Peter Morrell goes to the new branch of this highly successful vegetarian restaurant to taste the food and experience its unique service concept
Since opening in 2000 tibits have built themselves a reputation as one of London’s leading vegetarian restaurants. Now to continue this success tibits’ second London restaurant has opened in a former warehouse on the South Bank.
The new urban-inspired restaurant, tibits Bankside, is located on Southwark Street, just minutes from the Thames and top London destinations including Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Tibits have nine restaurants in Switzerland, the home country of founders Reto, Christian and Daniel Frei, and their already popular London site in Mayfair. Along with their partner Rolf Hitl, whose family hold the Guinness world record for owning the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, the Swiss brothers are seeking to change the landscape of London dining.
My wife and I recently visited the restaurant to try the food experience how you choose your food.
The new location, in a period building, has been sympathetically renovated with natural textures, an added bonus is the light and airy terrace at the rear of the restaurant which is enclosed in glass.
When you arrive at tibits you are shown to your table and given a menu. At this point the similarity with a regular restaurant ends. All of the food is on show in a spectacular ‘Food Boat’ at the centre of the restaurant. There is a mouthwatering range of more than 40 vegetarian dishes on display, most of them vegan and every Tuesday the Food Boat is entirely vegan.
There is no need to look at the menu you just grab a plate and choose whatever takes your fancy. And there is a lot to fancy. When you have finished you go to the counter and get your plate weighed and are charged per 100 grams. While you are at the counter you can order soup and your wine, beer or soft drinks which will be brought to your table.
The food selection offers hot dishes, salads, soups and desserts. Neither my wife or I are vegetarian but we found the food so full of flavour and interesting that we didn’t miss the meat content at all.
From the hot selection we were particularly taken by the samphire stir fry, the Thai veggie meat balls and the caponata Sicilian style. All of them had a mix of different, tastes, flavours and textures. The same was true of all the other things we sampled, the guacamole, som tam Thai, Greek salad and Lebanese tabouli salad were all stand-out from the cold section. The soups including spicy Thai coconut and spiced carrot gazpacho.
There is a well curated drinks list with the choice of craft beers and cider, cocktails and mocktails, and red, white, rosé and sparkling wine. Our wine match for the evening was a white blend from France, Crusan, featuring the Columbard and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. This had good tropical and citrus aromas in the bouquet and was crisp and refreshing on the palate. The finish was clean and fruity. Our wine was very good value at £17.50 a bottle. You can also BYOB for a corkage charge of £12 a bottle.
Although desserts are indulgent they are guilt free with delights like sticky toffee pudding, mango mousse and Swiss quark cheesecake, again they are sold by weight. We shared a selection which included fresh fruit, the puddings were all light and an excellent finale to the meal.
I really enjoyed eating at tibits and was feeling very relaxed by the end of the meal. The busy atmosphere is good, the food is packed with flavour and the buffet style service gave an opportunity to try lots of different dishes. There is also a very friendly and helpful service team should you need any advice.
Prices per 100 grams are £1.80. £2.50 and £2.80 for breakfast, lunch and dinner respectively.
124 Southwark Street
London SE1 OSW
020 7758 4113