Dining out on a vegetarian diet isn't always easy, but life as a vegan throughout the last month has been ceaseless hard work.

While I spend a lot of my free time planning meals and meticulously creating a weekly shopping list, eating out is relentlessly simple – if I’m lucky I might get to choose between two different meals, if I’m unlucky I’m eating chips.  

The Gate vegetarian restaurants, which can be found in Islington, Marylebone and Hammersmith, brought a welcome relief during one of my now vegan date nights.

The menu, which is the same at each location, offers an inspiring array of vegan dishes and others which can be prepared as so.

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To start I had the miso glazed aubergine (£8), a half aubergine roasted and glazed with miso sauce, topped with toasted cashew nuts, coriander and ponzu sauce. It was succulent in a most unexpected way with the flesh falling apart and dripping with flavour.

My date had the three lentil pâté terrine (£7), made of red lentil with smoked paprika and sun dried tomato; green lentil with fresh sweet basil; beluga lentil and olive served with homemade red onion marmalade and crispy bread.

While being a little less decadent his managed to be the winner of the two, partly due to being far more satisfying than half an aubergine and partly due to the rich flavour of the pate countered with the textured crunch of the bread.

With so many options for our main course it took us a while to choose, I finally decided on the butternut squash rotolo (£15), a sage infused potato spiral lined with minced mushroom and served with smoked butter bean and courgette, roasted squash slices and maple parsnip puree.

The flavours were subtle and the textures were delicate, excluding the squash roasted almost like crisps. I wanted more of these and more of the puree, not because the amount was minimal but because these had the best flavour.

My other half went for the tortillas (£13) which were filled with black bean, sweet potato, sweetcorn, soft onion and coriander in a lightly spiced tomato sauce, with guacamole, green tomato and sweet pepper salsa.

This may not sound altogether elegant, but the elaborate presentation kept the tone high.

After asking for the dessert menu we placed bets between us on whether there would be many vegan options, as it prides itself on being vegetarian - not vegan - we were unsure of what to expect. We shouldn't have been.

On arrival I felt no need to read past the first line, vegan cheesecake (£7) made with cashew nuts, but noted that the majority were vegan or had the option to be.

The cheesecake was, unsurprisingly perhaps, very nutty in flavour which didn’t quite hit the spot I was hoping for, but the consistency was identical.

This dessert is a favourite of mine, but my partner’s banoffee pie undoubtedly won over my vegan alternative. The flavours and textures were heavenly regardless of the lack of dairy, allowing you to feel as indulged as any other dessert allows you to.

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I cannot fault the food, it was the finest of meat and dairy-free dining, but I have to fault the prices.

When you strip away the restaurant experience you are paying £8 for half a vegetable, or £13 to have something well-presented that can be found in fast food chains.

This leaves me torn, I cannot say I wouldn’t go back but the prices will never sit well with me. If you choose to think that you are paying to eat at a lovely restaurant and receive impeccable service then you get what you pay for, without a doubt.

Details: thegaterestaurants.com