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October 13th, 2011

THE GATE (Hammersmith)

Category: Bistro (££) green traffic3 150x150 THE GATE (Hammersmith)

Hammersmith in West London is completely out of my culinary comfort zone. Apart from the budget-breaking River Cafe I am not aware of any decent restaurants in this area and River Cafe is certainly too posh for a quick pre-theatre bite.

When researching for a restaurant close to the Lyric Hammersmith, I stumbled upon this review of The Gate on Time Out. A vegetarian restaurant that gets 5 out of 5 stars? Intriguing. Even though I am certainly NOT a vegetarian, I do very much enjoy pure vegetable dishes if they are well done.

Our attempts to visit The Gate were hindered by the fact we couldn’t find it. Even though we had the exact address we kept running up and down Queen Caroline Street which almost ended up in a relationship crisis. Maybe The Gate would consider putting a sign up, that people can actually see? I am sure this would help in getting customers.

Anyway, we did find it in the end and I was glad that we did not give up, or break up for that matter. As far as non-Asian vegetarian restaurants go, The Gate is as good as it gets. You will certainly be disappointed if you expect oddly dressed hippies wearing birkenstocks, you will search in vain for the obligatory falafel on the menu and no, the waitresses don’t have dreadlocks. There is a tree painted onto the wall though.

I loved the bright room with the high ceiling and large windows. It could however do with a little refurbishment. Overall the place looks a bit run down, which was apparent when we arrived and it was still light, and less obvious during the course of the evening. And have I mentioned that a big sign in front would be a really good idea?

 THE GATE (Hammersmith)
Tree hugger @The Gate

I loved both of our the starters. The sweet potato and pomegranate salad (5.75) is certainly very good for you. The tangy pomegranate and the sweet potatoes were beautifully complemented by the fresh green leaves and lentils. The sauce contained small pieces of goat’s cheese, mint and tahini and this is certainly a dish I could eat every day should I attempt a vegetarian diet in the near future. Less healthy but nonetheless delicious was the Wild Mushroom Gallet (7.50). It is the time of the year to eat wild mushrooms, particularly if they are that impeccably prepared. The light puff pastry was generously topped by aromatic sauteed wild mushrooms flavoured with thyme and onions. The sweet onion jam it was served with offered a beautiful contrast.

 THE GATE (Hammersmith)

Sweet potato and pomegranate salad (5.75)Â


 THE GATE (Hammersmith)

Wild Mushroom Galette (7.50) @The Gate

The mains were not that cheap considering that there is no expensive meat or fish involved.The dishes are prepared with the freshest ingredients and with a lot of attention to detail and as you don’t miss the meat at all, this seems fair enough. The Thali (12.50) was thoroughly enjoyable. A light and flavoursome vegetable curry with aubergine and cauliflower came with fluffy pita bread and nicely cooked basmati rice. Delicious were the two different coriander raijtas – one sweet, the other one herby.

The least convincing of all dishes was the Aubergine Teriyaki (13.75). It was bland and could have done with some sauce. It actually didn’t taste of teriyaki very much. The aubergine was prepared almost like meat, which was lovely and with a bit more seasoning this dish would have certainly hit the mark.

 THE GATE (Hammersmith)

Thali (12.50)

 THE GATE (Hammersmith)

Aubergine Teriyaki (13.75)

We had a chat with the owner, who told us that he had this restaurant for over 20 years. He appears to do something right – it was packed with diners when we had to rush off to our show, unfortunately missing out on the desserts.  I would not travel through town to eat at the Gate (as long as I don’t become a vegetarian at least), I am very glad though to know now of a reasonably priced and high quality restaurant close to one of my favourite theatres in London.
  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 8/10
  • Ambiance: 6/10
  • Value for Money: 7/10
  • Chances of Returning: depends on what’s playing at the Lyric
  • Verdict: makes the thought of being a vegetarian certainly less daunting!

biglink THE GATE (Hammersmith)

For some more vegetarian bliss, I recommend Mildreds in Soho.

4 comments to THE GATE (Hammersmith)

  • SB

    Wow! Next time I’m due at the Lyric Hammersmith then :-D

  • Ah… have not been to that part of the town before. At least, not for a meal. No, not a vegetarian as well but I do enjoy the occasional vegetarian dish provided that not too much flour in it.

    Funny that the best vegetarian restaurant that I’ve been to is a place in Wimbledon… just can’t recall the name though. But thanks for the write up. The tree makes me feel more zen. :)

  • I have just been in London, full of foodie plans…but by the time I do the rounds of my friends – most of whom cook for me – not much chance of food adventures. Nice to read yours, though.

  • Ute

    @Ilse- next time when you come to london, I take you out :)

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