The Gate | Creative vegetarian food | Islington

I’m on a mission to find the best vegetarian food in London. Mainly because Ophélie of Cross my Heart and Hope to Die always finds good excuses to visit London (and also because I like looking for the best restaurants and vegetarian ones are usually quite creative and therefore, inspiring).

We had been to Mildred’s last time she visited (and I’m still so so much in love with the place, its staff and its basil mayo). This time, we decided to keep exploring and went to The Gate, which is known for its international dishes and its inventiveness.

What I wasn’t prepared for though, was how beautiful the place actually is! Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonCake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonHigh ceilings and well stock bar: always a winning combination!

We ordered a few starters to share. First up were the Mediterranean Peppers.Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonFilled with an artichoke & hazelnut paste, and served with tapenade and pesto, this dish was basically the sun on a plate. The peppers themselves were melty and artichoke paste had a very delicate, slightly sweet flavour, which worked really well against the stronger flavours of the accompaniments.

Our second starter was the Three Onion Tart.Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonThe tart itself was absolutely flawless: thin, cheesey, flakey pastry covered with a smooth, creamy, leek-ey filling. I wasn’t as much of a fan of the caramelized red onion sauce, which was slightly too sweet for my taste. Much better was the pesto oil, with brought clean, fresh flavours balancing perfectly the creaminess of the tart.

For mains, we were tempted to order the whole lot, but ended up being more reasonable and got only one each! Ophélie went for the Wild Mushroom RisottoCake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonNot only did it look spectacular, but it was also delicious! The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and the risotto rich and creamy. So was the sauce, but with the rocket salad with lemon dressing, it worked fairly well  all together and wasn’t overly rich. It might have been missing this little touch that made me go all “wow” though…

I got the Broccoli Flower Ravioli (which was really more of a gyoza-type thing!)Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonEven a week after having eaten that, I’m still not entirely sure what to think about it. I really, really loved the wasabi and pumpkin puree (definitely an idea I’ll try to make my own version of as it was both delicious and surprising!), but the aubergine and water chesnut salsa was a bit too gooey and the ravioli were a bit dry since they were filled mainly with broccoli…

The winner dish though? *THAT* Aubergine Schnitzel!Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonSilky-smooth grilled aubergines, layered with smoked cheddar, pesto, roasted red peppers and tomatoes. SO GOOD! At some point, there were as many as 7 plates of those babies on the pass, so I think it’s fair to say we weren’t the only ones thinking they were ace!Cake + Whisky | Vegetarian food at The Gate IslingtonWe also got polenta fries with aioli, which were good, but maybe a bit too big to eat in any kind of classy way. The aioli was good (fairly garlic-ey, but you already know that’s a good thing in my (French) book…).

After that feast, we were pretty full so skipped dessert and headed for cocktails instead (keep your eyes pealed, cocktail-porn coming soon to this blog!).

What: An international menu of vegetarian dishes where everyone should find something they like (yes, yes, even the carnivorous!). Bit of a hit-or-miss in terms of dishes, but if you’re not sure what to get, just go for the Aubergine Schnitzel, you won’t regret it!

How much: It doesn’t come REALLY cheap but it’s not crazy expensive either. We ended up paying about £20 each. Without dessert or drinks though (as we were heading for cocktails…).

Where: The Gate, 370 Saint John Street, London EC1V 4NN

The Gate | Creative vegetarian food | Islington