On Friday evening, The Handbook packed up shop and headed over to Hammersmith to try out recently re-opened vegetarian restaurant, The Gate. Being vegetarian, I was very excited to sample the food and actually have a choice about what I was going to eat, but I was also a little bit sceptical due to past experience with vegetarian restaurants.
The restaurant is hidden down a very residential road, and we have to drive past a couple of times before we spotted it. The dining room is situated in a sort of warehouse/barn conversion, with heaps of natural light, giving the restaurant a cosy but modern atmosphere – definitely not your usual London restaurant experience.
We sat down and ordered fresh raspberry bellinis, always a delicious way to start the weekend! I was a little overwhelmed by the menu, as I’m not used to having to make a choice between more than about two dishes, but eventually we settled for the courgette flower and girolle ravioli to start, followed by the aubergine teriyaki and beetroot cannelloni, with polenta chips as a side – as recommended by the diners in the adjacent table. I am very pleased to report that it was all delicious: my unusual courgette flower was soft and hot in the middle with crispy batter on the outside (frankly, I could have eaten about five portions of this) and the beetroot cannelloni was full of flavour and looked beautiful. My (very carnivorous!) friend had the other two dishes and was surprised by how little she missed the meat element – it’s always nice to prove that there is more to food than meat. The best part of the meal, though, was the polenta: the hot, crispy chips came with a strong garlic aioli sauce, and just seemed to melt away in your mouth. I would thoroughly recommend giving these a go!
For dessert, we simply had to try one of our all-time favourite puddings, banoffee pie, as well as the white chocolate and baileys cheesecake. The banoffee pie was interestingly made out of mashed bananas rather than sliced, but it was the cheesecake that was the showstopper. Not usually one to like cheesecake very much, I was surprised by how decadent and truffle-y this was.
All in all, I can completely understand the fantastic reviews that this restaurant is receiving: the atmosphere transports you out of London and into a secluded countryside restaurant, the service is outstanding, the staff is very friendly and helpful, and the food is innovative but delicious. Needless to say, with reasonably prices, I’ll be a regular from now on. To top it all off, I was very kindly given a recipe book to take home with me – I have already made a batch of the butternut squash risotto, and it turned out perfectly!
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