The Gate takes it even a step further by being a fully vegetarian restaurant, serving up eclectic, Modern European fare in their Angel and Hammersmith restaurants. And boy do they do it well. Here every dish is beautifully presented and flavours carefully combined, elevating simple vegetables into something quite special. On my recent first visit to the Angel branch me and my friend shared the mezze platter to start, which not only looked stunning but borrowed inspiration from vegetarian dishes from all around the world, making each component stand out in its own right. From the sesame coated tofu with coriander peatland sweet weed salad ( and I am usually not a huge fan of tofu despite it being an obvious food choice for any non meat eaters) to the mushroom arranchinis and grilled halloumi in chermula, this is fresh, fantastic food that impressed us before we had even gotten to our mains.
The mains too all sounded amazing on the menu and it proved difficult for us to choose (I already have my eye on two other mains for future visits) but in the end we rather boringly went for the same main - tortillas filled with sweet potato, beetroot and goats cheese, finished off with a black bean salsa. Again the dish stood out with its freshness but was also substantial enough to leave us with that full satisfied feeling. We also shared the chunky polenta chips with a tangy garlic aioli and a sweet potato and pomegranate salad in a creamy tahini dressing for added greens, both once again delicious, beautifully present and perfectly seasoned.
As it was Sunday and with official pigging out day we couldn't help but order the dessert mezze, especially as we enjoyed the starter one so much, and thank god we did! With a mix of vegan and none vegan desserts, the Gate also excelling in offering most dishes on request dairy and gluten free as well as clearly labelling everything on the menu and with that making it a dream for anyone with intolerances, we were a little apprehensive to start with. After all vegan cheesecake and the like had never really enticed me, at the back of my mind unsure how dairy components could be convincingly and most importantly in a tasty way replaced with an alternative. However the walnut base raw vegan chessscake, topped with prune jam, that appeared before us was absolutely incredible! It was light, creamy and in no way the odd tasting thing I had envisioned! I am definitely going to give making one a go especially as I am intrigued to learn as to what is used to substitute the dairy. My dining companion was overjoyed as she suffers from a dairy intolerance and the Gate again showed true kitchen ingenuity. The other mezze desserts were as good with highlights being the apple mille-feuille, caramilsed apples with sweet cream and calvados sorbet as well as the chocolate and griottine mousse which lacked the overwhelming richness of some mousses I've had. To wash it all down we had a very reasonable priced bottle of rose (at £19 pretty darn good for central London) and two fantastic cocktails- the flaming sour (amaretto, absinthe , passion fruit and lemon) even arriving in flames, only further reiterating the great attention to detail that is taken here not only in the food but also presentation and service overall.
The Gate delivered one of the best meals I've had in London, regardless whether it is a vegetarian restaurant or not. The food and the ingredients it is made out of is loved here and you can really taste that. Try the Gate and leave surprised and in awe at how versatile and darn tasty a meal without meat ( and dairy in some instances) can be and you may just change your preconceptions of boring veggie food with no stuffed pepper in sight!