I was really excited to try out a vegetarian restaurant called The Gate. Despite not being a vegetarian, I do sometimes go for non-meat alternatives on the menu at restaurants and could quite happily eat a chick pea stuffed burger over a red meat alternative any day. The Gate has several restaurants but I went along to the Islington branch for dinner.
Upon arrival, there was a host at the door who was seeing to customers infront of us, so we waited to be seated. However, an older lady then came in behind us, walked infront of us and another host turned a blind eye to us and saw to the lady instead. Even though we had been waiting longer, I was astonished that this had happened already. If I wasn't reviewing the restaurant and was a paying customer, then I would have left and gone somewhere else.
We was finally seated on the upper level at the back of the restaurant and given menus. We ordered drinks whilst we was perusing the menu. I asked for a diet coke, but the waitress brought over a full fat coke. Honest mistake I understand, but two negative points within ten minutes wasn't looking good.
However, we decided to continue with the review. There's always room to improve and no other negative points were noted down for the remainder of the review.
For starters, we ordered the sharing meze platter (£20), so that we could try out several starter dishes to get a real feel for the vegetarian food that The Gate has to offer. The platter is already set, so you can't choose which starters you would like which I didn't really like. I think it would be more beneficial to the restaurant if the menu allowed you to choose which starters you wanted as part of the sharing meze.
It arrived with 5 different starters for 2 people to share. The three lentil pate terrine was quite nice even though I'm not usually someone who eats pate. Together with red lentils with spiced paprika and sun dried tomato, green lentils with basil and a few pieces of home made red onion and marmalade bread.
The meze also had cous cous fritters, a three onion tart and a honey nut crusted goats cheese. All were quite yummy, but it would have been nice to try out the halloumi cheese instead of the three onion tart.
One of the things it did come with that we was eager to try was the glazed aubergines. This was half an aubergine, roasted and glazed with miso sauce and topped with cashew nuts, coriander and ponzu sauce. This was actually quite nice and even though I would never place cashew nuts with such a vegetable, I found they complimented each other quite well.
For mains, my guest chose the beetroot tart (£13); a flaky puff pastry tart, topped with creamed caramelised onions. Sitting on top of a cheese and herb sauce, wilted spinach was carefully placed underneath the onions. A nice dish if you're an onion and beetroot fan!
I went for one of my favourite dishes in the world! These vegetarian tortillas (£13) were stuffed with black beans, sweet potato, sweetcorn, onions and coriander in a light tomato sauce. To top everything off, guacamole, green tomato and sweet pepper salsa was placed around the dish.
I loved the presentation of this and felt it was a great dish to have on the menu for people who love Mexican food, but maybe want to avoid meat or try a different alternative to meat. I added some non-vegan sour cream to mine and loved them! The tortillas were slightly crispy and warm which is exactly what I like. I definitely recommend this dish if you love a good tortilla!
Optional of course, but we also ordered some chunky polenta chips (£4). I had never tried polenta before, so it was the perfect chance to give them a try. Unfortunately, it turned out I don't like polenta and much prefer a potato chip! However, these were cooked to perfection so are probably really nice if you like polenta.
Feeling rather stuffed, there is never no room for dessert! I don't think I have ever tried vegan desserts before, so was excited to try some off the menu at The Gate.
I ordered the vegan cheesecake (£7) with a cashew based and cranberry jam. I like the concept of this and really wanted to be able to like it. Cheesecake is my favourite dessert ever, but the base really let me down. It tasted quite different because I am so used to a biscuit base. It was quite a bitter tasting base that I felt didn't really compliment the sweet cranberry topping very well.
My guest went for the sticky toffee pudding (£6.50), which looked absolutely incredible. A shaped cake, drizzled in a puddle of toffee sauce and accompanied with some salted caramel ice-cream. She enjoyed this dessert very much.
I think the prices are okay for a vegan restaurant with a nice enough menu and plenty of choices for people to choose from. Despite the shoddy service at the start, the food was nice and I would probably return if I was eating out with a vegan friend.
Disclaimer: I was invited to The Gate for a complimentary meal for 2 for an honest review on my blog.