The London home of Swiss-owned vegetarian restaurant group Tibits is tucked away in Heddon Street, a pretty pedestrianised lane behind Regent Street packed with restaurants that spill out onto the pavement. We enjoyed mint tea and mixed fruit juices (the Tutti Frutti mixture of orange, apple, pear, kiwi, banana and sea buckthorn syrup got a big thumbs up) by a large open picture window looking out at ornamental ferns and hanging baskets and felt that summer had finally arrived.
Tibits has a novel buffet-style self-service approach, with food priced by the 100g (£2.30 at lunch, £2.60 at dinner – the plate shown cost just under £10). You fill your plate as many times as you like from the vast array of salads, hot savoury dishes and sweets on the food ‘boat’, and each time have your plate weighed at the bar where you can order from a tantalising range of cocktails and juices as well as the usual hot drinks, wine and beer. We visited on a special vegan day when everything on the boat was free of animal products, but well over half the regular menu is vegan (and clearly labelled) all year round.
The danger with any buffet or mezze approach is the temptation to try everything regardless of how well flavours fit together, but we were greedy and couldn’t resist. We tried hummus and baba ganoush (unusually dense with a heavy dose of tahini) with tasty falafel, Italian style vegetable and pasta salads and a fresh bean curd tricolore, light okra fritters, chirashi sushi rice with dainty vegetables, seaweed and sesame, and delicate wakame noodles with sea vegetables.
Helen would have liked a bit more citrus and seasoning in her guacamole, but loved the dahl salad and we were impressed with a flavour-packed dried green bean salad. For me, the stand-outs were the South-East Asian style dishes, and the chef has an impressive ability to serve light tofu dishes that are full of flavour yet still delicate and not heavily cooked or loaded with salt. We both especially enjoyed the refreshing Thai tofu and melon salad.
Desserts included the traditional wholefood staples Bircher muesli and carrot halwa along with fruit, sponge puddings (served cold, but the hot selection is soon to be expanded to include pudding), fresh fruit and a mango soya cream.
Sadly, our glorious summer day didn’t last the course and my afternoon shopping trip turned decidedly soggy. Perhaps I left the sun behind in Heddon Street?
Heddon Street ltd
12-14 Heddon Street
off Regent Street
London W1B 4DA
Phone +44 (0)207 758 4112
Fax +44 (0)207 734 0428
Fuss Free Flavours was the guest of Tibits