Ethos trots the middle road, a potentially fast meal can turn into lingering over the wholesome vegetarian food in a freshly designed and transparent eatery. Birch trees scattered throughout transmit you into the Nordic forests, while ensuring more privacy.

Ethos self-service restaurant

Ethos: Slow-food self-served fast

VEGETARIAN VEGAN-OPTIONS GLUTEN-FREE SELF-SERVICE CONTEMPORARY

With plenty of seating, why would you rush out into the office to eat your lunch or dining in the loneliness of your apartment? Sit down, and savour the vibe together with the dairy-, gluten- and meat-free meal. Refined sugar is scratched off the dessert offerings, so you may enjoy the pay-by-weight dishes inspired by the world cuisines. As a guardian of your own health, you choose what you want to eat. Ethos is the opposite of the current wave of chef’s blind tasting menus, where the cooks decide what to put in your food, an adventure, but usually not the best feeling after the meal. Still, with the flexibility at Ethos, you might over combine, so keep it simple, down to two – three offerings from the buffet. The tags on each dish are informative, allergens and dietary-restrictions are catered to, while the staff was trained to advice where in doubt.

Usually, when you pay by weight of your food, quality stumbles. Catching the cooked dishes at the right temperature can be a marathon between your seat and the buffet. Ethos attempts to break this stereotype, and it does so better than any other vegetarian buffet in London. Clearly marked dietary restrictions, clean, contemporary design is spacious enough for browsing through the daily buffet. Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean and by hip superfoods inspired offerings are refreshed from breakfast through lunch to dinner daily.

All the sauces are made in-house, no additives, and most of the ingredients are sourced locally for the utmost freshness, high nutritional value and food waste reduction. The only drawback is like with most “healthy” eateries in London is that the produce is not biodynamic or organic from small farms, both best options for our and our planet’s health. Still, eating at Ethos is healthier than at 99% restaurants in the British capital. Macrobiotic eaters can join in the dining out revelry.

vegetarian salad

Ethos dwells in a convenient location on a calm side street near the Oxford Circus. Shoppers and office crews stream in from breakfast through lunch or for the popular early supper. Sitting between the silver bark-clad birch trees, sipping tea or fresh juice while forking into your colourful, loaded plate filled with nature’s bounty, feels like picnicking in the park. Mostly locally sourced salads, legumes, whole grains, meat-free dips like hummus, baba ghanoush, guacamole and warm vegetarian and vegan dishes were all delicious. You can still have your free-range eggs omelette or greek yogurt, but plant-based options are always available and so is the GF toast with the avocado.

The desserts would not score a high grade from me though, but try yourself. There can always be an outlier. Maple sirup et al are used to naturally sweeten them. ‘Healthyfied’ Afternoon tea is being served in this contemporary, reverse of the posh luxury hotel glitz and generally low quality and touristy tea time. Served between 3 and 5pm, it must be reserved two days ahead. Savoury tarts, vegetable crudités, gluten-free blueberry scones can be served with clotted cream or a cashew cream for a dairy-free lushness. Next to Earl Grey, chacras-inspired POSITIVI-TEA (check my Ayurveda post) and/or herbal blends, tisanes, treats like Rhubarb and Vanilla Tart reminiscing or Marzipan rooibos brews are served. Now, this is the opposite of the digestion clogging “Traditional Afternoon Tea” in London! Tea time has never been healthier in England. Now also the Hemsleys, Tanya’s Raw, Farmacy et al. serve it for the more health-conscious millennium where sedentary lifestyle next to processed, sugary foods causes so much damage to our well-being.

MUST HAVE: Seitan (high-gluten, low-starch wheat log) ribs marinated in a BBQ sauce. Aubergine “meatballs”. String bean salad in season. The hummus is lusciously rich.

 48 Eastcastle St, London W1W 8DX

Open daily.

Weekdays: Breakfast 8am – 11am
Lunch 12noon – 3pm
Afternoon Tea 3pm – 5pm
Dinner 5:30pm – 10pm

SATURDAY
Lunch 11:30am – 5pm
Afternoon Tea 3pm – 5pm
Dinner 5:30pm – 10pm

SUNDAY BRUNCH 11am – 5pm

+44 20 3581 1538

* Photos by Ethos. Mine were badly-lit.