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An expensive lesson

The Gate Restaurant of Hammersmith

How much would you pay for a meal? When dining out in a fancy restaurant, do you set yourself a budget or do you sometimes allow yourself to splurge on fine food?

If you don’t mind distributing your wealth now and again, I have some advice for you. Think twice before distributing it to The Gate Restaurant, a vegetarian eatery located in Hammersmith, London. I am going to be blunt and brief. I found it to be over-priced, over-dependent on dairy and severely lacking in vegan options.

The restaurant itself is rather pleasant, if a bit grubby. My seat afforded me a lovely view across the restaurant to the massive feature window. Unfortunately I was also next to a wall that was riddled with bizarre scuff marks and scratches. I’m not above eating in a venue with a bad paint job, but after viewing the prices on the menu I would expect The Gate Restaurant to splash out on a lick of paint now and again.

Speaking of prices, I have never paid so much money for such unexciting, unadventurous and downright dull food.

My starter was an asparagus dish that had nothing going for it apart from being well-cooked. I love asparagus but for £6.50 I expect a little more than a few spears sat on top of rocket accompanied by a triangular wedge of polenta. It was basic.

Roasted asparagus

My view was the best part of the meal

The mains on offer were mostly unsuitable for vegans. One out of six appeared to be vegan with the remainder either able to be changed to vegan or just completely unsuitable. There was cheese listed in so many of the dishes it felt like this was the only way they knew how to flavour their food.

I didn’t really want the pasta of the day but it seemed like the only mains option for a vegan. The chefs held back the parmesan and gave me a completely uninspired linguine dish featuring mushroom, vegan pesto and broccoli. I honestly eat finer food at home. The pasta was lacking of any strong flavour and I paid £10.50 for the privilege.

Pasta of the day

I consumed a carafe of wine for £12 and after ordering a bottle of sparkling water, I was given still. I didn’t complain to the server as they had already broken the seal and I wasn’t in the mood to challenge them on it. The water set me back £2.50.

By the time I ordered dessert my expectations were extremely low. The Gate Restaurant stayed consistently mediocre by serving me a dry, stringy, apple sorbet that was simply not enjoyable to eat. It was £4.50.

I had studied their menu before my visit and was interested in their claims of vegan ice cream made in their kitchen. When I asked my server which flavours were on offer, he replied just vanilla. I asked if that was the self-made ice cream listed on their website and he told me it wasn’t and that they were serving Swedish Glace vegan ice cream… for £4.50! This is the stuff you can get an entire tub of for just over £2 in some supermarkets and these jokers were charging double that for just a single serving. Unbelievable.

Disappointing sorbet

Let’s add up my bill. Wine plus water plus starter plus main plus dessert plus a small tip came to £40.50! That was just me dining on my own. If Josh had been in town and we had dined together, that would easily have been one hundred.

I haven’t had such a let down with food in a long time. Nothing was world-class and nothing was better than I could have made myself. For the price I paid I would expect a lot higher quality than I got.

I would love to hear from anyone else who has dined at The Gate Restaurant. I always welcome opposing points of view. You never know… someone out there might think it is good value. I doubt it though.

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Written by fatgayvegan

  1. your review is consistent with our experience there over 2 years ago. we haven’t been back since then, and it’s a pity to hear that nothing has changed!

  2. I went there a couple of times before I gave up dairy and had very good experiences but I haven’t been back since because their vegan offerings never look very exciting. They’d only have to have one decent looking dish to tempt me back but they just don’t seem to care about vegans. Shame.

  3. Ooh… I totally meant to link to the Quarrygirl.com review of The Gate Restaurant: http://www.quarrygirl.com/2009/02/10/the-gate-vegetarian-london/

    • aw thanks! <3 it's just so sad that they haven't learned. i was trying to convince my husband to go to the gate about 6 months ago when we were over there, and he wouldn't budge. now i'm glad. haha!

  4. I went there about 12 years ago. It was ok, but a bit over-priced and over-rated.

  5. Oh dear it seems like this is a fairly consistent view by others who have been
    so expensive and good for vegetarians but not vegans.

  6. Sorry you didn’t have a good time there. Have you been to Saf on Old Street? It’s all vegan, mostly raw and totally delicious! It is a little pricy though, especially their cocktails, but so worth it! x

  7. I’ve had a few really good experiences at The Gate..but I have noticed the menu looking crappy from time to time. I usually check what vegan options they have before I decide to make the trip, because it is REALLY expensive. When you get a good meal there it is good though.

    The options you’ve posted about don’t sound very exciting at all. Sorry to hear you had a bad time!

  8. […] in a place that serves animal flesh, but it is often seen in vegetarian restaurants too (see here and here). eat@ Alexandra Park Hot vegan chips Sausage sandwich looking rather bare eat@ […]

  9. […] restaurants sceptically as they routinely lack imagination and flair for vegan dishes (ahem… Gate), but food producers 1847 are turning out thoughtful, tasty morsels for compassionate diners. They […]

  10. Hi FGV I visited the Angel restaurant today and was impressed. lots of clearly marked vegan options and I paid £29 including tip for main, side, dessert and a soft drink.

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