The Gate – Vegetarian Food
The Gate vegetarian restaurant in Hammersmith has been running since 1989 and I have been meaning to go there since…1989. I used to live less than half a mile away and haven’t eaten meat for over thirty years so you would have thought that as someone who thinks nothing of popping over to France for lunch, that I might have made the effort.
But I didn’t, probably something to do with having very young children at the time and being away on the road a lot. So I’m really happy to have the chance to rectify this situation with an invite to review.
The Gate is owned by Adrian and Michael Daniel whose heritage is Indo-Iraqi Jewish. and the food comes straight out of their grandmothers’ kitchens blending Indian and Arabic cuisines with traditional Jewish food mediated by a Mediterranean sensibility. It sits between the Hammersmith Odeon (or whatever it’s called nowadays) and The Riverside Studios providing a more civilised and ethical alternative to the meat heavy offers on the adjoining Fulham Palace Rd. The interior is a mashup of 1970s style reclaimed wood walls and contemporary Soho with low hanging filament bulbs and soon fills up with with punters who seem genuinely excited to be in one of the last original iconic London vegetarian restaurants.
It seemed smart to start off with the Mezze Platter (£19) providing a global selection of starters; a delicious three onion tart was sweet and light, grilled halloumi in chermoula was authentically North African in flavour, a fried potato cake was stuffed with veg and enlivened by zingy Indian flavours and sesame coated tofu was more Japanese in influence.
Butternut Rotolo (£13) featured a roasted butternut squash with goat’s cheese and basil rolled in baked thyme-infused potato, with a tomato and caper salsa and lemon butter sauce. This felt like a contemporary reworking of classic 70s/80s vegetarian ‘orange food’, heavy on starch but here enlivened by the salsa and sauce-a perfect winter’s dish and well matched by our bottle of 2013 Sardinian Villa Solais Vermentino (£27).
Aubergine schnitzel (£14) was a much lighter proposition, layered with applewood smoked cheddar, basil pesto, red peppers and tomatoes, served with kale and dauphinoise potatoes and with a light horseradish cream sauce. The kale was perfect and the panko batter crisp and dry, but the horseradish cream wasn’t the ideal match for the cheese, basil and tomato elements.
A mix of ice-creams and sorbets (blackcurrant, pear and lychee) were perfectly crystalline and refreshing.
Mille-feuille (£6) was a properly light and flaky sweetened by caramelised apples, sweet cream and given a bit of a kick by a calvados sorbet.
I enjoyed my meal at The Gate. The food still references the earlier days of London’s vegetarian scene but with a refinement and a more contemporary vision that justifies its leading position in the veggie gastro scene. With a more recent sister restaurant in Islington, The Gate’s style of vegetarian fusion food is now available for North Londoners as well as for those in the wild west and it has a very reasonably priced children’s menu.
51 Queen Caroline St, Hammersmith, Greater London W6 9QL
020 3544 0679