Novus Leisure acquired the Balls Brothers group of bars in 2011. The pledge was to contemporise a brand that had become jaded. This is already happening at the Gable in Moorgate. There’s an exceptional-value happy hour, a revitalised menu and smiling service from attentive staff.
The Gable has its frontage on an architecturally anonymous Moorgate office block but the real interest is in the interior, where a spacious ground floor bar exudes an industrial look, complete with snaking exposed piping, and the bar is backlit by contemporary red lighting. There’s an equivalently large and functional Cellar Bar in the basement, too.
The Gable distinguishes itself by the cheerfulness and professionalism of its young staff. The attention is constant but not effusive and smiles are ready and unforced. The clientele includes local office folk of all age ranges. Diners predominate at lunchtimes; evenings attract drinkers with meals being chosen from an extensive nibbles range. Thursday and Friday evenings last until 3 am, but the Gable is so well-managed that cheerful and unthreatening conviviality prevails.
The meal offering has revived itself in the last year. Lunchtimes offer classics like fish and chips, steaks, and a vegetarian option such as wild mushroom risotto. But an attractive feature is the provision of daily specials; fish is often favoured with unusual dishes such as red gurnard and steamed mussels but lamb shank or duck breast could also be available.
The extensive nibbles menu is highly popular in the evenings but can be chosen at lunchtimes too. Pots of lamb koftas and sauteed tiger prawns are the sort of thing on offer. Sandwiches are also available with a choice of fillings such as crispy bacon, boiled egg or mushrooms. The sharing platters are particularly in demand in the evening and they do an excellent half-price happy hour platter for £9.95, which provides a massive selection of cheese, fish cake and chorizo.
A happy hour from 5-8 pm pulls in the local City workers. Normal prices are pitched at acceptable City levels - £3.70 for bitter, £4.60 for lager, £7.00 for a mojito and £6.60 for a 250ml pinot grigio white wine. At half price, however, they’re one of Moorgate’s best bargains.
Lager is a big seller in the Gable with a range of Beck’s Vier, Staropramen and Franziskaner from the renowned Spaten Brewery in Munch. The only real ale on handpump is Adnam’s Southwold but it’s fresh and well-kept. Among the spirits and liqueurs are, unusually, three spiced rums – Myer’s, Sailor Jerry Navy and Bacardi Oakheart.
As is to be expected given Balls Brothers provenance, there’s a splendid wine list with 13 sparkling, 29 whites, 5 roses and 22 reds – 21 of which are available by the glass. At the upper range are classics from Burgundy and a Barolo from Piedmont. A big win in the City can be celebrated with a Louis Roederer 2002 Cristal champagne at £223.50 a bottle.
The Last Word
The Gable shows that a new direction can bring success. And during happy hour, you’ll struggle to find a cheaper drink in Moorgate.