Matt Colk is all fired up by The Gun’s re­fit

Re­fur­bished Isle of Dogs pub The Gun is quick off the draw when it comes to at­tract­ing pun­ters, with its stylish in­te­rior and tasty menu

The Wharf - - Canary Wharf - Jon Massey Go to the­gun­dock­ or call 020 7515 5222 for book­ings or more in­for­ma­tion

The Gun has man­aged an im­pres­sive trick shot. Pub re­fur­bish­ments carry risk for reg­u­lar pun­ters and busi­nesses alike. Should the owner mer­ci­lessly gut a trea­sured haunt in pursuit of profit there’s a dan­ger of alien­at­ing faith­ful cus­tomers.

Do too lit­tle and old crit­i­cisms will be am­pli­fied. For­tu­nately Fuller’s, which bought The Gun from ETM Group two years ago, has scored a bulls­eye with its sen­si­tive nips and tucks to the Isle of Dogs in­sti­tu­tion.

“Noth­ing much has changed phys­i­cally with the build­ing be­cause we are lim­ited to what we can do as it is listed, but it looks fresher, cleaner and it sparkles more,” said gen­eral man­ager Jean Paul To­e­rien.

“We have re­fur­bished all of the rooms, they’ve re­ceived a lick of paint, a bit of love, with some fresh fin­ishes.

“There’s new fur­ni­ture on the ter­race and each of the rooms is now lean­ing to­wards din­ing as we are a very food-led pub.

“We couldn’t re­ally change the de­sign much, although we have added a cou­ple of ex­tra cov­ers on the ter­race and in the din­ing room.”

The changes are sub­tle rather than seis­mic – glass-fronted cup­boards re­plac­ing tired faux logs at the end of the main restau­rant, for ex­am­ple.

“Our pre­mium space up­stairs – the River Room, which has views over the Thames to The O2 and ac­com­mo­dates 16 – has also been given a new look,” said Jean Paul, 40.

“It’s a lit­tle bit more stylish, con­tem­po­rary and mod­ern.

“The other two pri­vate din­ing rooms – the Cabin Room and the Red Room – still have the same ca­pac­ity of 22.”

The clo­sure was also a chance to up­date the drinks of­fer­ing, de­liv­er­ing a bit more choice for the parched.

“We now have an Eno­matic ma­chine, which is a pre­mium wine dis­penser where guests have the op­por­tu­nity to taste more ex­pen­sive wines by the glass in­stead of pur­chas­ing a whole bot­tle,” he said.

“There are a cou­ple of ex­tra lines on the bar, so we have more ale and lager there too.

“Out­side, we have our gin garden, with 32 dif­fer­ent flavours, as well as beers and ciders out there now too.”

Much has re­mained the same, al­beit pol­ished, at the pub for­merly fre­quented by Lord Ho­ra­tio Nel­son, who was known to dally with Lady Emma Hamil­ton up­stairs.

But like the Ad­mi­ral’s trysts, it’s be­hind closed doors where things have been go­ing on.

Head chef Matt Colk said: “We have a com­pletely new main kitchen and a new, pur­pose-built one out­side for pas­try and prep.

“It’s been a chal­lenge with the new facilities be­cause we have had two new mem­bers of staff as well, so we’re still fine-tun­ing at the minute.

“But the kitchen facilities are now 100% bet­ter than what we had be­fore. It works re­ally well now.”

The 30-year-old, who’s aim­ing to add a cou­ple of rosettes to the one the venue has al­ready won, has cre­ated all-new menus for the pub based around his pas­sion for sea­sonal Bri­tish food.

“I also like Ital­ian and we have a bit of an Amer­i­can theme with the bar food and the snacks too,” he said.

“But we try to do Bri­tish where we can. We do a great lunchtime of­fer of £29 for three cour­ses and that’s go­ing to be a quick turnover – we’re try­ing to aim for a half-hour lunch so that’s good, es­pe­cially for busi­ness peo­ple.

“We are also go­ing to have a six-course tast­ing menu on of­fer for those who book the River Room.

“My favourite thing on the menu is the Sun­day roast (also avail­able on bank hol­i­days). I cook it medium rare and we do a cau­li­flower gratin in­stead of cau­li­flower cheese, which is like a dauphi­nois.

“We use sir­loin and mar­i­nate it for about 24 hours be­fore­hand.”

With Wood Wharf closed to pedes­tri­ans for the con­struc­tion of Ca­nary Wharf’s New Dis­trict, the

pub still has a deal for Whar­fers to travel there free by mini­cab.

“We do an of­fer with Car­rot Cars where cus­tomers can book lunch Mon­day to Fri­day and we of­fer a com­pli­men­tary taxi ser­vice to and from Ca­nary Wharf – that’s def­i­nitely a rea­son to come to us as you don’t have to walk,” said Jean Paul.

“I would say it is great to re­lax at The Gun to get away from the stresses of work.

“Come sit by the river, en­joy Matt’s food.

“The ser­vice is fan­tas­tic. It is pro­fes­sional, but ca­sual and this en­vi­ron­ment is very re­lax­ing for cor­po­rates to come down.

“In the evenings, peo­ple can en­joy the sun­set in the gin garden and you have the ben­e­fits of hav­ing pri­vate rooms you can book out.

“We’ll also be do­ing some live mu­sic out there on Sun­days by the river and that’s al­ways good.

“I think the re­fit has been fan­tas­tic for all of us. It has been re­ceived re­ally well.

“From the out­set we told the de­sign­ers and the peo­ple who were in­volved that our big­gest con­cern was the char­ac­ter would be changed, but that hasn’t hap­pened and it looks re­ally good.”

The Gun is open daily with a va­ri­ety of spa­ces to hire in­clud­ing whole-venue op­tions.

Head chef Matt Colk and gen­eral man­ager Jean Paul-To­e­rien share a joke at the newly re­fur­bished pub

The Gun on the Isle Of Dogs of­fers views across the Thames plus pri­vate din­ing rooms, a sea­sonal Bri­tish menu and cosy bar ar­eas


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