Robert Hunter has taken over as head chef at Docklands pub The Gun.
He’s a familiar face in the kitchen, having joined the team in February 2014.
Here the 30-year-old tells us about his classical style, love of local produce and plans to put more goat on the menu.
Tell us all about your new role.
It will be a challenge – former head chef Quinton Bennet’s shoes are big ones to fill. He did a really good job.
What’s your background?
I was classically trained and went into fine dining. My ethos is cooking food with a modern twist.
Has it been a challenge to switch to pub grub mode?
I’ve had to adapt. It takes some getting used to toning down how much stuff goes on the plate – I kept getting told less is more, but I got there in the end. A lot of people think The Gun is a just a pub at the end of the road but when they see the food they are taken aback. It’s restaurant quality.
So is your new summer menu going to be all fancy?
It’s about keeping it simple but, when you do simple, you have to do it really well.
We are using the best products and that is very important.
We use Billingsgate Market to our advantage and there’s a lot of fresh fish on the menu.
The Gun’s garden is also an inspiration – we’ve got peas, broad beans and tomatoes and a lot of our herbs come from there.
We don’t put 100 elements on a plate, we want to keep it down to four or five and we make sure the main thing – whether it’s meat or wild salmon – really stands out.
Tell me more...
No-one wants to eat heavy food in the summer so we produce small, very simple dishes. Food will be pan-fried and lightly coated rather spending 24 hours in the oven, for example.
Anything a little different?
We’ve got goat coming and we are trying to really push that as an alternative for lamb.
I’ve had goat dishes on the menu like goat curry and prime cuts of loin and veg and that’s gone down really well, but this will be the first time I’ve put it on the a la carte.
It’s done with a red wine jus, smoked aubergine puree, sweet potato terrine and split bobby beans. I’m excited to see how people react.
What do you like to cook at home?
I’ve got an Indian grandfather so I like to fuse Indian ingredients.
What should we be dishing up in our kitchen this summer?
I would take advantage of peas, sugar snaps and broad beans and a nice piece of cod. Cook it down slowly with lots of butter and finish with tarragon.
Go to thegundocklands.com .