Last week, I made the very smart decision to go to the launch of The Gate’s new refit of its flagship restaurant in West London. Surprisingly, I never saw the original. I had attempted to many years ago, only to be met by closed doors when they should have been open. How stupid I was to not go back ASAP. I took fellow chef Sara of Pomodoro e Basilico as my date to the chic little restaurant just a hop, skip and a jump from Hammersmith Station in London. We were greeted by a modern entrance before ascending into the new warm, wooden interior and lovely high ceilings. It was nice to be in such an intimate atmosphere, but still with your own private space.
So let’s dive right in shall we (Sara and I sure did!)? With a glass of prosecco in hand we first ordered the green banana fritters with coconut salsa. Almost like a crumbly fried plaintain ball with this amazing chipotle dipping sauce on the side. Not spicy, just smoky and slightly sweet which complimented the crunchy coconut “salsa” on top. We also just had to try the vegan option of stuffed courgette flowers. I love courgette flowers, maybe even more because they have such a short season. So I instantly ordered The Gate’s version and it did not disappoint. It could easily be a main for a light eater. Covered with a light batter, it’s stuffed with fava beans and mint, on a bed of puy lentils and pesto. And did I mention the PILLOWY MOUNDS OF AIOLI?! At the first bite I had to set down my knife and fork just to concentrate on the flavours. Then I was thinking if I could ask The Gate if they had an ice cream cone they could just fill up for me. It was that good people. No wonder it’s part of the most popular dishes on the menu.
Then it was time for mains. The spicy corn and polenta cake was already calling to me; then I saw there was some pickled fennel involved and that was it. There was also roasted sweet potatoes and aubergine in a Neapolitan stack with this amazing black bean and corn salsa with fresh flavours that just popped. Loved it. Sara went for the red Thai curry which had a nice heat and the bright flavour of lemongrass shined through. All around us seemed to be the breadcrumb-coated aubergine teriyaki, which will be my next order for sure! It looked so nice, no wonder it seemed everyone was ordering it!
You can’t come to a top veggie restaurant and NOT have dessert! The banoffee pie called me right away as it is something I never make myself. It had an amazing creamy topping and the bananas were mixed up with biscuits in some kind of delicious, sexy confusion. Sara had the apple & plum crumble with vegan cream. I preferred mine to be honest, but I am into decadence!
So what could make this meal even better, you ask? Let me tell you. The delightful, attentive service we received. It doesn’t matter how great the food is… Ok, well, it DOES matter how great the food is, but without great wait-staff your dining adventure falls short. And I’m so pleased that The Gate had top notch service to go with its first-rate food. It’s an infrequent combination to come by these days and it was fantastic to have been treated and fed so well.
Go to their website and treat yourself to their Christmas meal (I will be!). And if you’re not in the London area, get yourself The Gate Vegetarian Cookbook which actually has recipes to dishes they actually serve! So you can whip up your own feast between visits and impress everyone! Thanks for sharing the love, Gate! I will be seeing you soon!