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Published August 11th 2012
Vegetarian Delicacies through the Gate
the gate (logo courtesy of their website)
Earlier this year I wrote an article in praise of the gate restaurant in Hammersmith. That branch is closed for refurbishment until October this year, but you can still enjoy their delicious treats on the other side of London. The Islington branch of the gate opened at the beginning of June and is a perfect venue for lunch, dinner, a quick meal before visiting one of the local theatres or cinema, and even for a relaxing weekend brunch.
When the original Hammersmith branch opened in 1989 Adrian and Michael Daniel based their menus on their Indo-Iraqi Jewish heritage, with some Italian and French influences thrown in for good measure. This eclectic culinary mix was apparent in my 2 course set menu. I started with an avocado and spinach salad that was served with cherry tomatoes and croutons and served with its own blue cheese dressing. I could have asked for more, or even eaten it as a main course. The dressing was perfect and complimented the salad without being too tangy.
Avoado and Chicken Salad
My main course was a tagine of cauliflower, courgettes, butternut squash, French beans, dates and chickpeas with a serving of salad leaves. It was accompanied by an Israeli Pearl couscous salad and garnished with ribbons of sweet potato crisps. I wish they sold the crisps by the packet as I could have happily taken them away and carried on munching. I couldn't manage a pudding, but jugs of iced water are complimentary and freshly squeezed fruit juices are also available.
I was in and out within about 45 minutes, which was perfect as I was restricted on my time, but the restaurant was filling up with diners who were settling down for a meal with friends and family. The service was impeccable and fast, and nobody disturbed me to ask if I was enjoying my meal. I think my clean bowl and plate were enough evidence of that. It made a refreshing change to get away from my carnivore husband and eat what I wanted.
As it says on the tin, the gate is a vegetarian restaurant, but the menus clearly show which dishes are vegan, which can be adapted for vegans, and which are gluten free.