Birthday Weekend Part 1

Saturday, 28 September 2013

I told you yesterday that I wanted to share the wonderful birthday weekend Daniel had planned for me with you. On the Friday (my actual birthday), he took me to my favourite restaurant in the whole wide world: The Gate. It's a vegetarian restaurant, but trust me it's just amazing food, which both vegetarian and meat-eating people agree on. All their dishes are just perfectly balanced, and as a food critic said "The Gate have turned vegetables into chic little explosions of taste". I've been in love with their food ever since I first went there. They had been refurbishing their first restaurant for a while, but it just reopened, so I was especially pleased to go back to the place where my love story with the Gate started.
Unfortunately the photos don't do the food any justice, because it was pretty dark, but you know just to give you an idea.
No photo, but I started with a Raspberry-Pear juice, which was just sooo tasty and elegant and as smooth as velvet, definitely the most comforting drink I've ever had!
From the food descriptions, you'll be able to get an idea of how beautifully composed all the dishes are! There's always so many components that end up causing a taste explosion in your mouth when combined (they're pretty good on their own too!)

For starters, Daniel had the Mediterranean vegetable tart: Red pepper, courgette, and slow dried tomato baked with crème fraiche in a cheese pastry served with leaves, pesto dressing and olive tapenade.

Oh my word was this delicious!

I don't know how it's even possible, but I think mine might have even been a nuance more delicious. I know I know, how can it get even better than that? Wait for it:

I went for the filled courgette flower: filled with fava been, feta cheese, mint and pine nuts cooked in a crispy batter with puy lentil salsa and preserved lemon aioli.

I'm not even going to attempt to describe to you how this tasted, it was so sensational, there are no words, you literally have to go and try it!

Moving on to mains. Daniel had an 'oh my word again there cannot be words to describe how comforting this felt in my mouth" Wild Mushroom Risotto cake: served with sauté girolles, pied de mouton, oyster and paris brown, with cep reduction and finished with rocket and Twineham grange shavings in truffle dressing. I think this might have actually been one of the best things I've ever tasted!

I had a spicy corn and polenta cake: seasoned with chili, coriander and thyme, pan-fried and served with sweet potato, grilled aubergine, oven-dried tomato and spiced pickled fennel, finished with red pepper, black bean salsa and coriander and lime dressing.

Potentially the weakest dish of the evening, but still a whole world better than any food outside of the Gate :). If you do go there, I recommend that along with the risotto cake, you also get the root vegetable rotolo: parsnip, swede and celeriac wrapped in thyme-infused potato topped with dolcelatte cheese, served with french beans, peppercorn and coarse-grain mustard sauce and finished with sweet potato crisps. I haven't had this one in particular before, but I've tried two or three different variations of their Rotolo, and have always been loving it. They're AMAZING!!

We also shared a portion of Polenta chips with garlic aioli, which you know, were just necessary ;)

Unfortunately there wasn't a single dessert without nuts when we went which was a little upsetting. But again if you do go, I'd like to make a recommendation anyway: their crème brûlées are just insanely good! I've had their earl grey one and also their lavender one and both were super tasty.

All in all a pretty wonderful start to my birthday weekend, wouldn't you say?

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