The Gate (Islington, London)

Although The Gate's been around as long as I can remember, its infamous status amongst vegans (lack of options) and location out in the sticks (Zone 2!) have kept me from trying. The menu on their website's done nothing to make vegans think otherwise, although it's slightly more inviting than Vanilla Black's open policy of not catering for vegans at all without prior notice.

Now that they've opened a branch in Zone 1 (just!) I thought it was worth the risk - I'm pleased to say it was. Not only did they have a much larger vegan selection (all set menu items were either v or vo) but the food wasn't bad either. It could be slightly more adventurous dessert wise, but that's a complaint that I have of a lot of vegetarian places. Food at restaurants' meant to be more adventurous than you'd make at home (for a fraction of the price), surely?

Their main courses aren't cheap so I went with their reasonably priced 2 course set menu (£12.50, as opposed to over £20 if bought separately), bread and dessert from the standard menu:
Basket of Bread £3

Sweet Corn, red pepper & chipotle chillies soup v g
Served with tortilla chips.

Corn cake v g
corn & polenta,pan-friend & seasoned with chilli,coriander & thyme,served with roasted aubergine, tomato,sweet potato
served with a red pepper & black bean salsa (their punctuation not mine!)

Apple & calvados crumble vo £5.50
Served with creme anglais or vegan vanilla ice cream
Service was friendly but if anything slightly over efficient (a first!) - plates whisked away within seconds of the last mouthful.

As a self confessed carb-o-holic the bread was very good indeed - even the rye bread lurking beneath was tasty. The starter was equally good:

The tortilla chips tasted home made (suitably fatty without being oily); the soup fresh and well seasoned. It was *almost* as good as Veggie World's sweetcorn soup (almost) - I'd return just for this dish.

Main course looked promising, but didn't deliver for me in way of taste and enjoyment. I wanted to like something looking this beautiful, but the corn cake wasn't crispy and stack of veg not quite delicious enough.

Desserts were fruit based, but it was good to see vegan icecream other than Swedish Glace (or Swedish Glace in disguise, MannaV):

I couldn't taste the calvados, the crumble layer was too thin and the fruit still a bit too al dente for my liking. The syrup was a good addition though - overall it was pretty average.

With a reasonable number of vegan options available and the bar set high by my starter, I'll certainly return. It's not gone instantly into my top 10, but I'm hopeful of finding other good dishes there in the future.


  1. I found your blog because you have a link to mine (veganflick) on your blog list - thanks for this!!! I love your blog! I'm looking forward to visiting my sister in London and trying out all of the places you've reviewed :)

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