“ 12-14 Heddon Street, London, W1B 4DA. Tel:+44 (0)207 758 4110 „
Tibits in Heddon Street is the London branch or a Swiss vegetarian 'fast-food' restaurant. The name is an abbreviation of titbits/tidbits, meaning 'a tasty, small piece of food' according to www.dictionary.com. Which is appropriate as there are plenty of tasty dishes to sample. The restaurant was founded by three Swiss brothers in conjunction with another Swiss vegetarian restaurant and opened a branch in London in 2008. As far as I am aware, Tibits in Heddon Street is the only UK branch. Heddon Street is a situated down a pedestrianized area off of Regent St. Keep your eyes peeled on the left side of the street as you walk up from Piccadilly Circus towards Oxford Circus.
Tibits don't take reservations unless it is for parties of eight or more. I was joining a group here and we had provisionally reserved part of the downstairs area for the early part of the evening (a Friday). Upon arrival, just before 7pm, the ground floor didn't seem too busy but I understand that it got a lot busier later. This is also a popular place for lunch due to the buffet style meaning there isn't too much waiting around. If it is busy, the staff will seat you, but otherwise you can seat yourself.
Whilst Tibits may be 'fast food' it is not unhealthy food. Everything here is vegetarian and there is a large number of vegan dishes (marked with a 'V'). Food is charged by weight at £25 per kilo. This may sound expensive but you would have to go some to eat a kilo of food. My (full) plate weighed 460g and I was charged £11.50. Not the cheapest eat you will have, but the quality of food is excellent. They also do take-away and you are not charged for your plate/container, just the food you choose. I think this is a good idea and your bread roll is free.
The food is on one large oval counter and on two levels. Cold food on the bottom level and hot food above it. It is recommended to go round and get your cold food first and then loop back around for your hot food, but as it was my first time, I just piled everything on when I saw it The staff in the centre of the food counter are replenishing it often, there didn't seem to be any gaps.
Food is varied - there are individual salad items as well as pre-prepared ones such as a bean salad a quinoa one, an Asian noodle salad to name just a few. The red pepper hummus is just delicious especially smothering the home made falafels or spread on the roll. Dishes are marked if they are vegan or spicy, but I did not find anything excessively spicy, so if you are spice adverse, you shouldn't be worried. The dhal (lentil curry) was mildly spicy and thoroughly more-ish and there was a gorgeous aubergine dish also. To be honest I piled my plate up so high, I forgot half of what was on it, but the choice would satisfy even the fussiest eaters. Hot food includes potato wedges, rice, gratin, stews etc. I also had jalapenos, stuffed with cream cheese and deep fried (possibly my favourite food ever).
At one of the curves of the food boat there are fresh dips and chutneys and dressings for your salad. Condiments are here, not at the table (I guess that means you pay for your salt and pepper too!) so remember to pick up what you need before you pay. The tamarind chutney is recommended if you want something to dip into, everything is home made. There are also things like guacamole, salsa and cottage cheese also. At the other end of the curve are the home-made dinky bread rolls which are 'free' (you don't weigh them).
When you have everything then head to the bar with your plate and they will weigh your food (keep your roll separate) and you can order your drinks. A vodka and coke cost £4.60 which isn't too bad for the location in the heart of the West End. They have a cocktail menu (£8.50) also. The queue was modest when I visited, they had four servers on, and only one other person in the queue before me. They accept cash and cards (not American Express). When you pay, your plate is put on a tray with your drink, cutlery and a paper napkin to help you carry everything. They have a loyalty scheme too - buy 5 meals from the food boat (£5 min) for a free freshly squeezed fruit juice. It may not sound like much, but if you work in the area I am sure you would get a lot of use from it having take-away lunches or whatever. If you don't want to eat from the food boat then you can order fresh sandwiches, pastries and a few other meals at the bar. If you don't want to drink or are saving the pennies there is a tap water cooler by the stairs and you can go and help yourself to whenever you want.
I haven't forgotten dessert! You can go up again with a small plate to choose from the dessert section of the food boat. I was too full but they did look tempting and the vegan mango mousse came highly recommended by my companions. They also had an appetising looking crumble. Desserts are quite light, so a modest two dessert plate cost one friend about £3 where another had a bigger plate full of four desserts which cost about £8.
Décor wise the venue is light and modern. Downstairs they had soft, comfy chairs, some high tables and some low ones and a pastel colour scheme with patterned wallpaper and attractive lights. I visited the toilet downstairs, which were modern and spacious, however could have done with a tidy up and at least one cubicle was out of toilet paper. Staff wise they came down to clear plates but not as soon as I would have liked. I think they would be more prompt upstairs where there is a higher turnover of diners. As a mixed group, who were inclined to linger and socialise, thus we were left to our own devices more.
Overall I really enjoyed my visit and look forward to a return. It can work out expensive, but you get a good range of food. Those that go regularly are practiced at piling their plates with 'light' foods. Potatoes and olives obviously weigh more than lettuce. My main course plate cost £11.50 but I was absolutely stuffed and in fact barely finished it. If, like me, your eyes are often bigger than your stomach you need to be careful. I also like the variety of foods from healthy salads to comfort foods so even my salad-dodging friends would find something here,
12-14 Heddon Street
off Regent Street
London W1B 4DA
Telephone +44 (0)207 758 4110
Fax +44 (0)207 734 0428
(reservations taken for groups of 8 or more)
Mon - Wed 09:00 am - 10:30 pm
Thu - Sat 09:00 am - midnight
Sun 11:30 am - 10:30 pm
food served until 30min before closing
On Saturday I went to London to meet up with some friends for lunch and as 3 of them are vegetarian, I suggested we go to Tibits, which specifically caters for herbivores.
My friends and I are quite into our food, so we like to try new places. I'd heard about Tibits through a food website newsletter and it sounded like an interesting and innovative restaurant. It is basically a self-service buffet and the price you pay is based upon the weight of your food.
We arrived about 1pm on a Saturday and it was busy but not packed. We got a table for 5 quite easily. They will take bookings for parties of 8 people or more. The welcome from the staff was warm and friendly and they explained how the buffet and weighing system works. You just take a plate and work your way around the buffet, which is called the Food Boat, and fill it up with as much as you want. Then you take it to the counter at the front of the restaurant and place it on the scales and then pay. You can also get your drinks, pastries, soups and sandwiches here.
On the Food Boat there is a choice of around 40 dishes, including salad stuff, couscous, quinoa, veggie chilli, samosas, pasta, horseradish mash, roasted peppers, stuffed jalapenos, nut roast, etc. There is a big basket of freshly baked bread rolls, which are free and I have to say the selection was very good.
I am a meat eater and veggie food was new territory for me (I'd never had a falafel before - quite nice!), so my plate of food only cost £5.60. But my 3 veggie friends were like kids in a sweetshop and piled their plates high, so their meals came to just under £10 each. They were worried that they would get carried away as soon as they saw the Food Boat!
The prices change depending on what time of day you go (take-away is available):
Eat in Breakfast = 1.40 per 100g
Eat in Lunch = 1.80 per 100g
Eat in Dinner = 2.00 per 100g
It might seem quite expensive, but it is based on the food being made with "carefully sourced, seasonal GM-free ingredients" (according to their menu). Plus I'd imagine proper veggie restaurants are few and far between and therefore there is less competition, even though Tibits is located in a square at the back of Regents Street, which is full of restaurants.
My friends all agreed the food was excellent and that they would come again and bring their friends and family. I did enjoy my meal as the food was fresh, tasty and well made, but I couldn't help wishing I had a big juicy steak on my plate.
On the Food Boat there are also a few desserts, so a couple of my friends treated themselves. The cheesecake got the thumbs up, but the fruity tiramisu was considered "a bit weird". Luckily we only got a tablespoon of it to try and the girl at the counter didn't charge for it because it looked so pathetic on the plate!
There is a really good selection of drinks, from alcoholic, fruit juices, tea, coffee and soft drinks. There is also a free water fountain for the total purists/skint people. Another money-saving tip: my friend had a Jasmine Tea and I took it up to the counter where they were happy to refill with hot water for free.
We had a very leisurely 2 hour lunch in Tibits and although the restaurant did become quite busy, we never felt rushed by the staff to move on, which was great as we had lots of catching up to do!
The restaurant has two levels, with the food being on the top level. I think I saw a lift, so people with disabilities or walking difficulties are provided for. Downstairs is where the toilets are located and there is more seating in a more laidback sofa-style arrangement. That's not to say the upstairs is uncomfortable in the slightest. There is a mixture of different tables and chairs, to cater for the lone lunchtime diner to the mother with her pushchair. The décor is pretty funky but not pretentious and the music gives the place a good atmosphere without being intrusive to your conversations.
Even though vegetarian food isn't really my cup of tea, I would definitely go back to Tibits because the whole experience was first class and it got full approval from my veggie friends!
12-14 Heddon Street (off Regent Street), London, W1B 4DA
Telephone: +44 (0)207 758 4110
Fax: +44 (0)207 734 0428
Mon - Wed 09:00 am - 10:30 pm
Thurs - Sat 09:00 am - midnight
Sun 11:30 am - 09:00 pm