I am having a hard time readjusting to the English winter having just come back from an extended holiday in hot Australia. Although some people would say that I should be used to this cold, being half Siberian, and if that were true I should be drinking Vodka like water, but no, I am a tropical woman at heart and need the hot weather as well as hot food; which is the one thing I did miss about London… our choice of hearty eateries that we are spoilt with, if only we knew where they were!
Which brings me to a new 17 week old baby, that is the deliciously different Ethos. Pay by weight, contemporary and casually chic vegeterian restaurant, located half way down Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. The concept is nothing new, especially to the vegetarian scene, reminiscent of Tibits and Vantra – but as they say, if you’re going to do something like somebody else, you must do it better, and Jessica Kruger the founder of Ethos has done exactly that! Unlike her fellow competitors, Ethos is a fresh, airy and contemporary twist to the look and feel of other similar pay by weight vegetarian restaurants nearby. This is created by towering-into-the-ceilings real birch trees with lots of marble table tops and dark blue booths with hints of gold, which actually reminded me a little of Bob Bob Ricard, all that was missing was the ‘press for champagne’ button and some low lighting.
As I came in at about 4ish, I was greeted by a well groomed waiter who was eager to tell me how the concept works; and after finding out that I am a vegan he pointed out all the dishes that are gluten free where “vegan” was marked clearly on the labels, which is always helpful but fairly standard. The buffet was a burst of colour and I couldn’t wait to pile it all on and dive in.
The dishes are a mix of international cuisines; everything from less saucy and milder Indian inspired sweet potato curries to raw salads where raspberries and sliced mangos fruitfully marry green leafy veggies in a delicious union.
I personally get quite excited about the variety of dishes that you can choose from, piling until you have everything you might want to try on your plate, and this is a great way for people who are new to inventive Vegetarian food to try new flavours and different takes on meaty classics. However for some it might be a bit too many flavours and cuisines happening on one plate, in which case just go for the cuisine and the foods you know you will enjoy without mixing it up too much so you don’t have a World War 4 in your belly!
Luckily for me the restaurant was getting ready for dinner and wasn’t busy, but all the dishes were out and freshly prepared, the hot ones still being quite hot. I went for that gorgeous, summery looking salad with raspberries and mangos which jumps out at you as soon as you walk in; it was fresh and vibrant. I also went for another salad which had spinach as a base, but ended chewing through too much spinach, was rather ambitious with that one. I got a few other hot dishes, too bad I was too hungry to take pictures of the names, but the most delicious thing for me was the not so Vegan deep fried Halloumi squares (not every vegan of me I know!), which I enjoyed thoroughly, crispy on the outside and I don’t want to say, rubbery but I guess halloumi has got that nice end of firm rubbery texture on the inside as they were just that. My least favourite, and this was a taster as I have never been a fan of Seitan but it was the infamous Seitan bbq ribs, which I left on the plate for Satan to finish as they taste like mouldy death.
You should grab your plastic and get down to Ethos for a filling but healthy meal in a contemporary, airy setting in the West End, after shopping or a City meeting as you won’t be disappointed with anything!