If the idea of buffet restaurants transports you back to far from relaxing package holidays and tasteless food only reachable after long, exhausting queues, trust me my friends, Tibits will erase these (literally) unsavoury memories once and for all.
Tucked away in the pretty oasis that’s Heddon Street, just off London’s Regent Street, Tibits is a buffet restaurant offering International vegan and vegetarian food. You pick any dish, fill up your plate and pay at the till by weight.
Unlike most buffet restaurants I’ve visited (and trust me, I’ve always made sure I’d keep the number as low as possible), there’s nothing canteen-like about this eatery. Quite the opposite in fact: this is a pretty place with low lights and comfortable tables that are far away enough from each other to be able to have a private conversation.
If you visit on a Tuesday, like we did, the menu is entirely vegan and, let me go straight to the point, utterly delicious.
I’m pretty sure my plate weighed the same as I do, because reader, I piled the food up high, with absolutely no shame.
Sure, I was reviewing the food, so I had to try several dishes, but I also ate the dried green beans with walnuts and coriander dressing twice because a) it was delicious b) it’s healthy, right?
As previously mentioned the cuisine is international so we tucked into a spicy curry daahl that my British/Indian dining companion raved about; a plate of orecchiette with olives and tomatoes that I, Italian/British who’s spent many holidays in Puglia where this type of pasta originates from, loved. Falafels and hummus were delicate yet full of flavour, a salad of tofu and watermelon refreshing and zingy, as was the panzanella (a Tuscan tomato, onion and bread salad). The Moroccan lemon tagine was hearty and the onion rings were sweet and crunchy with no grease in sight.
Full to the point of trouser button-popping didn’t stop us from trying several of the desserts on offer. Lemon drizzle cake was lovely, zingy and moist, and I drowned it in the golden turmeric cream, because you know, I’m greedy. The panna cotta with fruit compote was light and not too sweet, but it was the sticky toffee pudding that scooped the gold medal for me. Spongey, sweet, sticky and gooey, it didn’t have anything to envy to the non vegan variety and only social convention and a very full tummy stopped me for going for seconds.
The drink list is also good, with many cocktails and mocktails on offer (we had a traditional Spritz and a cucumber one, which were both light and refreshing), freshly squeezed juices and a generous vegan wine, beer and cider list.
So, has Tibits cured me of my slight buffet phobia? The answer is: definitely. This may be a help yourself restaurant, but the comparison with standard buffets ends there.
The food is imaginative and delicious, the restaurant has a modern, cosy and cheerful atmosphere, the service is helpful and polite and the location is spot on if you are in central London and fancy a vegan meal away from the hassle and bustle of Regent Street.
Prices are also affordable, making Tibits a restaurant you’ll visit again and again.
Where: Tibits Heddon Street, 12-14 Heddon Street, London W1B 8DA or Tibits Bankside, 124 Southwark Street SE1 0SW.