably the most-ordered side.
Vibing with the growing appetite for street food in Marylebone, the burger is a good alternative to the steaks. The meat is bathed in a delectable mixture of cheese and a bun slathered in spiced chili mayo before it goes under the grill. It’s a matter of simple pleasure and gives you a messy but totally worthwhile experience that demands to be marked with a napkin tucked under your chin.
Overall, Jarvis’s strive for deliciousness, the generous plating and the country-style wall decor with hints of modern art are a valid reason to try Gunmakers for your next dinner. Sure, some dishes could have used a more inspired seasoning, but much like at any steakhouse, you just have to ask for it.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at the Gunmakers, 33 Aybrook St London W1U 4AP, call 020 7935 5291 or visit their website here.