Only members of my family know just how happy good food makes me. And “The Gate” managed to make me very, very happy. So happy in fact that it made me decide to give the whole blogging thing another go.
The restaurant is located in a side street in Hammersmith, near the Apollo, and even though it’s a little hidden, a friendly and inviting green wall with the name of the restaurant makes sure noone misses it (unlike with the Cookies Cream restaurant in Berlin (which will most definitely get its own blog post)).
To me this restaurant is close to perfect. It’s small (only around 15 tables) with enough waiters to make sure every guest gets enough attention but not too many to disturb. The music in the background, when we went, was Lykke Li, who, even though is becoming a bit fond of herself, is just cool.
Another likeable aspect about this restaurant is that they “try to be aware of our carbon footprint and try reducing it by recycling our waste and buying where possible from companies that are carbon offsetting.”
But let’s get down to business and talk food. The cuisine is vegetarian and the menu changes monthly, whilst making sure to keep a couple of signature dishes. To go with the food they have a number of vegetarian and vegan wines. Before we even ordered we were offered a choice of two freshly baked breads (potato or walnut) with the most delicious flavoured olive oil I have ever (!) tasted.
For starters we both ordered the crispy risotto cake, which is described as a pan-fried herb risotto cake served with garlic & chilli mushrooms & mushroom reduction
The crispy risotto cake was an absolute delight and went amazingly with the chili mushrooms and the mushroom reduction.
I was nearly a little sad when I had finished the starter, because until our visit to The Gate, I always preferred the starter to the main. I’m usually tempted to order two starters rather than a starter and a main, but yesterday the main was absolutely perfect, one of the nicest combination of flavours that I have ever put in my mouth. I could literally not stop “mmmmmmmhing”.
I had the Cajun Aubergine, which is crispy crumbed aubergine stuffed with roasted okra, served on a bed of char-grilled sweet potato, with chipotle chili salsa & guacamole.
Ok I know you can’t taste it but maybe by going through the components individually I can make it a bit clearer just how amazing this tasted!
– Cajun Aubergine. Aubergine often tastes a bit bland, so combining it with Cajun is a pretty good start in my opinion. The aubergine was coated in lovely panko breadcrumbs making it crispy but not oily or heavy! The aubergine was presented in a round shape and filled with:
– Roasted Okra. Okra seems to be one of the fashionable ingredients this year, and I know why, it tastes a little different to what we’re used to, but in a very pleasant way.
–Chargrilled Sweet Potato. I love sweet potato and I love chargrilled vegetables, but how on earth does it work to get perfectly cooked sweet potatoes that are then chargrilled, without having them fall apart? I still don’t know how to manage, I do however now know that it’s possible! NOM NOM NOM.
– Guacomole. Guacomole and Sweet Potato? Guacamole and Aubergine. REALLY? Yes definitely. It’s an incredible combination. The guacamole tasted lovely and fresh and coriander-y and who would have guessed: of actual avocados (which you know a lot of places seem to forget that a guacamole should).
To finish of this amazing dish, the aubergine that was filled with roasted okra and bedded on char grilled sweet potatoes and guacamole, the chefs from The Gate decided to put something really refreshing in a circle around the rest of the meal:
– Chipotle Chili Salsa. If this dish wasn’t perfect already, the sharp and spicy flavour of the salsa definitely made it perfect by contrasting amazingly to the rather creamy other components.
My boyfriend had the pasta dish of the day which was spaghetti with courgette, sweet potato, red onion, garlic, parmesan and mushrooms. This dish was a proof of my thesis that a good restaurant can make an incredible pasta dish using only very simple ingredients.
In conclusion the food was incredible, the components complimented each other perfectly. Whilst it did become one, each ingredient was still easily distinguishable from the rest.
We decided against desert, but only because we had a couple of slices of this amazing Chocolate Pudding Pie at home. However the “baked dulce de leche cheesecake” and the “lavender crème brûlée” did sound very tempting!
So all in all, this restaurant experience was everything I want: a nice atmosphere, friendly waiters, a small menu (that changes regularly) with amazing, fresh food and prices that are very reasonable.
However I might have to add that I probably would go back there, even if the prices weren’t reasonable and would prevent me from eating at all for a week afterwards, just because the food was so so so good.