Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Great food but grating service at The Gate

  

The Gate

51 Queen Caroline Street,
Hammersmith,
W6 9QL 
Tel 020 8748 6932 

As I was supposed to be attending the re-launch of a bar in Hammersmith, we decided to visit The Gate restaurant beforehand. After a bit of trouble finding it (it's down a side road by the Apollo), we came across a quaint little courtyard and church, with the restaurant on the first floor. The interior looks like it used to be part of the church, with high ceilings and white walls, and hardwood flooring. The room is longer than it is wide and it had a nice atmosphere, especially as it began to fill up.

Good bread and olive oil was offered as we mulled over the menu.

The menu was quite varied, all vegetarian and the prices were quite reasonable. I opted for the Halloumi Kibi to begin. The Veggie chose the the Artichokes. 

The starter was divine; a skewer of plump, well-cooked halloumi, with red onions, pepper and courgette, sat on a bed of fresh pomegrante, cous cous and herb salad. It was warming, light and bursting with flavour. 

The Veggie's dish was just as innovative and delightful; battered artichokes with a tasty dressing.


Unfortunately, the service was rather unfriendly which was the only thing that marred the beginning of the meal. 

For mains we both decided to go for the Rotolo (a gorgeous combination of butternut, goat's cheese and basil rolled in thyme-infused potato), which was beautifully presented on a bed of french beans and green pepper corn and mustard sauce. Initially I thought the dish was going to be rather heavy but the goat's cheese did not overwhelm the other flavours and everything was perfectly cooked and delicious. I have never seen a dish like this anywhere else and it was just another example of the exciting vegetarian food being cooked at The Gate. 

Aside from the dish we chose there was a pasta dish, an aubergine dish, another artichoke dish, a thai green curry and a mushroom dish. Something for everyone.

The desserts were something of a disappointment when compared to the high standards set by the rest of the meal. My Pressed Chocolate and Chestnut torte, was rather more of a cake, with very little chestnut and too little creme fraiche on the side.


The Veggie's sorbet was more promising, with three scoops of orange and ginger, apple and raspberry to be had. However, when it arrived the scoops were measly portions, and the flavours and colours were very muted. Not at all the vibrant offering she had been expecting!

Starters range from 5.75 to 6.25 and mains are rather more pricey at approximately 13.50.
Desserts were around the 5.50 mark. I would skip them and perhaps share another starter between two instead. 

I would definitely recommend The Gate for its unusual and superior vegetarian food, its just a shame the service lets the place down. I had to catch the eye of our waitress a few times before she came over, and we were more often than not ignored. Service was very slow and although the place was busy we noted some staff were standing around not doing anything or folding napkins instead of being attentive to the customer's needs.



Scores on the Doors: 7.5 out of 10

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