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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. Since I have been back, I have done this as it stops your food getting cold (and not all dishes are as hot as you would liek in a bufeft anyway). 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 my subsequent visists and always 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 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
(reservations taken for groups of 8 or more) Opening hours 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