The Gate vegetarian restaurant – http://www.thegate.tv/ – where M&M took me for a birthday meal.
The building, a former church, is lovely – there’s an enormous painting taking up most of the end wall, repeated on the stairs, of Marx addressing a huge crowd of trades unionists in a warehouse – the point of view is behind and slightly below him.
The food came in what appeared to be distressingly small portions which turned out to be perfect.
First I had japanese vegetables wrapped in wilted lettuce for £5.50:
julienne carrot, red peppers, mange-tout & shiitake mushrooms rolled with garlic, ginger, coriander & toasted sesame seeds in romanian lettuce, served with pink ginger, wasabi & a miso dressing.
It was good, but on retrospect, where was the wasabi?
Next I had a mushroom fricassee over a jerusalem artichoke and potato mash – £13.00.
sauteed girolles, horse mushrooms & pied-de-mouton in a marsala wine sauce, served with baby fennel, turnips & carrots, & jerusalem artichoke mash.
This was too salty, drowning the flavour of the mushrooms, and none too hot.
Finally, from a small choice of vegan desserts, I had an apple and rhubarb strudel with sorbet (again £5.50) – this doesn’t appear on the Web menu. I really should have been offered vegan custard or ice-cream – instead I had to ask forwhat turned out to be sorbet in place of the advertised creme fraiche (maybe they have a problem with soya). The filo pastry seemed not to have any fat in it – quite startlingly similar to nearly-charred paper (I know because I left my camera manual on top of the log burner at New Year). But the filling was alright (though better on taste than texture, which was uniform) and the fruit garnish was fun to pick at.
Don’t think The Gate really delivered that night, but there are other dishes on the menu I’d like to try. I’ve had consistently better, more creative food at Manna, but I’ll certainly return.