Vegetarian food. The sheer thought of it would get the average man as excited as an hermetic cannibal.
If only he would realise that there is more to this way of eating than limp salad leaves, tofu and fake meat products. Tibits is proof that going meatless is fun.
Lunchtimes during the week are hectic in this establishment as hippy chicks and old businessmen hustle their way around the buffet area. Serving platters are emptied quickly and the chef is quick on his toes with a walkie talkie in hand to let the kitchen know what has run out. Just as quickly the dishes are filled up again. An efficient system.
Each dish is clearly titled with main ingredients listed below. Middle Eastern, Asian and Thai influences are abundant.
The buffet comprises two levels: cold salads at the bottom and warm food at the top under hot lights.
If you’re on the run, food-to-go is readily available.
After you’ve plated everything you fancy, you queue, your food gets weighed and you pay. For lunch £1.95 is charged per 100g, and dinner £2.15.
One of Tibits’ big selling points is the Kids’ Lounge which is situated downstairs. It’s spacious, with books and toys to keep the little ones amused. A refreshing change to demoralising McDonalds.
The fresh bottled juices (£3.40) are on the watery side, lacking a punch in flavour. Sweet carrot juice (£3.00) saves the day and the alcoholic strawberry cocktail (£8.00) is to die for.
The plate of food pictured above cost £4.60. Not bad for London. The Aubergine Antipasti and Indian Chickpeas were underwhelming. On the plus side the Black Quinoa Atacoma Salad and Lebanese Tabouli were outstanding.
It was a bit of a hit and miss affair really. The Red Pepper Hummus and Tomato Chutney were moreish and I still dream about the Crispy Onions and Teriyaki Seeds. The rest? Blah.
If you were hoping to find a balanced meal in having just the hot food, think again. Potatoes in the Samosas, mainly potatoes in the Jaffna Vegetable Curry, Roast Potatoes and Potato Wedges. Of course, most people would have their salads with something warm…. like potato.
Dessert was a disaster area. Best of the lot was the fruit salad. Prime looking strawberries got ruined by the goo of squished-to-oblivion ones. Unappealing chocolate mousse sloshed around in a bowl, the apple tart looked like stodge and the bircher muesli didn’t fare any better. The chef was very heavy handed with the cream when he made the mango mousse and the flavour balance was all wonky. Oops. It appeared as if the chef ran out of cream when he got to the cheesecake because it was particularly grainy and unpleasant.
6/10: Varies from excellent to lacklustre to bad.
7/10: Not bad considering it’s London.
8/10: Hotties manning the cash register definitely helps!
5/10: Cramped and slippery, wet floor.
8/10: When it’s busy during lunch hour, just head downstairs and sit at the light, long table. We could have sat there all day!
6/10: If you are an omnivorous tourist, skip it. Tibits is one of London’s better restaurants for vegetarians. If you happen to live and/or work in the area, it’s worthwhile to suss out all the dishes on the first one or two visits and then simply get your favourites thereafter because there are a few treasures not to be missed.
12-14 Heddon Street