So, what of the food. The menu isn't huge, with a selection of about half a dozen or so dishes in each section of the menu. However, to a vegetarian used to scouring menus to find the single dish they can eat, this is heaven! The only problem is, with such delights on the starter menu as butternut squash tart, fig and goats cheese galette and stuffed baby artichokes, what does one choose?
Sweetcorn Fritters with spring onions, coriander and lime leaves, served with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.
Thai Salad - Green mango, paw paw, mouli, beansprouts, baby corn, mange-tout, coriander, mint with a thai dressing and peanuts.
Fig and Goats Cheese with caramelised onion on a puff pastry galette.
Sweet potato and pomegranite salad with tahini and saffron dressing.
Carciofini - baby artichokes stuffed with dolcelatte and wild mushroom fried in crispy beer batter.
It was all really nice, but special mention must go to the figs, artichokes and the Thai salad, all of which were outstanding.
So, onto the main courses. My Denis Cotter cookery book is based on recipes used for the Café Paradiso restaurant in Cork. One of my faves is cous-cous encrusted aubergine filled with a cream cheese and chilli mix. So imagine my surprise to find it on the menu of the Gate.
My wife decided that she would try it and compare it to the one I make. She said that it tasted different to mine, not better or worse which was very diplomatic and guaranteed me handing her train ticket back for the journey home. I tried it and she was right. And it was really nice too. The dish consisted of two slices of aubergine sandwiched around a spicy cream cheese and coriander filling which was then coated with spicy cous-cous and fried.
I chose a rotolo, which is roasted red pepper, grilled courgette and asparagus, smoked mozzarella rolled in thyme infused potato. It was like a very large sushi roll or roulade and tasted quite nice, but not as good as the aubergine.
There was a daily pasta dish on the menu which I tend to feel was a bit of a cop out, as it seemed to be a fairly standard dish of penne with sundried tomatoes. There was also a lasagne on the menu which, although it was presented really nicely, seems fairly unadventurous for what is generally mooted as London's top vegetarian restaurant.
The food at The Gate is definitely a cut above the veggie food available at most "normal" restaurants, however it could do with just a tiny bit more imagination and flair to show how good veggie food can really be.