No photo this time, mostly because I was too busy cramming food into my mouth to actually take my camera out. By the time I thought about it, it was too late, the table was a wasteland of chewed bones strewn across empty plates and pint glasses containing only dregs.
Now, I know I’ve raved about The Gunmakers here and on Twitter before, but that’s always been about the beer and atmosphere. The only non-liquid to pass my lips has been a few chips. This time was different. This time I took some friends for lunch. And because I had bigged it up so much, I was really hoping it’d deliver…
In we went on a crowded Friday lunchtime with handsome food whizzing around in the hands of Jeff the landlord and his capable, slightly rushed staff. We were sat near the main food thoroughfare and if the aromas that came drifting across as plates went flying by were any indication, the food was going to live up to the beer. And so it did.
Orders were dispatched to the kitchen and drinks arrived from the bar. Two pints of Harviestoun’s Old Engine Oil – a surprisingly light dark beer, full of toasty and roasty dark flavours, but not too heavy or treacly. It was well balanced and worryingly easy to drink. Purity’s Mad Goose was a great pale ale, hoppy and zesty and light (although that may have been down to tasting it after the Engine Oil).
We ordered wild rabbit, a steak sandwich and cod and chips. The latter is one of those dishes that so many pubs do, and so many do badly. It’s so often not as good as the chippy round the corner. I would have provided long and detailed insights into this particular dish had I actually managed to sneak a bite before it was wolfed down. Fish-flecked reports did come back however that is was very good indeed. It certainly looked the part, the decent sized piece of cod came coated in a fresh, golden and very crispy batter gleaming like a gold ingot next to some chunky chips and peas.
Rabbit was tender and tasty – although there was a debate with Jeff over whether it was actually ‘Wild’ – the issue being that it was far too succulent, wild rabbit often being darker, leaner and much drier. Whether it was authentically running wild and free, or merely a sauntering free-range bunny before it was dispatched, it certainly tasted very good indeed. It was perfectly cooked, no dryness, and had a lovely flavour accentuated by the sauce.
The steak sandwich was everything a steak sandwich should be – slim toothsome steaks grilled and piled into a light ciabatta bun with enough lettuce to give it a bit of crunch. This is the ultimate beer food for me. It fills you up and the beefy taste of the steak is made for the roasted flavour of the Old Engine Oil. It went so well I had to have another glass to go with it.
All in all it was extremely satisfying. The beer was excellent, the food great, and the atmosphere cosy and friendly with absolutely no pretension or rush. The staff mixed idiosyncrasy with professional efficiency which gives the whole place a certain happy individuality. And how can you not love a pub that tweets its beer out every day…