The Gate • Restaurant Review
On a rainy bank holiday Monday, I decided to steal away to the back streets of Hammersmith and discovered a haven of healthiness at The Gate.
Situated in Hammersmith for over 26 years, I’m surprised I had not heard of it a decade ago, when I used to visit an ex. We were both veggies and would actively seek out Vegetarian food joints in West London, mainly Portobello road. I guess this was before the days of Google+ and Just Eat. Thank God for those helpful technical tools!
The atmosphere was inviting, warm and home-like. The building resembled a house, and the decor and furnishings reminded me of mature school dinner hall meets Mediterranean villa. Stripped back and neutral, the tables afforded the full focus to be about the food. We were greeted by the waiters who offered us the food and drinks menus. We were served fresh water with slices of lime and lemon and olives whilst we decided on starters.
I went for the Mustard Seed Potato Cake filled with spiced baby corn, courgette, carrot and green peas, pan fried and served with a tamarind sauce, mint & coriander chutney.
Presentation: The beautiful looking potato cake was mouthwateringly good. Simply, clean ingredients perfectly blended to perfection, it almost had a nostalgic tradition indian edge to it – like a saag dahl (a spinach and lentil dish), perhaps brought on by the Tamarind sauce. Smooth and mildly spicey, it vanished from my plate very quickly.
Portion: To be fair, if I had added a side of salad, I might have been full! The portion is generous.
Alternatives: My guests enjoyed the Haloumi cheese, which looked grilled and sliced into cubes. The lentil soup had a delicious aroma and again, was a very sizeable portion.
Being African, I am always intrigued when restaurants add traditional African ingredients to any dish. I absolutely love Thai Green Curry and have eaten it around the world in Dubai, New York and everywhere across London. I had to try it. Especially as they had found a way to incorporate plantain (friend banana) which for any Afro-Carribean foodie is childhood favourite to accompany any meal.
The bowl of green curry was bolstering with fresh greens and creamy sauce. The tofu looked very well seasoned and the slices of soft plantain added colour and flavour to the dish that made the usually spicy dish a playful melange of sweet-savoury. The shiitake mushrooms were subtle and the yellow courgette and sweet potato had a raw crunch to them, embedded in a thai spiced creamy coconut sauce served with sticky rice which was beyond tasty. I devoured this with a side salad of Rocket and balsamic topped with hazelnuts and blushed tomatoes. The combination of mixing the rocket and nuts with the creamy curry created a crunchy vegan stew. I could have had seconds, not because of the portion – but simply because it was just so damn good!
Alternatives: I was intrigued by the Aubergine Schnitzel (Major Aubergine fan). All of my guests had the Thai Green Curry accept my husband who enjoyed the Vegetarian Wild Mushroom Risotto. I did have a spoonful and it tasted great. Not amazing but still very good.
I love cheesecake. Being Vegan, I rarely get to have one these days and usually settle for dairy-free carrot cakes or brownies. So the immediate choice was the Vegan Vanilla Cheesecake.
A Hazelnut base topped with Prune jam, I had thought this would be very rich and sweet which I like for desserts. Sadly, it was very rich, almost too rich with the plum and could have done with a drizzle of agave or sprinkles of xylitol to lift this beautifully presented cake. Not like me to leave a dessert unfinished, but the prunes had a very earthy taste. Nothing that a raspberry jam or raw shavings of cacao couldn’t sort.
Alternatives: My husband and our guests went for the Chocolate and Pear Tart served with pear sorbet. Ab-so-lute-ly exquisite. Every single bite was the right combination of sweet and pastry. Equal and balanced, the sorbet just added that sweet kick that I adore when I have a dessert, I would choose this one time and time again.
We were on a our best behaviour and all decided to not have alcohol to accompany our meal (a working weekend is better with a clear head). This was probably a wise choice as it heightened our sense of taste. We did experience their raw juices; Orange and Pink Grapefruit. This seemed to taste particularly good whilst I was eating the Green Thai Curry.
The sweet potato chips were a lovely touch. Curly and cute, they just added something nice to snack on between each course, accompanied by the olives.
I would fully recommend The Gate to Vegans, Vegetarians and non-Vegans. My guests were meat eaters and they had preconceived notions about the taste, texture and enjoyability of Vegan dishes. They were pleasantly surprised at how much flavour could be induced with non-meat dishes and we all agreed that we would advice people to dine here as lovely introduction to the sophistication of Vegan dishes, with simple yet beautifully presented meals that you could infact replicate at home. A great find, neatly tucked away behind Hammersmith station, super easy to get to without the hustle and bustle of Kings Street. Loved it!
Written and reviewed by