The Gate is a vegetarian restaurant with branches in Hammersmith & Islington. I visited the Hammersmith branch in June with a non-GF vegetarian friend who lives in France and finds the vegetarian options there fairly limited.
She was very excited to have a full menu to choose from, and found it hard to choose something (sounds like a coeliac with a gluten free menu!).
There were several options marked gluten free on the menu, which does change regularly. For the current menu, please look at their website.
I was excited to see polenta fries and sweet potato fries marked as gluten free, but unfortunately they are not suitable for coeliacs as they are fried in the same fryer as battered items. This reinforces the need to continually question gluten free menus. I was really disappointed about this because they are marked GF when they aren’t really, and also because I was given false hope! I wonder if this sort of problem will get resolved when the new EU allergen laws come into effect in December 2014?
Only two mains were gluten free and one was not available the night we visited. As the remaining option did not really appeal to me, I had a main size salad along with a starter.
For my first course I had the halloumi skewer, which was visually appealing and also tasted great, with a nice salsa and pesto dressing.
For my second course I had the ‘Caesar’ salad minus the croutons, but for a meat eater it did seem rather dull, as it was really just a huge pile of lettuce with some small squares of cheese, a few small pieces of avocado, quite a lot of olives and some cherry tomatoes. The croutons would have made it much more interesting, and I would suggest adding some more avocado to bulk it out a bit (particularly in the case of not being able to have the croutons).
In hindsight, I should have gone for the main I had avoided. In my glancing over the menu, I had wrongly assumed French beans were a kind of white bean (which I just didn’t feel like that night). A Google search has revealed they are just like a long green bean, which would have appealed.
Dessert was a selection of sorbets, which were presented nicely with some fresh berries added.
For my veggie friend, it was a great experience of choice and flavour, but for a coeliac there wasn’t as much choice as I had been hoping for (based on what I had heard via social media). Experiences will differ though, depending on the menu available at the time of visit. It had a nice atmosphere and the presentation was lovely, so I would try it again if I needed a good place for a vegetarian meal, but would just have a different main course next time!
If you are a vegetarian who visits France, please see my friend’s France Vegetarian website for ideas.
The Gate Vegetarian Restaurant
370 St John Street
Islington, North London
T: 0207 278 5483
51 Queen Caroline Street
Hammersmith, West London
T: 020 8748 6932