Last weekend I went to visit The Gate in St Johns Wood to taste Ken Hom’s vegan menu and I had such a lovely time. I was lucky enough to meet Ken Hom himself, someone I have admired for as long as I can remember.
I am tea total so I had a ginger spritz, to begin with, and continued with this through the meal, there is something about ginger-based drinks whilst eating I find very comforting. I would recommend to anyone who may suffer from digestion issues as it has helped me a great deal.
We had some olives and olive bread with baba ganoush to start. The smokiness of the aubergines was delicious and welcomed on this cold day.
The options to starters all sounded delicious but with a long period of procrastination, I finally opted for the Crispy Rice Paper Asparagus Roll which was served with spring onions, tomato and coriander and chive hollandaise.
The other options were the Daoist Braised Chinese Mushrooms in Shaoxing rice wine, with bean curd, garlic and chill and stir-fried cucumber and watermelon served with a spicy salsa of black beans, garlic, spring onions, ginger and chilli.
When it came to the mains, my eye was instantly drawn to the Buddhist Casserole
with Chinese leaves, courgettes, red peppers, broccoli, yellow bean and plum sauce, I thought this would be a warming dish, perfect for this time of year. It didn’t disappoint, it came with a well-presented bundle of rice that when I plonked into the casserole made for a very yummy carb boost.
The alternatives to this were the Oriental Ratatouille with Chinese silk squash, aubergine, carrots, water chestnuts and Thai basil served with spring onion and ginger polenta waffles. I am aware as I am typing this that this sounds like a lot of aspects to one dish but the presentation was so clean and it looked delicious. I particularly liked the colour and flavour combinations, and that it was a purely Asian dish but showcased more of the fusion that we would expect to see from the collaboration.
Lastly and sadly, this was the only dish I did not photograph and it is a shame because it was presented so well, the Vegetable Spring Rolls with Curried Vegetables
with Chinese mushrooms, served on crispy lettuce leaves and black bean chilli dip. I would have ordered this if I had known what it looked like but I am still happy I chose the dish I did as it was very tasty, bursting with umami flavours.
For dessert, I had seen a dish being served and I asked the waiter what the dish with the ‘pink shards’ was, which lead me to order the Poached Banana in Plum Wine with sweet noodle crisp, black Tahini and candied ginger, this was by far one of the tasty desserts I have had in a long time. The black tahini was simply genius across this dish. This was the stand out plate to me – and I don’t even have a particularly sweet tooth, it was so well balanced. I am salivating as I type!
We had a serving of the mango and basil Compôte in the middle of the table for us to all taste and bit with vanilla ice cream and blood orange glaze this was a very sweet dish, not perhaps for my palate probably because I had already eaten my dessert too but nicely balanced with the basil.
The chocolate mousse with Chinese five spices and liquorice crème Chantilly looked absolutely spectacular. I didn’t get a chance to taste this dish but it looked so beautiful, a semisphere of chocolate filled with chocolate mousse.
After a round of teas and coffees, it was time to say goodbye to the wonderful ladies I had dined with and there was just time to be presented with a signed book from Ken Hom himself, which I was most chuffed with as I made my way back to the tube station.