I love vegetarian restaurants. The moment you walk through the doors, you know you can enjoy everything to the full; the smells, the tastes, the chatter. As a vegetarian of a few years now, it’s something I’ll never get tired of, that relaxation when going to eat at a restaurant catered to vegetarians and vegans.
The Gate restaurant in Islington in one such place. It might not have the Instagram chic of Ethos, and it could do with an overall theme (right now, it’s straying into a friendly village vibe) but its food really shines as an artisan of vegetarian cuisine.
I went along last week with my flatmate Campbell (who isn’t vegetarian) to give their food a go. The visit started off relaxed, a glance through their menu (which does differ somewhat to their website) and a friendly chat with the lovely waitress led to a big bottle of Belu sparkling water, a cut above the rest in terms of ethics, and a revelation that they serve organic wine by the glass.
After picking through the deliciously seasoned olives, and a starter of asparagus, lightly cooked so still with that fresh crunch, my thai green curry arrived. Now, up until this point I’d been enjoying myself, but the presentation of the curry took me by surprise! Sticky rice rolled in a leaf and dotted with seeds, and a bowl of the creamiest, coconut curry full of sweetcorn, mushroom, tofu, and watercress – my mouth is watering writing about it!
And for the meat eater, the biggest veggie platter of all time – I’ve never seen so much food! I believe it was billed as The Green Dragon, with avocado, peppers, tofu, and teriyaki sauce. He was definitely pleased.
We chowed down and looked around the restaurant a little; there was a real mix of visitors, which is always a good sign, with this undoubtedly boosted by their child-friendly attitude and first restaurant to be certified autism-friendly.
Finally, we topped off the meal with two desserts; a chocolate cake, and a vegan meringue (I barely could tell the difference from regular meringue) topped with coconut cream (my favourite part) and fresh mango. Too sweet? Perhaps, but I can’t deny a treat!
Overall, I’d say The Gate is the perfect restaurant to go to as a group. It might not be as intimate as some places, but its food can make anyone smile – including non-vegetarians, coeliacs, and vegans – and there’s enough space and good service to cater for larger groups, a rarity in central London!