Everybody has personal comfort food. I’m not talking about the widely accepted gastro-hugs delivered by old favourites.
Snug beef wellingtons, cosy pigs in blankets, that sort of thing. No. I mean the morsel anchors delivered in childhood.
Tastes that perhaps weren’t so special at the time but have grown in significance; matured from mild Cheddar into Pavlovian lodestones.
One of mine is Shippam’s Chunky Chicken Supreme. Paired with a baked potato, it was a go-to tinned convenience food that brought cream sauce luxury to my early years.
Sometimes a can of sweetcorn would be added, just to jazz things up.
So perhaps it was the presence of little yellow kernels in Robert Hunter’s superb starter that stirred those snug memories, lending The Gun’s already cosy interior that little bit of extra warmth as late summer rain beat on its windows.
But discount the twinges of nostalgia and there’s little debate to be had over the recently-arrived head chef’s abilities.
His pan-fried king scallops with grilled gem smoked sweetcorn and mussels are worth every one of the 13 pound coins necessary to procure them as a starter.
With change comes worry. The Gun was very good under Quinton Bennett. The kind of place PRs could write the words “award-winning” about without sweating too much over the actual truth.
Now, under Hunter, it’s better. While the interior could do with sprucing up (the half-cut logs stacked in its corners have been awaiting the grate for more than six years), the new regime has further distilled the cool clarity of Bennett’s culinary approach to a spirit of fine simplicity.
It’s the food you wish you could cook at home but can’t quite.
If, somehow, one could convey to a monkfish what it would taste like once curried and served with brown shrimp and cumin dressing, a whole shoal would likely swim up from Brixham to flop onto the pub’s terrace in the hope of becoming the chosen flesh.
I know I’d go happily to my own death to give someone the equivalent pleasure I enjoyed, even at £26.
For my companion, a hater of goat flesh, Hunter’s dish of its loin with smoked aubergine (£26) proved an epiphany; a conversion to the devil’s meat of plate-licking intensity.
So what that they brought me the wrong dessert (complete with hasty correction).
Wood Wharf is closed meaning extra steps are necessary to reach this Blackwall pub.
But Hunter’s food is plenty reason to work the pedometer. This Docklands stalwart is in safe hands.
The Gun, 27 Coldharbour, E14 9NS, 020 7515 5222, thegundocklands.com.