Yesterday I had a proper greedy day starting with lunch, moving on to afternoon tea with a client and then an evening at one of our favourite local hangouts, No 2 Pound Street for a couple of glasses of wine and one of their lovely sharing boards of cheeses and meats.
I was up in London to meet a lovely friend (we work together, but this has become secondary) to discuss travel plans and catch up on our news. She was bringing a colleague and they suggested The Gunmakers Arms in Clerkenwell, close to my second meeting. I arrived hideously early (typical ‘country mouse comes to the city’ type thing) but took my chance to wander slowly up Leather Lane, sniffing all the delicious smells from the food vendors and pressing my nose up against the window of Pieminister. The Gunmakers is just off Clerkenwell Road and I loitered a bit awkwardly outside, wondering what to do for 20 minutes in the drizzle before deciding to head inside. Good decision. I was warmly welcomed (the staff put me in mind of when Jay Rayner described the staff at Hawksmoor as ‘bed headed and tattooed’ – seriously cool), provided with a drink and a warm spot by a radiator, and spent the rest of the time before my lunch mates arrived studying the chalkboard menu.
It’s a concise menu, but when everyone had arrived and we sat chatting with a drink (they’re big on their ales, but I felt it was best to stay alcohol free) it became apparent that it’s quite difficult to choose from. I could easily have eaten everything on there. In the end, we all went for the rump steak sandwich, which came with a pile of the most amazing fat chips and was stuffed full of well seasoned, tender steak, rocket and a healthy dollop of mustard.
The place is obviously hugely popular because within half an hour all the tables were taken and there was a happy hum of conversation coming from the bar area (there’s also an upstairs eating area). Sadly deciding to move on (we could definitely have stayed there soaking up the atmosphere for another drink or two – and maybe that lemon drizzle cake too), we said our goodbyes and headed back out into the rain.
The Gunmakers Arms are on Twitter (@thegunmakers) and were quick to drop me a tweet to say thanks for the mentions. They also told me that they’re shortly going to be opening another pub, The Finborough Arms in West Brompton that’s been closed for more than eight years. If the Gunmakers is anything to go by, I’ll be paying that one a visit too.