Brothers Adrian and Michael Daniel opened the second location of The Gate restaurant in Islington in 2012, while the original, in Hammersmith, underwent renovation. The two restaurants share not only a menu but a reputation for an inventive mixture of culinary influences.
With enormous bay windows that stretch to the high ceiling and an airy interior, the restaurant is surprisingly large in size. Tables are set closely together under low-hanging filament lights, and the arrangement generates a lively hum of conversation.
The seasonal à la carte menu acknowledges what the brothers describe as their ‘Indo-Iraqi Jewish’ heritage, threaded through Italian and French cuisine. The dishes are every bit as diverse as that implies. To start, you might find artichokes, halloumi, sesame-coated smoked tofu and a mezzo platter. The mains, to name a few: wild mushroom risotto cake, Malaysian curry and aubergine schnitzel. Make the most of the chunky polenta chips and other sides, and try a dessert if you can – they’re pretty special. There’s sticky toffee pudding, strawberry eaton mess, raw basil strawberry tart and more.
Alongside the à la carte menu, there are lunch options that celebrate Spanish and Arabic tastes, Sunday roasts and a children’s menu. Keep an eye out for special seasonal menus dedicated to a particular theme, such as The Gate’s annual wild mushroom festival.
There’s a good range of organic and vegan wines available, and a full cocktail menu.
On a typical weeknight, there’s rarely an empty table at The Gate. Book ahead to miss the waiting list and guarantee yourself a table at what is deservedly one of London’s most popular vegetarian restaurants.