MUST DO: £12 set lunch menu, Bull & Gate

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Good value cooking abounds in chef Beth DeLeon’s weekday-only menu


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The dining room. Photo: PR
The dining room. Photo: PR
We are rather partial to The Bull & Gate’s quite dramatic dining room – and yet for some reason don’t really hang out there as much as we’d like. There’s an awful lot of choice around these days, right?

But head chef Beth DeLeon, who’s previously worked at The Spurstowe in London Fields and the Lord Palmerston in NW5, has created a two-course £12 lunch menu that’s piqued our curiosity. It’s a concise list: just three starters, three mains (and three desserts, if that’s your thing). But is it any good?

Smoked aubergine labneh. Photo: SE
Smoked aubergine labneh. Photo: SE
In short, yes. Meat-dodgers will rave about a green pea soup that is velvety, with a swirl of crème fraiche and dash of mint to lift its earthy flavours. The other vegetarian dish, a main of smoked aubergine (right), is a vehicle for a complex and heady load of creamy labneh, rich kale and hazelnut pesto, refreshing pomegranate seeds, crisp radish and pencil-shaving slices of coconut. Phew. It’s textural and filling, to boot.

Wild garlic-crusted hake, the flesh opaque and light-as-air, is served with herb butter sauce, cute cubes of purple fir potatoes and a sticky mound of crushed peas.

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Creamy and rough-chopped: salmon tartare. Photo: Beth DeLeon
Creamy and rough-chopped: salmon tartare. Photo: Beth DeLeon
Best of all is a starter of rosy-pink salmon tartare: perfectly room temperature, it’s creamy and rough-chopped, matched by the prickly heat of ginger and a spike heel of wasabi in the aioli. It’s the kind of plate that makes you want to order another there and then.

Desserts are fine, but with way less wow-factor – and a little on the large side (for us, anyway). Nonetheless, ginger pudding with caramel ice cream, or a warm chocolate brownie, will woo the sweet-of-tooth.

So, our advice? Stick to the two-course savoury set and this has to be the best value ‘must do’ lunch in Kentish Town.

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Monday-Thursday, 12pm – 3pm: 2 courses – £12; 3 courses – £16. The Bull & Gate, 389 Kentish Town Road NW5

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