Happy Saturday everyone! What are your plans for today? I’m currently on route to Ingleton for a weekend of walking and waterfalls! No doubt many of you will have weekend plans which involve going out for dinner, whether that’s a date night, girls and cocktails or Sunday lunch tomorrow.
One of the things that makes me feel most uncomfortable about having gone vegan, is how much other people worry about what you are going to eat when you go out for a meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I have friends and family that care enough to make sure I’m well fed, but I hate being the reason people can’t concentrate on what they want to order because they are too busy worrying that there isn’t anything for me to order.
Truth be told, in most decent restaurants (ie. not chain pubs) it’s actually pretty easy for me to find something to eat, but I can see why this might be hard for other people to understand. Of course the best place for me to eat is a restaurant dedicated to vegetarian food, but unfortunately these aren’t always the easiest places to convince meat eating friends to go to.
And with good reason. So many vegetarian restaurants, or vegan eateries, let all the best things about eating out fall to the way side. It’s so rare to find a vegetarian cafe where the food isn’t only delicous but the decor is delectable too. Esepcially up north, in London town you do have a few more options.
One of these options is The Gate in Islington.
It’s a lot easier to convince meat eating friends to eat at a vegetarian restaurant if it looks good, but what really maters is the food. Because when you’re the one who suddenly has a whole menu of food to choose from, and your sat with none veggie friends, suddenly you’re in their shoes, and you’re worrying about what they are going to eat. Of course everything on the menu sounds delicous to me, but is it going to sound delicous to the guy who eats fried chicken once a day?
Luckily, at The Gate, the answer is yes. On it’s ‘A’ board outside, The Gate boasts a review which says ‘The Gate isn’t a good vegetarian restaurant, it’s just a good restaurant’ and that sums it up in a single sentence what I am likely to spend this whole blog post doing!
The decor is modern, open and very clean looking, the staff are friendly, informed, and seat you to your table in that ‘we’re in a proper restaurant’ manner that makes the difference between grabbing something to eat while you’re out, and going out for dinner.
The menu, while having a good range of dishes to choose from, wasn’t so big you felt like they were trying to cover everything instead of doing any one thing well. Which isn’t something that can always be said about a place that has mexican and thai food on the menu, but I can say from personal experience that when it came to those two cullinary influences, they’d pretty much nailed it. I went for the thai curry which was very clearly labelled as being vegan and my friends went for a trio of wraps which included, beetroot, goats cheese and sweet potato (again this could have been made vegan if you asked) and after the obligatory ‘oh my gosh this looks amazing lets take a photo’ moment we all devoured our main course. And the side of polenta chips that we ordered to go with it. And, for that matter, the second side of polenta chips we ordered after the first lot ran out. My thai curry was delicous, creamy and fragrant, and my friends both loved their wraps. Not a single person mentioned the C word (chicken). In fact my friends were so full they passed up on pudding. I, however, did not.
Using the excuse (as if I needed one) that I so rarely have the option of a vegan chocolate torte that it would be foolish to say no. Besides the more people who demand vegan pudding, the more places that will start to supply it right?
Now forgive me, because it’s been a couple of weeks since my visit to The Gate, but I can’t remember exactly what my dessert was called (and I’m a rubbish blogger who doesn’t get around to doing reviews when they happen) but it was essentially a chocolate mouse, with black cherries, on a base of crushed nuts and dates. And it was to die for. Which naturally is the most important thing to remember when reviewing dessert.
We all left feeling full to the brim on good food, but not feeling sickly, which for me, is one of the best things about eating vegan. The Gate isn’t cheap but a main meal was no more than you would expect to pay in any other restaurant where the food is freshly prepared, the staff know what they are talking about and the none alcoholic cocktails are so good you kind of feel drunk afterwards. It treads the line between being just a little too expensive to pop in for a bite to eat, but not so expensive that you need it to be a special occassion to book a table! Having said that, it is in London and I am Northern, so I’d use the word reasonably priced, and expect some one to tell me, actually for that area it’s a bargain!
I’d definitely recommend The Gate to any foodie, whether your vegan, veggie, or fully fledged carnivore, and I hope other places start to take note of restaurants like this which encourage other vegetarian places to up their game, and show none vegetarian restaurants that the veggie option doesn’t always have to be some cheese based pasta dish or a quiche.
Have you ever been to The Gate? Or do you have a favourite restaurant which just so happens to be vegetarian? If you do let me know, I’m always looking for recommendations!
Live life & eat your greens x