With foodie advice changing by the day, let’s face it, we’re all mightily confused as to what is actually healthy for us to consume. One type of food that there is no doubt around is, of course, the humble vegetable – we all know they are healthy for us. But how do you make them the star attraction of your dinner table, rather than the mere second-thought accompaniment?
Of course, vegetarians and vegans have long mastered this problem and now, catering to them (and they hope non-vegetarians alike), is Tibits – a little eaterie gem found on Heddon Street.
The modern vegetarian restaurant, tucked away off Regent Street is actually a Swiss brand, with roots traceable back to the Hiltls family, who pioneered vegetarianism over a century ago in Zurich. Four generations later, the Hiltls teamed up with entrepreneurial brothers Reto, Christian and Daniel Frei to create Tibits restaurant. Now, 15 successful years on, with eight vegetarian and vegan restaurants across London and Switzerland, it aims to reshape and modernise the vegetarian restaurant scene.
I’m loathe to use the word buffet, but, well, that’s the concept here – albeit an elevated version and it works. Staff explain the concept as you enter and you fill your plate from a huge variety of healthy (and that’s not to say they are not tasty) dishes. You pay according to the weight of your plate (there are also take away boxes available) and you get a complimentary roll or French bread with your meal.
There’s a whole range of dishes on offer here – from deep-fried mozzarella to slaw salads, from Lebanese wild rice to Beetroot humous – with menus changing with the seasons. Every Tuesday dishes are exclusively vegan. At the moment, the Winter Menu is on offer, with up to 40 vegetarian and vegan salads, hot and cold dishes and desserts, with everything freshly made, by hand, several times a day. Using seasonal and where possible local ingredients, Tibits is also mindful where they source their produce. With that in mind, their carbon footprint is 60% less than the average of other restaurants, which means every tibits meal saves on average saving of one kilogram of CO2 emissions.
It’s a lovely spot to hang out with a charming, boutique-style decor (think pretty prints on wallpaper, quirky chandeliers and muted tones on velvet seating). It also goes a long way to prove that vegetarian eating can be exciting and packed full of flavour – recipes have been sourced from the Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia. I’m a convert.
Check out the new Tibits cookbook Vegan Love Story, (£27 published by New Internationalist, available in the restaurant and Amazon).
Tibits modern vegetarian restaurant
12-14 Heddon St, London W1B 4DA