Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Out and about in London #3: Vegan eating at Tibits and 222 Veggie Vegan

Tibits and 222 Veggie Vegan are frequently reviewed online, so this post isn't exactly novel. Nonetheless, I thought I'd share my experiences with these well known London veggie hot spots.

Outside at Tibits
(taken in summer, when evenings were light!)

I first visited Tibits in August last year, and will forever link it with my mother visiting from Australia. We went at the start of her visit, and given that all three of us liked it (Mr Bite, my Mum and me), we went again before she returned home. It is a great place to go if you want to cater to varying tastes, and unlike some vegetarian places, I think it would easily cater to meat eaters too. It is set in a large building in central London, with indoor and outdoor seating and attractive decor (albeit dark for photography purposes). You only need to book if you have more than 8 people.

Tibits food boat buffet

Tibits' business model is that you pay for what you select: there is a buffet of hot and cold dishes, all vegetarian and mostly vegan, which range from raw salads to vegetarian versions of classic meat dishes (think sausages and potatoes). After selecting your food, you take your plate to be weighed and pay by the weight of what you've selected (£2.60 per 100g at dinner and £2.30 per 100g at lunch). The same principal applies for desserts. This means you can try a little of lots of things, which I like a lot.

A modest dinner plate - Tibits visit #1

Before our first visit, I'd read reviews suggesting it's easy to get carried away and end up with a £20 plate of food. As a result, we were quite cautious on that visit and ended up with small plates that cost well under £5 each! Even taking into account our modest serves, that highlights that Tibits is actually quite good value for money. I also like that you don't pay for what you don't want. The bread rolls (available in various forms including gluten free) are free too.

On that first visit I had a vegan falafel ball, which was excellent, some coconut tofu, carrot salad, sushi rice salad, edamame beans, and brocolli. I followed it with a decent serve of sticky toffee pudding, below, with strawberry 'cream'. All of the food was well prepared and full flavoured, and the range of dishes on offer was excellent. There is an Asian and Middle Eastern slant to the food, but it isn't limited to that.

A less modest dessert - Tibits visit #1

On our second Tibits visit, we'd learnt the system and were less cautious when loading up our plates. Even so, my plate wasn't much over £5. I had a variety of quinoa and cous-cous dishes, some corn salad, spiced edamame beans, a green bean salad, and another of the falafel balls, because they were great.

Tibits dinner #2

For dessert, I mixed some more of the sticky toffee pudding with a vegan berry panna cotta. Would you believe I'd never had panna cotta before? I loved it, consistent with my tendency to enjoy mousse-like and créme caramel-like desserts. I also had one of their Rooibos chai lattes with soya milk, which was a great end to the evening - and a great final meal for my Mum's visit.

Tibits dessert #2

Shifting to 222 Veggie Vegan, we visited there for the first time last weekend. It was a birthday dinner promise from Mr Bite, held a month post-birthday due to Christmas and other events. I'd selected the restaurant due to its diverse menu, hoping it would cater to Mr Bite's tastes as well as my own. The restaurant is fully vegan and has many raw options, but the dishes on offer are very diverse - from a burger, which Mr B. ordered, to a vegan roast, risotto, and stroganoff.

222 Veggie Vegan - the burger (behind) and a
very saucy plate of raw pumpkin noodles

I chose the raw pumpkin noodles with grated coconut, described on the menu as "pumpkin and courgette noodles mixed with fresh coconut, chopped brazil nuts and a selection of vegetables in a tangy lime and ginger sauce". The dish was okay, but as pictured above, rather drowned in sauce. Unfortunately I couldn't detect any lime or ginger flavours either, and I'm not sure there were many brazil nuts. It was good to try pumpkin noodles, and the meal won on novelty, but I wasn't able to finish it and I'm not sure I'd have it again.

Mr Bite's burger came somewhat deconstructed, in that the roll contained the burger pattie but no salad or dressing - they were presented separately on the plate. It also came with some nicely roasted potato wedges. He rated the meal reasonably well, but I'm not sure it captured his heart. The burger pattie was very tomato-y, which was a little unusual.

Fortunately, my dessert made up for my average first course. I ordered the raw Spice Island Pie, which is made with cashews and almonds and flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Surprisingly, it was reminiscent of pumpkin pie (despite containing no pumpkin) but was more delicately flavoured. It was delicious.

Mr Bite had the 222 Pancake, which includes (dairy free) vanilla ice cream in a wholemeal pancake, topped with warm vanilla and chocolate sauce. The wholemeal pancake was unusual for him (vs. white flour which would be his preference), and the meal managed to be lukewarm whilst also having largely melted ice cream!, but other than those challenges he enjoyed it.

222 Veggie Vegan is reviewed very positively online so our more average experience may reflect the restaurant's busy-ness on the night, or our particular dish choices, or both. It is a relatively small restaurant and clearly very popular, so booking is advised if you do visit.

Tibits is located at 12-14 Heddon Street, off Regent Street, London W1B 4DA. Their phone number is 020 7758 4112 and website www.tibits.ch . 

They are open daily, from 9am to 10.30pm Monday to Wednesday; 9am to midnight Thursday to Saturday; and 11.30am to 10.30pm Sunday. Bookings are taken for groups of 8 or more. 

222 Veggie Vegan is located at 222 North End Road, West Kensington, London W14 9NU. Their phone number is 020 7381 2322 and website www.222veggievegan.com/ . 

They have a lunch buffet from 12pm to 3.30pm daily and dinner a la carte 5.30pm to 10.30pm daily. Bookings are advised.

Have you eaten out anywhere particularly good of late?


  1. I really, really like Tibits - there's something really satisfying about being able to make a meal up of just the things you want in the quantities you want! The dried green bean salad is one of my favourites. I've been to 222 once before for the lunchtime buffet and I really liked it, but that might have been for the same reason I like Tibits too. Glad to hear the desserts were up to snuff though.

    1. Perhaps I need to try 222 for their lunchtime buffet...but Tibits is closer so it's entirely likely I'll just end up back there :P

  2. What a blast for a first panna cotta - sticky toffee pudding and vegan berry! Love the flavours, mmmm!!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

    1. I know! It was a great entree into panna cotta, that is for sure.

  3. I love the sound of Tibits and wish we had something like that here, we do have a few weigh-pay options but not for savoury/dinner (unless I'm out of the loop, the only options I know are sweets and toppings)!

    1. Australia tends to follow eventually, so perhaps in time?! I don't know of anywhere in Perth either at this point.

  4. This looks great, thanks for taking me out to a virtual dinner. And pumpkin noodles?! Yes, I want a closeup of them!

  5. They both look like really good places to eat but I love the look of Tibits and that's a great concept - weighing what you take and paying accordingly. Also like the sound of the free bread rolls! xx

  6. Yum! All of this food looks incredible!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  7. Tidbits sounds interesting. I have been to a sandwich shop that weights your sandwich, but never anywhere that weighs your meal to cost it.

  8. I love Tibits - it is definitely one of my favourite places to eat in London.

  9. I love places like this because you get to try a bit of everything, but I've yet to encounter a vegetarian one in the US! Sounds great!

    1. I wish more places used the concept! It makes so much sense.

  10. We visited Tibits on our last visit to London and we weren't careful with what we put on our plate! BUT it was one of the best meals I have had in London! Great review!


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