IT’S always the quiet ones. Take, for example, Gatehouse Restaurant in Lancaster.

It’s easy to miss - tucked inconspicuously at the side of the canal at the south end of the city. I lived there for four years and had never heard of it.

However, a friend dragged me from Kendal to see the place and I was stunned.

The venue is an eye-opener. I stepped in to a grotto of European influences. French Art Nouveau posters were set under large wooden beams and tiny lights decorated Italian-style murals.

We sat down and picked courses from a wide-ranging menu, which included several unusual options for vegetarians.

I started with parsnip and apple soup with a slice of bruschetta, drizzled with olive oil. This was a thick, sweet and tasty way to start.

Next, I opted for a pan-fried sea bass fillet with pancetta and cream baked potatoes with nutmeg – and it was a great looking dish, rich but not too heavy and the flavours combined well.

My friend enjoyed a chicken breast, stuffed with mozarella, cheddar and grain mustard. It came wrapped in bacon and served with creamed leeks, a light dijon sauce and mash – and portions were generous.

After, I had coffee, while my friend ordered an iced orange and white rum parfait with a chocolate and coconut sauce. I wish I could include the size of his grin in my review.

Staff were friendly and the atmosphere was pleasant and easy going. There was a large range of drinks with many fine wines on display.

Our meals, with a couple of drinks, came to £41.75.

I’m not always so complimentary, but this quiet eatery is one worth shouting about.


  • Food: 8
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 9
  • Value: 7