I guess the high expectations and the ensuing disappointment I had the other day are the motivation that convinced me to start a blog about vegan food (no one deserves to suffer as we did); and of course, a healthy dose of encouragement from my friends, because every great idea my mind creates, I have the unfortunate habit of convincing myself that it will never work out. Fuck this millennial mindset! Do you ever have that feeling of having like, let’s say 3-4 really good ideas in your head that could possibly make you fucking rich or at least proud about your work (for once) and then as soon as you start drafting a plan on how to take it a step further, a little nagging voice in the back of your head starts telling you that it is not such a great idea and that there are probably millions of people already doing it, better than what you would ever be able to do and that nobody is ever gonna read what you write….. AAAAAAHHHHHHH. Stop it. Breathe!
Anyway, let’s get back to us. I’m writing this because as a vegan I know it is hard sometimes to find places to have great food and unfortunately we find often ourselves ordering multiple side dishes trying to make our own decent main course. Times are changing though and in a city like London, you have options, some good, some bad. I just want to help other vegans, or open-minded omnivores, out. I went with some friends to a really cute kinda hipster very Instagram-able place in West London for a Sunday brunch. I love brunch, though I’m never really sure if I LOVE brunch or if I think I love brunch because we are educated as young girls that brunching makes you a cool independent woman that doesn’t need a man to cook breakfast for you on Sunday morning, because you are too busy meeting your friends, having overpriced (and under portioned) food and gossiping. Yes, I grew up with Sex & The City and the Devil Wears Prada as my Holy Bible. I feel kinda old right now…
The Gate is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Hammersmith. The building has a very peculiar entrance that gives you the impression that you are going to church rather than to have expensive toast. Even the smell in the hallway isn’t very comforting, kinda Sunday-school like! The restaurant itself is on the first floor. The room is fairly quiet and doesn’t have many tables. The ceiling is very high with a large window that allows the whole restaurant to be lit without the need for artificial lighting. The furniture is very simple, kept to the bare minimum, something in between minimal, arte povera and wrought-iron; a style that lately seems to be a must in London, if you want your bar to be trendy (such an outdated word right?!) and make money at the same time. The décor has been completed with green leafy plants and industrial style naked light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The jazz music in the background makes the atmosphere enveloping and sophisticated, you suddenly feel like an artsy freelancer drinking black americano in Brooklyn, that is actually one of my aesthetic goals in life.
During the weekend, The Gate offers a Sunday Roast menu which includes two courses for around £20 and no roast, of any kind, apparently.
I had the artichoke terrine as a starter with a dried tomato paste and grilled bread. The whole thing left me somewhat confused, too salty for my taste. Now, I love food but I’m not an expert (yet), especially about the vegan food culture, so I was eating all the components of the dish separately and it was just cold, salty and plain, but maybe I was doing everything wrong, though even after composing my own tartine with the bread and the sauce, it just had no wow factor for me (What is it with the restaurants of this century and building your own dishes by the way?!). I have to say though, that the presentation of the dish was very pretty and the bread was freshly baked.
As a main dish, I had the beetroot burger with fries and greens on the side and I can clearly say that this dish is not their forte. The little salad had a fresh taste with a peppery kick from the Dijon mustard vinaigrette. The burger itself, on the other hand, was pretty rubbery: basically a pink chemical agglomerate of glue that can easily be found at any supermarket. The matchstick chips were so thin you could see through them, set on the plate as more of a decoration than anything.
The staff was nice and polite however, the service was really slow, so slow we had to wait about two hours in order to have our main dishes after we had the starters and the restaurant wasn’t even crowded. They completely forgot about us and thought we had finished our meal. After we reminded them we were still waiting for our food, they brought us some olives and a freshly baked full baguette to tide us over.
My friend ordered a huge stuffed onion and let me tell you it was so plain that the only thing you could taste was the fork in your mouth. And we are being nice. Very nice.
It wasn’t a horrible experience, though quite a few things were just not right. I don’t know if it deserves another try…
Please let me know if you ever tried The Gate in Hammersmith and if so, which dish would you suggest deserves a try or needs to be avoided?