The Gate Restaurant is probably one of London’s biggest and best vegetarian restaurants. But I don’t want to pigeonhole The Gate to my reading audience, so I almost didn’t want to start my review that way. It isn’t a great vegetarian restaurant, it’s just a great restaurant full stop. However, everything on the menu is vegetarian and there are multiple vegan and gluten-free options as well.
I happened to be at their Islington location last week on World Vegetarian Day, and it was absolutely packed. I was in the restaurant from about 7pm-9pm and there was hardly an empty table the entire time. A deservedly popular place!
We started with the bread basket (when am I not going to order a bread basket? When I’m dead, that’s when!) and the grilled halloumi (£6) to start. The bread (£3) was lovely with multiple types. I loved their thick, stodgy seeded loaf, whilst Sam loved the olive bread. The olive bread had the most generous portion of olives that I’ve ever seen in bread. The grilled halloumi in chermula was a thing of beauty. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Lovely chunks of halloumi dressed in a mint salsa served with freekah, pomegranate, roasted red onions, red peppers and harissa. I could have this dish over and over and over and never get tired of it. In fact, halfway through, I was a little jealous that I was actually sharing it with someone else instead of having the whole plate to myself.
For mains, I had the large Thai salad (£12 but it also comes in a starter size for £6). The Thai salad consisted of carrot, beetroot, mango, pak choi, bean sprouts, spring onions, mint and cashews with a Thai dressing. It was absolutely lovely and there was mounds of it. My favourite thing about it was that they didn’t scrimp on the portion of cashews. There were loads of them. And I said it first here, I love nuts. (No innuendo intended.) The salad left me feeling so satisfied, but it was also light so I didn’t feel that most-meal bloat that occasionally strikes me. Sam had the Middle Eastern platter (£13), which consisted of grilled pitta, baba ganoush, beetroot hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, lemon tahini, and dolmas. He had such a plethora of food before him that I felt it only fair to pick at some of his. His falafel was especially wonderful. The perfect balance of crisp on the outside and not too dry on the inside.
For dessert, we shared the pear and rhubarb crumble with creme anglaise (£6). This was the only part of the meal that I didn’t love. I felt like it wasn’t quite hot enough and there definitely wasn’t enough crumble in the crumble. But that’s just me being picky.
All in all, the meal was fabulous and the service was lovely; all the staff member were extremely helpful. I even witnessed a waiter help the table next to us navigate some really tricky food intolerances.
I’d go back in a heartbeat.
There are two locations: Hammersmith and Islington. I dined at the Islington branch: 370 St John Street, London EC1V 4NN
*This meal was courtesy of The Gate restaurant, but all opinions are my own. *