Discover fine food fusion with tibits restaurant/bar in London
Posted Mar 31 2010 1:32pm
Tucked away in a leafy corner just off London’s Regent Street, tibits is a revolutionary restaurant that turns the bog-standard buffet into an upmarket healthy eating experience. Jen Marsden investigates.
The roar of Piccadilly Circus is just a moment’s stroll away and yet tibits provides a calm, informal haven for those wanting to benefit from a wide choice of fresh, vegetarian food and juices, at any time of the day.
And choice is exactly what you get with both hot and cold dishes served in a unique food boat that is the main focus of the ground floor of the restaurant.
tibits co-founder, Reto Frei explains: “The idea was born in 1998 of an own personal need as my two brothers and myself are vegetarians. We wanted to create a place we could eat tasty vegetarian food in a relaxed and modern ambiance, just a good restaurant without the lentil & hemp groove. After winning two prices for the idea at a business plan competition, we partnered with the Hiltl family, owner of Europe’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, and made our dream true.”
I arrived at lunchtime and had a wonderful time teasing my tastebuds with the various regularly replenished and beautifully presented homemade dishes on selection, settling, naturally, on a “tibit” approach of a little of everything I fancied.
“At tibits, we want to offer a maximum of flexibility,” adds Reto. “With the ever increasing demand of self-determination and individuality, exactly chosing the kind of food you like and exactly getting the amount of food you need, is a fun and modern way of eating. And it is relaxed too, you can stay for a drink, have some nibbles or enjoy a five course meal. It is entirely up to you. Last but not least, people with food intolerances can easily pick ‘their’ dishes as everything is clearly labelled.”
For my starter I enjoyed various cold antipasti, salads (such as pepper, tofu and cucumber, below) and little puff pastry delights that added a perfect nutritional balance. Of particular note were the freshly stuffed jalapenos, aubergine antipasti and the delightful full-flavour of dried bean salad with walnuts – I have never tasted green beans that delicious before!
Main dishes continue to be a great tasting fusion of Asian and European flavours with carrot and plum tagine, completely vegetarian green Thai curries, noodle dishes and grilled vegetables.
For dessert, I enjoyed a little of everything, including a delicious traditional Swiss cheesecake, crème brulee and chocolate mousse. With the food sold on weight (minus the lovely selection of freshly baked bread rolls), it’s a fair system and the perfect venue for a group with diverse eating habits.
With vegetarian food this delicious, even the carnivores amongst you may be tempted, as Frei has noted in his clientele. “90% of our guests are part-time vegetarians. More and more meat eaters realise that vegetarian cuisine at tibits is fun and exciting. The old fairytale that you need meat every day to stay strong and fit is slowly but steadily disappearing. And it is fun and supports the climate too.”
Downstairs, there’s plenty of room for private functions, as well as a welcoming children’s area stacked full of wooden toys and books to keep little diners happily entertained, making it the perfect venue for a quick afternoon coffee and cake treat.
Tibit’s sourcing policy is simple: without losing out on taste and its ability to create innovative recipes, Tibits focuses on fresh and local produce where possible in a purely transparent approach. That’s not to say you won’t find a few tropical flavours on the menu and these are sourced as ethically as possible and by boat.
All l the dairy ingredients (including milk, cheese and free-range eggs) are organic and Tibits is always trying to improve and include more organic and Fairtrade certified ingredients across the homemade dishes. You’ll find a lovely selection of coffee creations, speciality teas and fresh juices. With a contemporary bar, it’s a great place to enjoy gorgeous cocktails and organic beers and ciders after work.