A third branch of London's veggie veteran The Gate opened in December 2016.
Harden's survey result
“Standards remain high” at Michael and Adrian Daniel’s “veggie stalwart” chain – in particular at the W6 original in a “convivial”, offbeat building south of Hammersmith Broadway, which some consider “the best vegetarian in town” thanks to “inventive” food that’s “wow-amazing… even for a committed carnivore”. Its spring 2019 opening in St John’s Wood is also going down well – launching as the second highest scoring member of the group with “a fabulous and very varied selection of vegan and vegetarian food”. The W1 operation in Seymour Village and EC1 branch near Sadler’s Wells are slightly less highly rated, but the tenor of practically all reports hails “thoughtful and tasty fare, catering to a range of dietary requirements”.
Bravos abound for the “superb” dishes (“imaginative and ambitious conceptions whose flavours make non-vegetarians desist from any pity about a lack of meat!”) at these accomplished veggies, which in recent years have added outlets in Seymour Village and Sadler’s Wells to the “legendary”, long-standing original (just south of Hammersmith Broadway). “However, quality of service and staff response can be variable” at all branches, and this is most particularly the case at W1, which needs to “up its game” generally, not least its cooking, as a number of regulars discern “a big drop in standards since it opened”.
“I’m not a veggie but this was one of the best meals I’ve had in the last year” – typical praise for these “ingenious” veggies, which offer “an unmatched range of such accomplished dishes, beautifully sourced and expertly presented”. From the “lovely hidden-gem original in Hammersmith” (behind the Hammy-O), they added a similarly “top notch” branch in trendy Seymour Place this year. Islington is probably the weakest performer of the three – “it’s let down by a noisy environment” – but even so it’s “decent and very handy for Sadlers Wells”.
“Still producing exceptional veggie dishes after 25 years” – “the best in town” – this popular duo are “a good advertisement for meat-free food, proving it can be interesting and full of flavour”. The original – an intriguing “converted artists’ loft” that’s “hidden away” behind Hammersmith Odeon – is “splendid in an area devoid of decent restaurants”, while its younger sibling is “really convenient for Sadler’s Wells”.