12-14 Heddon Street, London,W1B 4DA | Tel 0207 758 4110 |website

I don’t know about you, but when I raid the salad section at the local sandwich shop the name of the game is to force the biggest amount possible into the smallest box available. This is then squeezed shut so that all the way to the checkout it is humming with tension like an over wound spring ready to leap open at the last minute flicking sweet corn in all directions. It’s a situation that Tibits, the gourmet vegetarian restaurant, has found a solution to.

Here your selection is weighed to determine price, leaving the canny shopper with a mathematical poser – which weighs more the carrots or the beetroot? The other more serious problem is how to get a bit of every lovely looking thing on to your plate without making a hideous mess or dropping the lot.

Because Swiss chain Tibits really is a bit of a sweetshop for vegans, vegetarians and even die hard carnivores. If you’re thinking beige décor and brown food think again because this is a cool and airy place with neat little tables and even sofas where you can perch and eat off your lap. Bright young people whose sparkly eyes and energy are an advertisement for healthy eating, or maybe just an advertisement for youth, are on hand to help as you stand somewhat bewildered in front of the massive self-serve choice.

It’s a bit like those breakfast bars at international hotels where you blearily sway back and forth wondering what nationality on earth would want soup for breakfast, while they look at you and wander what kind of monster eats black pudding at any time. All the vast selection at Tibits is clearly labelled and all are vegetarian with a good choice of hot options too. It’s tempting to try a bit of everything and most people do, regular visitors though tend to keep to just two or three things on the plate to avoid creating a mixed up mess.

There are 35 homemade salads, 
12 hot daily specials and freshly baked snacks with dips plus different soups every day. All are prepared each morning and throughout the day in situ and contain no GM products. Standouts for me were the quinoa salad and the lentil salad, as well as a dish of green beans. The stuffed and deep fried peppers and Indian pastries were also excellent.

That Tibits is far removed from the hair shirt vegetarian ethos of the 70’s is demonstrated by a bar where beer and wine and even cocktails are all available. Heddon St is beautifully tucked away from the traffic and Tibits has a large courtyard for al fresco eating come the summer. Breakfast is also available and a range of sandwiches too and all dishes can be bought to go. Basically this is the antidote to that sandwich shop chain known in Cockney rhyming slang as ‘Cold n Wet’ for the nature of its products and with one other Tibits already in Westfield we can hope to see more of them in London soon.