Tibits is an upscale vegetarian restaurant located in London’s Food Quarter, a pedestrian area a few meters away from Regent’s street, where many restaurants with different cuisines opened next to each other. This is where you go on a warm sunny day to enjoy a meal al fresco, sitting at one of the tables scattered outside the restaurants.

Tibits is half café, half restaurant, and offers a variety of dishes that satisfy most of the senses: sight, smell and taste. This new concept was created by the Swiss Frei’ brothers and the Hiltl family. It results in a stylish and modern vegetarian restaurant.

The atmosphere was a surprise: Tibits is a self-service restaurant, so I wasn’t expecting any luxury or personalized service. Contrarily, the main room is a large dining area completely decorated by Designers Guild, with brocade wallpaper, velvet poufs, and huge chandeliers covered in red fabric with purples fringes. In the middle there is a boat-shaped table where more than 40 choices of food are showcased. The basement, also quite classy, has a simpler decor, there are a few long rectangular tables to accommodate large families, some large mirrors and even an area designed for kids.

The first time I went to Tibits I was with a very traditional foodie friend, who decided to tag along more by curiosity rather than to discover a cuisine. At the end of the dinner, he was very positively impressed and told me everything was far beyond his expectations. At the entrance, we were greeted by the manager, Luis, who was extremely nice and helpful. He introduced us to the world of Tibits.

He explained that all their food is freshly prepared by their chefs, who make sure every ingredient comes from organic markets. There is also an on-site store where customers can buy some of the vegetables or spices used in the recipes and try them at home.

Recipes stem from the gastronomic expertise of Rolf and Marielle Hiltl, owners of Haus Hiltl in Zurich. Haus Hiltl is Europe’s oldest and most respected vegetarian restaurant. They joined the three brothers in their passion for delicious, healthy, seasonal vegetarian cuisine.

People sitting around us were a mix of students from around the world, tourists, locals in theirs 40’s and groups of friends of all ages and nationalities. I was expecting to find a more “Yogi” style clientele, instead it is very clear that healthy and vegetarian cuisine is spreading across different lifestyles and ages.

After having chosen our table, we headed to the “boat” for a selection of healthy and delicious dishes. Customers can create their own ideal meal from tempting recipes inspired by flavours from around the world. Anything from Asian to Indian and Mediterranean, including good old British classics such as bangers and mash. Fresh juices, organic beers and wine were also on the menu.

As a starter I tried a crusty but soft Herdsman focaccia with goat’s cheese. It was delicious. The cheese wasn’t too strong or too mild, and it matched the baked aftertaste of the bread perfectly. I also tried an oriental style aubergine dish, which melted in my mouth.

Then for the main course, I decided to choose one of their specialties: a dried been salad with walnuts. The taste of beans was enhanced by a red balsamic vinegar sauce and coriander. A delicious assortment of ingredients that transformed a simple vegetables dish into a tasteful main.

Tibits is the kind of place where you can easily spot celebrities such as Hollywood actress Ellen Page, singers Leona Lewis and Beverley Knight, British comedian Alan Davies, Bianca Jagger, Gordon Ramsay, actor Sir Ian McKellen and the iconic British designer Pam Hogg, who are all fans of Tibits.

Vanessa Pederzani, London