Tibits is the brainchild of 3 Swiss brothers and a couple who opened the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant. Their latest establishment in Bankside serves a fresh, hot and cold vegetarian buffet that could convert the most lupine of carnivores, writes Michael Holland.
When we parked outside and saw this rather large, plant-based restaurant jam packed, myself and vegetarian guru Fiona wondered how they were going to fit us in. But Tibits is like Doctor Who’s Tardis and has plenty of room inside. Plus, Manager Lidija Vegman was ahead of the game and had reserved us a good table. It was explained how we should help ourselves to the extremely attractive offerings at the buffet, which would then be weighed and charged by the weight. Very novel. But this led to some harsh decision making: the stir-fried rice or the mushroom pasta? Falafel or spring roll? Potato and aubergine curry or… Or just have a little bit of each, which is basically what we chose to do. And we both agreed that it was the best thing to do. Mine weighed in at 0.446 kg (£11.60), and Fiona’s at 0.474 kg (£12.30), and it gave us a broad overview of the fare. All we had to do now was choose a liquid refreshment.
My dining companion, who really is very good, went for a Tutti Frutti concoction comprising of 4 fruits. I could never be that good if giving up alcohol becomes part of the deal, so ordered a large, meat-free Sauvignon Blanc. It was all delicious. I don’t know if the wine tasted more crisp and alive by virtue of its vegetarianism, or because it was just a good wine that went perfectly with the melange of textures and flavours on my plate.
And what flavours and textures they were! There was spicy, there was creamy, there was crispy, there was soft… And at no point did I feel the food was lacking meat or fish. Fiona, on the other side of the table was just doing what she does on a daily basis without all the excited oohs and aahs that I was making every time I got another taste of something good.
Tibits is a modern place with a clientele that looks office-based but with a bit of gym thrown in, and with an age range of 18 to 80, highlighting the fact that more and more people are going over to the veggie side. The soundscape is animated conversation and, to be honest, I’m not even sure if there was music playing at all. Tibits doesn’t need it when people come together to talk.
After a catch up we were ready for dessert. Fiona had already seen them earlier and decided what she was having, and that was Molten Chocolate Cake and Sticky Toffee Pudding (0.176 kg – £4.60), while I also had the pudding but with grapes and cashew nuts. Why not? If there are veggie rules that I broke, does it matter? (0.144 – £3.70). I also had an Arise IPA, a citrussy marvel that complemented what I’d put in my bowl. Fiona this time had a ginger, carrot and apple juice and that’s why she is a picture of health.
Tibits works. It is fast and fresh. It is on trend. It is a restaurant for today and for the future. Try it and you will love it.
Tibits, 124 Southwark Street, SE1 0SW
0207 202 8370 – www.tibits.co.uk
Mon – Wed: 7.30am – 10pm; Thur – Fri: 7.30am – 11pm; Sat: 11.30am – 11pm; Sun 11.30am – 10pm
Food 4 Stars
Value 3.5 Stars
Ambience 4 Stars
Disabled Access Yes
Disabled Toilet Yes