Let’s taste more of London

Serendipity surrounds me. Arriving in London at the start of National Vegetarian Week 2013 seemed most fortuitous.

However, after a quick online search, I didn’t see any ‘must-do’s’ built around this initiative. So I decided our family’s restaurant experiences would be our celebratory support.

With two intentionally vegan meals under our belts, we headed for Tibits. Centrally located off the bustling shopping district of Regent Street, this little self-service buffet gem is tucked away in a quieter courtyard.

 

If you’re lucky enough to catch a few rays of sun, and don’t mind smokers puffing away while you eat your healthful plate of goodness, then enjoy their umbrella-covered patio.

The restaurant isn’t small, with a down stairs area catering to private parties and a kids’ play area, but without windows it feels a tad oppressive.

Once comfortably seated near the boat-shaped buffet, Tibits‘ relatively small, but surprisingly diverse, selection of vegetarian and vegan options, fresh, tasty and healthful, delighted us. Once self-plated, it’s up to you to weigh and pay, or keep a bar tab running as we did. Desserts were as delicious as the rest!

TibitsThere’s plenty for everyone and their graphic icons, displayed alongside each dish, makes for easy dietary selection.  Tibits shouldn’t be miss, while take-outs offer busy office workers and tourist on-the-go a healthy boost to the day.

Our last night, being a Sunday, was more tricky to find an open plant-based eatery. Luckily enough though, Amico Bio had extended their hours that evening, catering for a party of 20. We arrived and quickly placed our orders before the kitchen got too busy.

This little Italian restaurant felt nice with its large product and messaging photographs on the walls and stencilled name on the table tops.

I kicked off with a glass of vegan Cabernet Piave which was much enjoyed with our table’s sharing of Bruschetta al pomodoro. Served on a wooden cheese board gave it an authentic touch.

Even in a vegetarian restaurant, it’s always a good idea to reconfirm that a dish is vegan. While clearly marked as vegan, my first choice of starter, the Patate al forno, cipolle e scamorza, wasn’t vegan after all. I then decided on the Cuoppolo di verdure fritte, which wasn’t quite as good as Manna’s equivalent, but tasty nevertheless.

The gnocchi was flavoursome, but we were pleased we’d decided to order several dishes to share, as its taste might have become a little one-dimensional, as was its colour.

The pizza didn’t quite live up to Italian tradition. The base a bit tasteless and their choice of vegan cheese not the best we’re tasted. I believe my home recipe far surpasses it!

All in all Tibits comes out tops but, alas, none of the five eateries we ate at mirrored the overall high standards set by those I frequented in NYC.

The great news is though, we haven’t exhausted the London-based veggies options, and here are some of the restaurants which we didn’t get to visit; Vanilla Black, Orchard, inSpiral, Maoz, 42°Raw, Itadaki Zen and Mildred’s.

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