In a year where a BBC documentary showed us the bright vegan future of 2067 and young people resoundingly chose to support a vegetarian Leader of the Opposition it’s surprising just how many stylish, vegetarian/vegan restaurants there aren’t in London today.
Though Simon Amstell’s “mockumentary” Carnage only showed a fictional meat-free utopia, and Jeremy Corbyn’s success wasn’t purely salad driven, intensive livestock-rearing really does contribute to global warming and choosing vegetarianism is more relevant for everyone’s future than ever before.
Reto Frei, founder of the tibits vegetarian restaurant chain, well remembers the moment he converted. Fighting with his two brothers over a Sunday roast when he was seven, they both beat him to the chicken legs. It was the first time he realised the meat had come from a living creature. Suddenly he felt sorry for the animal and decided to give up meat for good.
Fast forward to today and Reto, along with his brothers Christian and Daniel, all follow a predominantly vegan diet. They co-own the tibits chain together, including the 9 restaurants in their native Switzerland and the first London Mayfair Branch which opened 17 years ago.
To add to this impressive track record, their business partner Rolf Hitl’s family also holds the Guinness World Record for owning the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant – staggeringly founded nearly 120 years ago!
The team has decided to encourage more people in the UK to choose plant-based food by opening their second London-based restaurant, this June, in a former Bankside warehouse.
The new restaurant lies minutes from Southwark tube, the Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. Inside their show stopping “food boat” buffet centrepiece offers every vegetarian the opportunity to feel like a kid in a sweetshop. There is no fear of stumbling on anything containing red or white meat, fish or even a trace of “wafer thin ham”.
Their global menu changes with the seasons to utilise the best of that season’s produce and showcases over 40 freshly homemade dishes:
Want something exotic? Choose Bangkok peanut curry noodles, spiced vegetable and chickpea Tagine or even a Thai coconut soup.
Looking for a healthy option? Choose a Peruvian quinoa or Lebanese tabouli salad.
Party time? Choose a “Dark and Stormy” Cocktail, “Tutti Frutti” Daiquiri or craft beer with bar bites on the side.
Feeling naughty? Choose sticky toffee pudding or a traditional cheesecake that even the Golden Girls would just die for.
For those that prefer their food to be completely free of any animal involvement, the selection is always at least 80% vegan. And, on Tuesday’s from 11:30am onward, the restaurant becomes a totally vegan zone. The founders believe it would be great for everyone to adopt a vegan diet for at least one day every week – not only for personal health, but also for the health of the planet.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, one of the best features of tibits is that you can select as much or as little as you like and it’s all paid for by weight. You can mix and match to suit your own needs.
However, with such a wide choice available, it may be tricky for any vegetarian not to lose all sense of self-control and end up breaking the check-out scales on their very first visit.
The Bankside restaurant also expects to attract a wide range of people not identifying as purely vegetarian. Carnivores might be pleased to find more robust fare available like potato wedges, beer battered onion rings and even surprisingly meaty meatless-meatballs!
A surefire winner with both vegetarians and meat eaters alike are the deep-fried Jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese. Simply delicious!
To top it all off, Architecture firm Atelier Oi (whose clients have included Hermes and Louis Vuitton) have crafted smoked oak timber, brass and concrete furnishings to create an urban-inspired space, for up to 120 guests, with an inside/outside garden room included.
The new tibits Bankside Restaurant is a real rarity. A quality vegetarian establishment set in London’s newest creative hotspot. The luxurious interior allows you to fully relax and enjoy their diverse menu, however you choose to mix it up. The future’s bright – the future’s veggie!
To check out their full menu or book a table visit www.tibits.ch