Review by my friend Lynn
I was first introduced to the Gate by some enthusiastically omnivorous friends back in the mid 90s. I still remember those plantain fritters. Fast forward twenty years and Hammersmith’s light and airy haven of imaginative vegetarian cooking is still going strong, serving elegant treats with an eclectic range of flavours from around the world. And it’s still one of my favourite places to eat, reliable, friendly and never dull. It had, however, taken me AGES to get Helen there, so the invitation for a review provided the final nudge.
The first thing that strikes you about the place is the space – high ceilinged and lit by an enormous arched window, the building was built as a studio for the artist Frank Brangwyn and Helen is now coveting it as a photographic studio. Dreams of artistic endeavour on hold, we made an assault on the chef’s creative efforts instead.
We ordered what turned out to be two substantial starters – pumpkin, dolcelatte and sage tart, a rich baked custard in shortcrust, and a courgette flower stuffed with sweet potato, goats’ cheese and pine nuts, battered and served on puy lentils with aioli.
Main courses were a butternut and goat’s cheese filled potato rotolo in a creamy lemon and herb butter sauce, delicate and rich, and for contrast, the robust flavours of teriyaki aubergine stuffed with pungent coriander, horseradish and red pepper. Helen said she wasn’t sure she could eat a whole plate of either (we really didn’t need the polenta chips we ordered), but we polished them off between us all the same and were still greedy enough to try the dessert mezze.
Unlike some of New York’s smarter vegetarian establishments, the Gate is not a vegan restaurant but about two thirds of the menu could be served vegan on request. A three-course lunch for two with a glass of wine, a fruit juice cocktail and coffees came to £86.41 including service.
51 Queen Caroline St,
London W6 9QL
020 8748 6932
For another viewpoint here is Jeanne’s review of The Gate Islington.