The Gate, Marylebone: Pioneer of Plant-based Food
Mark Bibby Jackson visits The Gate, Marylebone to sample the most wonderful food which just happens to be plant-based.
One of the most significant trends in the global restaurant scene in recent years has been the development of plant-based cuisine. Whether it is for ethical or health reasons, or concerns about the impact of the food industry on global heating, many people have decided to change their dietary habits. However, one factor remains paramount when considering where to dine and that is the quality of the product.
The Gate, Maylebone : Pioneer of Plant-based Food
Established by Michael Daniel in Hammersmith in 1989, The Gate has always been at the forefront of the capital’s vegetarian food scene, and has proved so popular that sister restaurants have opened in Marylebone, St John’s Wood and Islington, although the latter is currently closed for refurbishment.
I hadn’t yet tried the Marylebone branch, and was keen to sample its autumn harvest menu, deciding to give the restaurant the ultimate challenge of convincing one of my oldest friends, whose default food option is a steak.
The Marylebone venue, located on fashionable Seymour Place, features a buzzy bar, a minimalist, open dining room and outside space for dining. We settled ourselves in a corner to peruse the menu, while our excellent waiting staff Nadia brought us some water.
The Gate Marylebone Menu
I started with a Jerusalem artichoke and truffle oil purée with pickled globe artichoke, smoked baby artichoke and crispy skins, while my carnivorous guest opted for the avocado and beetroot tartare with a punchy Lilliput caper, shallot and cider vinaigrette.
There was no need for me to fear. As soon as the dishes arrived, perfectly presented it was clear that my dinner guest, who confessed to loving beetroot, was hooked.
My three-flavours artichoke was a perfection of different flavours, and most importantly for me, textures. I loved the crispy baby artichoke skins that expertly juxtaposed the creamy purée. My friend was equally impressed with his fare.
Wild Mushroom Festival
The Gate is currently running a Wild Mushroom Festival, with a special four-course menu for £55 per person on Sunday 31 October in Marylebone. Booking is essential. The restaurant’s menu also includes a wild mushroom risotto cake that my friend opted for, while I chose the aubergine schnitzel layered with Applewood smoked cheddar, basil pesto, roasted red peppers and plum tomatoes, which was served with dauphinoise potatoes, sautéed kale, and finished with a horseradish cream sauce.
I gave up eating meat many years ago, and one of the things that I hate about some modern ‘vegetarian’ foods is there faux-meat status. So, I was slightly concerned about ordering an aubergine schnitzel, even though the vegetable is my favourite. Fortunately, there was nothing faux about the aubergine. This was no vegetable masquerading as meat, but an adaptation of a dish that you would traditionally associate with meat. The ‘meaty’ vegetable suited the dish extremely well, although I found myself enjoying the perfect and light dauphinoise potatoes even more.
My dinner companion thought the wild mushroom risotto was excellent. I can certain vouchsafe for the polenta chips he chose to accompany it, a few of which somehow managed to migrate to my plate.
At this stage we were starting to flag, the generous helpings had proved more than sufficient. However we still had plenty of our bottle of red – a Shiraz-Viognier mix – to finish, so we decided to opt for desserts; a honey and thyme pudding for me and a Baileys cheesecake for my friend. The latter he described as the best cheesecake he had ever tasted, a sentiment he foolishly echoed to his partner upon returning home later that night.
A resounding success, and thirty years on from its origins in Hammersmith, The Gate shows no sign of relenting in its pioneering approach to plant-based food.
The Gate also serves a weekend brunch menu at Marylebone and St John’s Wood, served from 10am to 4pm, features dishes of the likes of Mexican breakfast staple huevos rancheros, handpicked wild mushroom and avocado omelette and signature banana and berry pancakes.
The Gate, Marylebone
T: 020 7833 0401
Monday – Friday: 12pm – 9:30; Saturday – Sunday: 10am – 9:30 pm (last order)