Monday 28 April 2014

tibits Restaurant: Review

I have heard a lot about tibits Vegetarian Restaurant in Heddon Street, London, and so when I was invited to review the restaurant, I was excited to go along and experience a meal. 

Set in the heart of Regent Street's food quarter, tibits is located just off the hustle and bustle of the shopping quarter, and so is a great hide away to grab a bite to eat. A popular hangout for Vegetarians and Vegans alike, tibits attracts a wide and varied clientele, which is evident when you visit. They have also just won Cook Vegetarians "Best Restaurant" award - which is a great accolade to have.

tibits is an informal dining experience, which gives the flexibility to "eat and run" or stay a while and enjoy the surroundings. You typically find your own table, and you can eat inside or outside. The evening that we visited, it was Vegan Night, which occurs every ten days (check the website for info).

As we were reviewing the restaurant, we were greeted by the manager, Antony, who explained how the restaurant works. We were surprised to find that tibits actually offers Buffet style dining. The idea is that you pay per 100 grams of food. You then go and help yourself to the food buffet which is located on the " Food Boat" in the centre of the restaurant. The buffet contained hot and cold offerings, with salad and other things also including Tabouleh, Guacamole, Chickpeas, Onion Rings, Potato Wedges and so much more. The idea is that you fill your plate with whatever you fancy, and then pay for your plate at the bar, based on its weight. You can view a sample menu here.

One good thing about visiting a Vegetarian Restaurant is that I know I can always eat anything and everything on offer. Antony explained that the thinking behind the buffet idea is that often, when you order from a menu, you don't know what is going to arrive and whether it will be the same as described on the menu. Vegetarians and vegans have a hard enough time trying to decipher menus and deciding if it is ok to eat or not, and if they will like it or not like it. With a buffet style offering, at least you can make a decision about whether you actually want the dish based on seeing and smelling it, rather than trying to guess if you will like it from the menu.

My plate, when it was weighed came to around seventeen pounds - equating to around 850 grams of food. The price is between £2.30 and £2.60 per 100 grams of food. For me, there are huge plus points to this, however, the down side is that if you fill your plate a bit too much, then you end up paying more than perhaps you would have liked to, as there is no way to tell how much you will be paying until you go to the counter. I would have liked perhaps the ability to have different sized plates, or to be able to weigh the plate yourself as you go, so you know whether you want to add more to the plate or not - this was the only down side to the restaurant - that you don't know how much you will be paying, and for me, I prefer to know in advance. Having said that, the food was all extremely delicious, I enjoyed every single thing that I ate. Everything was cooked and prepared fresh, and you could really tell that the quality of the food was absolutely fantastic, so I guess that you get what you pay for, and on this part of London, I guess that you expect to pay more. Plus on top of that it was healthy, and food which is good for you, and leaves you feeling energetic, rather than feeling sluggish and over full when you leave the restaurant.

There is also a great Pudding Buffet which works in the same way as the main course buffet, and so once our food had gone down, hubby and I went and chose a dessert. As we were eating towards the end of service, they had run out of quite a few things, but there was still a few good things to choose from. The Vegan Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was the house special and a permanent fixture on the buffet was absolutely delicious - it tasted really rich, but had a fantastic fluffy sponge. However, the star of the evening had to be the Vegan Panacotta. Light and airy, yet really rich and full of flavour. Filled with cherries and berries, you would never have known that the Panacotta was Vegan, and the cream was made using soya milk. We were seriously impressed with how good the Vegan food was, hubby (the meat eater) said he was surprised that everything was Vegan and so amazing.

As well as food, the restaurant also sells freshly made juice drinks, hot drinks and soft drinks, and alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails.

We were trying to decide what the decor felt like and we couldn't really come to a conclusion as it was just so different to what we had seen before. We loved the atmosphere of the restaurant - it was really lively and vibrant. We also really liked the fact that there was a kids corner where kids could play - a nice touch. I would definitely recommend a visit to tibits. Although perhaps a little pricier than what I am used to, one has to remember that this establishment is situated right off of regent street in London and so "London prices" apply. We paid £58 for two mains, two desserts, and two soft drinks each, which works out to around £28 per person - not extortionate. Plus the added bonus is that the food was not processed or cooked from frozen - a big plus in my books. I think it would be a great restaurant to visit for meat eaters and Vegetarians/Vegans alike, as there is something for everyone. I can't wait to go back for another visit!!

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