Although I really love cooking and coming up with tasty, new clean eating recipes, I also love to go out and eat food that other people have made! The Gate vegetarian restaurant invited me to come and try their menu as they pride themselves on sourcing their ingredients with care and, they love celebrating the wonderful flavours of food. The online menu looked full of clean dishes, so I happily accepted.
I took my friend and food blogger, Charlotte from lottielovesfood.com with me so that we could try lots of different dishes between us, and also show you how lovely they look. We visited the Islington branch of The Gate (there is another one in Hammersmith and a third opening soon), and the inside of the restaurant was all white walls and dark wooden furniture. We were offered olives and warm focaccia as we looked at the menu, and with lots of clean options to choose from, we were spoiled for choice.
One of the great things about eating out with a friend is ordering something like this beautiful mezze platter of so many different, clean dishes. Here we have:
Three lentil pate terrine – the pate was thicker than normal and the three flavours – smoked paprika and tomato, green lentil and basil and beluga lentil and olive – made each bite interesting. They all also went really well with the red onion marmalade alongside.
Pickled Asian salad – the mix of beetroot, papaya, carrot mushrooms, peppers and peach were gently sweet, with a lovely, zesty kick from the sesame dressing.
Grilled halloumi in chermoula – this had a base of freekeh (one of my favourite grains!) with pomegranate and mint salad, roasted red onions, peppers and harissa for lots of delicious tastes in one small portion.
Watermelon and feta salad – a refreshing mix of crisp, watermelons and baby gem lettuce with creamy feta cheese, honey dressing and a little crunch from the toasted pumpkin seeds.
Slow roasted leek tart – the Swiss cheese means this isn’t the cleanest option to choose, but it’s a great option for your friend/husband who isn’t thinking about that! Charlotte told me the tart was creamy, the leeks were deliciously sweet (she doesn’t usually like leeks) and the balsamic dressing, sprouting lentils and raw beetroot salad were a great texture combination.
For mains, I ordered the Green Dragon (not as scary as it sounds) and you can see how stunning it looks on the plate! It was a gorgeous mix of sweet potato, red cabbage, pak choi, daikon, carrots and peppers, topped with avocado slices and smoked tofu. The teriyaki and sesame dressing was the finishing touch. It was full of flavour and I ate the whole dish after letting Charlotte have a quick forkful! The only thing that would have improved it was less dressing, as there was quite a lot of oil left on my plate at the end.
Charlotte chose the option that should keep your partners/husbands/wives happy as it included a white bun! You all keep telling me that they don’t want to go to a restaurant and eat clean, so this could be the option for them. It was one of the summer menu specials – The Gate sweet potato and chickpea burger on a homemade brioche bun, with pulled jackfruit in smoked tomato sauce, lettuce, beef tomato and celeriac remoulade. You can even order Swiss cheese as an extra for the burger if you are feeling really cheesy. The burger itself looked like it was a frozen patty so we asked, but the owner assured us it had been made in the restaurant. Although the texture was nice and firm (so many veggie burgers just fall apart as you bite into them), the taste was disappointing. It needed more seasoning and something else to make it sing, the chickpea and sweet potato just tasted quite bland together. After a few bites, it was cast aside on the plate.
Instead, Charlotte just ate the brioche with the toppings which she enjoyed, although she would have preferred to have eaten the burger as well. The jackfruit and celeriac were unusual and especially tasty as toppings, so here is my recipe if you’d like to try celeriac remoulade at home.
The side sounded delicious on the menu – roasted cauliflower with smoked paprika tahini dressing, pine nuts and pomegranate. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the description as the cauliflower was only very lightly roasted, so did not have that intensive taste you’d expect, and the dressing was not full of flavour either.
After two courses, we felt there was a little room for dessert. There were no clean options on the menu so it would not suit those of you currently on a challenge. However, if like me, you think that eating clean MOST of the time means you are happy to have a treat now and again, then there were lots of choices. I chose the coconut parfait with sweet chilli grilled pineapple, and it was really good. The strong coconutty flavour was a great pairing to the pineapple, and I enjoyed every bite.
Charlotte ordered the banoffee pie with caramelised bananas and banana coulis. The pie itself was topped with whipped coconut cream which was very subtly flavoured and I doubt most people would have realised it wasn’t just fresh cream. The biscuit base also tasted homemade in a good way, but the bananas in the middle were grey and mushy. This happens to my bananas sometimes when I’ve frozen and defrosted them, so it was disappointing to see they hadn’t used fresh, especially as the caramelised bananas around the pie were lovely and fresh. Once the grey bananas were pushed aside, she really enjoyed the rest of the dessert.
It’s always good to try out different restaurants and The Gate does have some lovely clean dishes on the menu to choose from. Some of them we really enjoyed and others could have been better, but everyone enjoys different flavours. I would say The Gate is a medium priced restaurant for London so if you like the sound of the menu and you come down for the day, it might be worth a visit. You can follow The Gate on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Disclaimer: I received the above lunch for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only share truthful reviews and recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.