Dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine: £80.00
My good friend the Vegetarian and I treated ourselves to a meal out after work one evening at The Gate in Hammersmith. The Vegetarian chose the venue and I did not read any reviews prior, so I had relatively few expectations other than that there would be no meat in my meal.
The entrance to the Gate is a little odd – you go in through the courtyard of a church and the restaurant is indeed in the same building as the church – though is not at all affiliated to it. Once you get past the Jesus loves you pamphlets on the ground floor the restaurant itself is quite cozy. My only criticism of the interior is that it’s so dark that if you have vision problems you should bring a torch so that you can read the menu or see your food. And if you are a food blogger be prepared to have to use your flash no matter how much this pains you.
I started with the confit of artichoke salad which was spectacular. You know how sometimes a cooked artichoke heart still has the odd chewy hard bit that sticks you in the throat? None of that here. The artichokes were sweet and soft without being oily and the addition of hazelnuts and sweet oven dried tomatoes were just great. I made a note that I need to get a recipe for cooking artichokes this way.
I should also mention that the wine list is all vegetarian/vegan friendly and we drank a lovely chardonnay from Carmel Wineries. It was expensive at £30 but it was as I said lovely. There are less expensive wines on the menu as well.
For my main course I ordered the wild mushroom rosti which just sounded like it was going to be ridiculously luxurious. Four different kinds of wild mushrooms over a potato and celeriac rosti with a cep mushroom (porcini for anyone not British) sauce all topped with rocket. I was really excited about this dish and it is with heavy heart that I have to report it was a letdown.
The reason for the heart heaviness is that we had the best service I’ve ever had in a restaurant in London and I just really wanted to give the Gate a 100% positive review. But it was just completely over salted. If the chef had gone easier on the salt I am pretty sure it would have been a fantastic dish – the textures were all right, it looked good on the plate but the salt was seriously overwhelming. Clearly no one tasted the dish before it came out of the kitchen.
All that aside though I would really like to go back and if the place a second try. The salad alone was good enough to make me want to try their other dishes.
Update: I’ve since gone back to the gate for another try and the over salting was indeed a fluke. I had a lovely creamy and somehow completely vegan Jerusalem artichoke soup and the pumpkin cannelloni both of which were delicious. Great service again as well.
51 Queen Caroline Street
Hammersmith, W6 9QL