If the name Grant Hawhorne is not familiar to you, you might better know him through his increasingly popular peri-peri sauce, African Volcano and his weekend Maltby Street market presence. At Great Guns Social, per the website's description, Grant's menu is, 'an exploration of Southern-style cooking the world over; from Southern America to South Africa and Southern Europe.' What you might reasonably guess then, with the focus on Southern food across a range of styles, there's going to be a big comfort factor on offer.
In that respect it is excellent. While the mains offer much that is tempting, two things really jumped out to us. There's a burger with 18 hour slow roast pulled pork. Yes, hello. And it's Southern food so the other choice of Southern Fried chicken with spiced mayo leaps off the page. Good choices for sure, though embracing the wider style of Southern, there's also (among other things) 'Mozambique style grilled baby chicken and a burger with 'treacle cured African Volcano streaky bacon,' which is sure to have a fan club. It's super enjoyable food, it's what you want, and what you expect from Southern, and with the two mains costing £11 (chicken) and £14 (burger/pork), nor does it break the bank.
Pan fried chicken livers and rissois (Mozambique style crab croquette) offered interest and variety as starters (BBQ chicken wings are there too if you can't get enough chicken), while we also got to sample a rather special smoked wild sea trout. If you don't know or haven't guessed by now, Grant was born in and grew up in South Africa, so a dessert of chocolate Cape Malva pudding is pitch perfect and a whole lot lighter than its appearance gives on, and the other ordered dessert was coffee flavoured custard flan.
But what impressed throughout the starters/mains was Grant's balanced use of spices and heat to add soul to the food rather than push through a more aggressive heat for the sake of heat approach to catch some headlines. The outcome was a thoroughly enjoyable lunch, food that makes you happy, and that surely is the purpose of a menu such as this. It hits the brief and you leave with a smile. Grant is in residence until the end of August so catch him while you can.