Having been brought up a vegetarian by my mother, it is a task to find somewhere that would serve her the kind of food she would be pleasantly surprised by. All too often she finds that vegetarian options are minimal and very uninspiring, so the challenge was on when we were invited to sample The Gate’s menu on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
The Gate is a vegetarian restaurant located in Angel. The interior is stripped back with muted colours and comfortable furnishings, the lighting is industrial and the floors are a rich dark wood.
As we arrived we were shown to our table which was near the large sun filled windows that reach to the high ceilings. I took the seat facing out into the restaurant as my Mum rightly said “you need to experience the ambience”. Mum ordered a Ginger Fizz which contained real slithers of ginger, giving it quite a kick, and I enjoyed some icy prosecco.
The menu for the day was concise but varied, with the option of 5 main dishes which I do prefer to having too much choice. To start we ordered the courgette flower – pan fried, filled with a sweet potato stuffing flavoured with Thai basil, ginger, garlic and chilli served Morning Glory and a sesame and lime dressing, which I have always wanted to try and can now highly recommend. Alongside this we shared the smoked tofu and spring mint vegetable roll which was laden with pink ginger. The presentation was exquisite; I felt a bit bad for ruining their delicately placed leaves.. but it had to be done.
For the main course we had Confit of artichoke salad – slow baked artichoke hearts with semi dried tomatoes, French beans, hazelnuts and mixed leaves in a lemon dressing. It was extremely refreshing especially with the combination of the artichokes and the lemon dressing. We also shared the tortillas – sweet potato, sweetcorn, goats cheese, chilli, lime and coriander, baked beetroot, feta, parsley, guacamole, sour cream and black bean pepper salsa; it was a mouthful in more ways than one. The tortillas were arranged vertically with the black beans creating a pretty border around the plate. The sweet potato and beetroot created a wonderfully interesting combination on the palate, leaving you with a sweet and sour tingle.
Their carefully combined ingredients complimented each other perfectly and everything was al dente, which allowed the nutrients and flavours of each vegetable to remain. For dessert they very kindly boxed up a bitter chocolate tart with lemon and vanilla poached pear, served with creme fraich, as we were very full. The portions are deceptively filling and the wholesome feeling you have afterwards is that of visiting a health farm for a couple of hours.
The Gate is the kind of place you can enjoy a very long and relaxed meal in a beautifully naturally lit space. I would recommend it to vegetarians and meat lovers alike, I promise you won’t be disappointed through lack of meat. The main critic here was my Mum, and I’m very happy to say that she loved it.
The Gate, 370 St John Street, London, EC1V 4NN.