Author: BBB

Tibits

By BBB

In short

It’s a novel dining experience for vegetarians with an unpredictable pricing system.

Review

Nestled behind busy Regent’s Street you will find a vegetarian restaurant haven called Tibits. We’d heard good things about this place so we may have approached with unrealistically high expectations.

When we arrived it was clear that staff were a little busy. After standing near the entrance of the restaurant for a few minutes someone eventually informed us that there were tables for two ‘over there’ and nodded in the direction of the dining area.

We grabbed a table and then deduced that we would need to go to the food bar, which we later learned is called the food boat, and prepare our own plates.
The food boat boasts an impressive variety of foods to choose from – salads, garnishes, breads, hot food, desserts and of course – veggies.

 The flavour of the meal, unfortunately, wasn’t as impressive as the variety and there were no salt and pepper shakers on our table to help us enhance the taste.

Service, variety and flavour aside it was the cost of the meal that left the most profound impression. Tibits is unique in its approach to vegetarian food and this uniqueness is evident in the decor, the format and not least the pricing. Instead of paying a flat all-you-can-eat fee, Tibits charges per 100g of the weight of your plate.

Having overheard a waitress tell someone that the average cost per plate was £9, we didn’t think much of this pricing system until it was our turn to weigh in and pay.

One plate came in at a reasonable £8.30 but the other plate weighed in at a mind boggling £19.00. There was an uncomfortable silence as we stared at the seemingly mammoth plate and tried to reconcile how a plate of veg could ever be worth £19.00. To add even more discomfort to this situation, the person ringing up our order did not appear to be remotely sympathetic to our dropped jaws and waited equally silently for us to snap out of our shock and pay.

Apparently bread is free, but we didn’t know this and neither did the young woman who weighed our plates as she didn’t ask us to remove it from the plate.

Information was so hard to pull from staff that day that we only discovered that there was a reward card system after spotting one on a neighbouring table.

What we tried:

One plate was a combination of pumpkin salad, roast fennel, mushroom risotto, onion rings, wedges, avocado cream, tofu pasta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other plate was a combination of onion rings, falafel bites, pumpkin salad, barley risotto, rocket, quinoa salad, bread and fennel – probably the heaviest thing on the plate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we liked

The decor

The tap water fountain

Product info at the top of the food boat

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we would do differently

Put a scale near the food boat or display a sample £10 plate for reference.

Signpost the water fountain better – it is a rarity to be able to get your own

Who can eat here?


 

 

Value for money

Lunchtime is £2.10 per 100g, dinner is £2.30 per 100g

We went at lunch and one plate amounted to £8.30 while the other amounted to £19.00

Given that it’s difficult to know how much you’ve spent until you reach the counter, we can’t say its great value for money. If you’ve got a knack for being able to eyeball the weight of something, you may fare better than we did.

Loyalty card

Enjoy 5 meals from food boat (min £5 each) and get a free freshly squeezed fruit juice worth up to £3.30

Locations

12 – 14 Heddon St, London, W1B 4DA

Find out more

www.tibits.co.uk

 

 

 

A few months ago we reviewed Rhythm Kitchen and reported to you all that the food was good but that we were confused as to why jerk pork and halal chicken were on the menu.

As many of you can appreciate, halal meat is largely consumed by followers Islam who actively avoid pork. We were concerned as to what assurances Rhythm Kitchen could offer to consumers that there was no cross contamination.

We were concerned that the inclusion of halal meat to the menu was a cosmopolitan move and not a conscious one, an opinion that deepened when we received no response to our query.

Thankfully, after an email and a handful of tweets, Rhythm Kitchen replied!

After apologising for the delay in response they informed us that ‘we offer halal jerk chicken which is prepared and cooked separately from the pork’.

Those of you who were previously curious should now be able to breathe a sigh of relief!

What we at BBB want to know is…. does it matter to you if certified halal meat is offered on the same menu as pork?

Let us know!

‘Gluten-free’ may sound like a buzz word, but for a growing number of people those words are the foundation of their daily sustenance.

Whilst gluten intolerance is on the rise, gluten free products have been slow to evolve. Although, some gluten free products can be found in mainstream supermarkets, some coeliacs felt that they alternatives were patronising and tasteless.

Gluten-free bakery, Gluten Free Delices, have stepped into fill the gap in this market by offering a range of sweet and savoury baked treats that are perfectly safe for a coeliac to enjoy.

Owner, Christelle Coulin, was conscious  of the limited options available to coeliacs and was certain that she could create a flourless cake that was as good as, if not better that a traditional cake.

She was aware that gluten free foods are often not attractive to consumers because they are presented in a way that links them to medical conditions. ‘I feel that a lot of gluten free manufacturers do not take into consideration the benefits gluten free food can bring to a person who does not even suffer with the common ailments associated to wheat and flour. People also forget that gluten and wheat free cakes often use less sugar as well’.

After some positive feedback from customers both with and without intolerances, Coulin is excited about growing the business. She has recently acquired a commercial kitchen in Wimbledon and is in the process of developing a new range of gluten free products.

Gluten Free Delices is offering BBB readers a 20% discount on a dozen cupcakes or brownies for your office. All you need to do to get your hands on a voucher is sign up for the BBB newsletter.

There are only a limited number of vouchers available and the offer is good until the end of November.

Good luck!

In short 

This is easily the holy grail of frozen desserts – delicious non-fat frozen yogurt we can eat without having to guess what we are eating.

Review

The pebbled floor and long queues were a dead giveaway that this frozen yogurt experience was going to be one like no other.

Dessert chain Pinkberry has been established since 2005 and dotted around the globe in locations such as West Hollywood, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Peru, and Kuwait to name a few.

When the first store opened in 2005 in West Hollywood, people were voluntarily incurring parking tickets and queuing for up to half an hour to get their hands on this frozen yogurt. Even halfway across the globe in Old Blighty, queuing is part of the Pinkberry experience.

So what is it about this frozen yogurt that has created an international craze? We think it’s the phenomenal taste combined with the assurance that the product might actually be good for you.

The taste is definitely unrivalled. Regardless of what flavour you choose the effect on your palette is unique – it’s creamy enough, sweet enough yet tangy enough.

Taste aside, it’s their dedication to wholesome goodness that really got us excited. They are proud of their natural approach to dessert and have no qualms about championing it. And why shouldn’t they? Their products are made with premium non-fat yogurt, non-fat hormone-free milk, live and active cultures and no high fructose corn syrup. Coeliacs are also in luck as the products are gluten free.

All the nitty gritty nutritional info you need can be found on their website and staff seem clued up about what they are serving. On our visit to Pinkberry, the young lady behind the counter was well versed on how many calories were in our coconut frozen yogurt and only referred to her cheat sheet when we enquired about the amount of carbs in our dessert.

Speaking of which, a small coconut frozen yoghurt delivered 196 kcals, 0g of fat, 42g of carbs (of which 39.2g) are of sugar and 5.6g of protein. Not an amazing nutritional profile if you’re watching your carb intake, but surely the wholesome ingredients make it a distinctly better option than many other frozen desserts.

Although this a superior dessert option, and although they prefer natural options, the sugar content is still a little on the high side so remember to consume responsibly.

What we tried:

A small coconut frozen yogurt with fresh strawberries

A small salted caramel frozen yogurt with peanut butter crunch

A small pomegranate frozen yogurt

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we liked

The transparent approach to nutrition – the nutritional info can be downloaded as a pdf!

http://www.pinkberry.co.uk/nutrition.html

What we would do differently

Any chance of a lower sugar option?

Who can eat here?

 

 

*Bonus – all of Pinkberry’s flavours are certified kosher by Kosher Supervision of America (KSA)

Value for money

A small cup of frozen yoghurt (140g) is £2.75

Standard toppings are 55p

Luxe toppings are 75p

Loyalty card

Buy 10 Pinkberry items of any size and get a small frozen yoghurt with toppings for free.

Locations

Selfridges Food Hall

Westfield Stratford City

Bluewater Shopping Centre

Find out more

www.pinkberry.co.uk

 

 

 

Review: Kanapina

By BBB

Located opposite Canary Wharf tube station (Reuters Plaza), is a brightly coloured kiosk serving wholesome, tasty roti rolls to the busybodies of Canary Wharf.

We weren’t really sure what to expect from the brightly coloured vendor, but we left feeling confident that no damage was done to our arteries or waistline. We were so impressed, in fact, that we took some time out to chat with one of the owners, Neelam Patel, to find out what really goes into a Kanapina roti roll.

Neelam assured us that the Kanapina menu was designed to be fresh and wholesome. Mustard oil is used where needed, chicken is grilled, and the beef is slow cooked. The most reassuring confirmation for us was that ghee is not used in the preparation of the meals.

 

It was while on holiday in India that Neelam noticed a distinct difference in Indian food in England and the food he was enjoying in India. Throughout the rest of his holiday he became more and more conscious of the difference not only in taste, but aroma and appearance. That was when the penny dropped and he realised that after its introduction to the UK, the quality of Indian food had gradually evolved from nutritionally wholesome and flavourful fare to calorie dense, commercial food.

On his return, he and a few others put their head down and developed the concept of Kanapina – ‘kana means ‘to eat’ and pina means ‘to drink’. The Kanapina menu is inspired from traditional family recipes and offers an option for pretty much anyone:

Calorie counters Nutritional values are only available for lassis at this stage, but management would like to include nutritional values on food soon too!
Carb conscious diners Chicken tikka or beef pondicherry nanga bowls are a winner
Coeliacs Chicken tikka, lamb sheikh kebab, beef pondicherry or shahi paneer tikka nanga bowl.
Vegetarians Shahi paneer tikka roti or nanga bowlDal vada roti or nanga bowl
Vegans Dal vada roti

 

Although only basic nutritional information is currently available for the lassis (see below), staff have an ingredient list they can refer to should you need to find out anything specific.

  Mango lassi Pineapple & Coconut lassi Vanilla Bean & Raspberry lassi
Energy 105kcals 112kcals 122kcals
Protein 2.7g 1.8g 3.3g
Carbohydrates 12.4g 18.3g 13.3g
Total Fat 4.9g 3.6g 6.2g
Sodium <0.1g <0.1g <0.1g

 

250ml serving size

What we tried

The beef pondicherry roti, chicken tikka roti roll, shahi paneer tikka nanga bowl, lamb sheikh kebab nanga bowl.

What we liked

The flavour combinations and the fact that roti rolls are filling

What we would do differently

Add more salad to the nanga bowls

Value for Money

A Kanapina roti roll will run you less than a fiver making this a healthy meal that is kind to your pocket.

Loyalty Card

Free side on your 3rd purchase

Free drink on your 6th purchase

Free Roti Roll or Nanga Salad Bowl on your 10th purchase

Find Out More

www.kanapina.com

  


If your only experience of Caribbean food is from the streets of Ladbroke Grove towards the end of an eventful Notting Hill Carnival, you’d be forgiven for querying the nutritional friendliness of a typical Caribbean meal. However, a visit to Rhythm Kitchen in Westfield Stratford may challenge that opinion.

Located in one of the largest shopping centres in the UK, Rhythm Kitchen serves a Caribbean menu with a slightly modern twist.

The ‘I jerked the sheriff’ printed boldly on the back of staff shirts and website warnings that chickens will be jerked on site are humorous on the one hand but indicative of how integral Caribbean seasoning is to the menu.

Expect basics like jerk chicken, jerk pork and braised oxtail alongside modern additions such as the jerk chicken burger and jerk chips.

This establishment seems to be conscious of their halal diners, which calls into question the inclusion of jerk pork on the menu.

We also noticed that there is only one dish on the menu that has been specifically created for vegetarians…

We tried:

Jerk chicken breast pieces with a side salad and coleslaw

Jerk pork with rice and peas and coleslaw

Lamb roti

This is definitely not a stereotypical Caribbean offering. The flavours were combined a little differently than we were expecting from the jerk pork and jerk chicken but the authenticity was not compromised.

The same couldn’t be said for the lamb roti which had the right seasoning but lacked the depth of flavour that a roti should have.

Regardless of the taste, food is prepared without excess oil, well presented and served in sensible portions.

Value for money
At £7.25 for a ¼ chicken with 2 sides it’s a touch more expensive than your average Caribbean meal but that’s to be expected given its high profile location.

Good for: Halal diners

Ok for: Vegetarian, vegan and carb conscious diners

Not so good for: calorie counters, coeliacs

What we liked
The modern twist to a traditional offering

The preparation area plainly visible

What we would do differently
Remove jerk pork from the menu

Add at least one more vegetarian dish to the menu

Either revisit the recipe for the lamb roti or remove it from the menu and stick to what they do best – jerk

What they said:
We e-mailed Rhythm Kitchen to find out what assurance they can give to their halal diners that there is no risk of cross contamination.

We’re still waiting on a response but will update you as soon as they come back to us.

Find out more:
www.rhythmkitchen.co

You can count on J.D.Wetherspoon to serve up a meal and drink that won’t break the bank but whilst the prices can’t be faulted, the macronutrient ratio of most of their menu used to worry BBB slightly.

Thankfully, the pub chain have stepped up their game and now offer a salad that most busy bodies would find suitable for their dietary requirements.

The Superfood Salad with Chicken and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing is made with chargrilled slice chicken breast with butternut squash, spinach, edamame soya beans, broccoli, fine green beans, pomegranate seed and red chard with balsamic vinaigrette. Perfect for the gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, calorie counters, and clean eaters (ask for your vinaigerette on the side).

Busybodies who are conscious of their protein intake will be pleased to know that this salad offers a hefty 42g of protein and only 12g of carbs.

At 380 kcals and 5g of fibre per serving this is definitely a salad to opt for when you’re out and about.

In addition to this handy menu addition, the entire online menu is designed in a way to help you build your own menu based on your requirements. Calories are listed just below the menu item and if you click ‘view more’ you’ll be able to see the nutritional breakdown of the meal.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing more balanced meals on their menu.

Good Food to Go

By BBB


Imagine our surprise when we popped into Holland & Barrett in Moorgate to grab a snack and stumbled upon a lovely little café called Good Food to Go.

A quick scan of the menu reassured us that there were plenty of balanced options to choose from for diners with various types of requirements. We had a quick chat with the staff on duty who assured us that there were options on the menu for gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant and vegetarian customers. We also discovered that all products are free from hydrogenated fats – a definite plus for us.

Other great features of this find are freshly squeezed orange juice on order and an actual porridge bar so that your breakfast is exactly the way you want it.

The icing on the cake is the dairy free and diabetic ice cream!

What we loved
The oatmeal bar

What could be improved?
We’d love to know the nutritional values of the ice cream

Nandos

By BBB

Home of legendary, Portuguese flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken

Nando’s is a restaurant that has long prided itself on their Afro-Portuguese flame grilled chicken – words that any health conscious busy body warmly welcomes. This is a popular establishment due to their reasonable pricing and relatively healthy options.

On the whole we have no complaints regarding the service, the meal or the nutritional value. We did find it interesting that the website has calculated the butterfly chicken breast as containing 58g of protein, especially as our butterflied breast was on the A cup size. That said, it was no doubt a big shot of lean protein with minimal salt.

The nutritional value of the macho peas did take us by surprise though. They tasted absolutely divine going down but contain 10g of fat per serving which we hope is from olive oil. We’ve contacted their head office regarding this in hopes of confirmation and are still awaiting a response.

The overall calorie count of the entire meal was fairly reasonable, although, anyone particularly concerned with calorie consumption can swap the mushy peas for a side salad to bring the calorie count down a smidgen. Avoid obvious pitfalls such as coleslaw, garlic bread and creamy mash and you should be allright.

Nando’s is a safe bet if you are on the hunt for fairly healthy food in a hurry.

What We Ate

Flame Grilled Butterfly Chicken Breast with two portions of Macho Peas

What we loved
The tasty combination of lean protein and fibre
Chips are served unsalted

What could be improved?
More veggies on offer as sides
Ingredient listing on the website

Number of locations in London
86 within the M25

Peri Peri Butterfly chicken

Energy (Kcal) 315.1 Total Carbohydrates (g) 0.2
Protein (g) 58.2 Carbohydrates – Sugar (g) 0.2
Total Fat (g) 9.1 Salt EQ (g) 0
Saturated Fat (g) 2 Fibre (g) 1

Macho Peas

Energy (Kcal) 158.2 Total Carbohydrates (g) 9.8
Protein (g) 6.58 Carbohydrates – Sugar (g) 2.8
Total Fat (g) 10.36 Salt EQ (g) 0.28
Saturated Fat (g) 3.64 Fibre (g) 5.88

Who can eat here?
Vegetarians

Vegans (TBC)

Gluten intolerant diners (TBC)

Calorie counters

Loyalty Card Programme
Yes!

Find out more

www.nandos.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/Nandos.Restaurants

http://twitter.com/#!/nandos_official

My Old Dutch

By BBB

Established in 1958, My Old Dutch prides itself on being London’s oldest pancake house. With three locations in central London and a wide choice of either savoury or sweet pancakes, it seems like the perfect place to make a beeline for on any day of the week.

Before visiting we hopped onto their website in an attempt to get an idea for what their menu had to offer a balanced busy body, but we were sadly disappointed.

Unfortunately, their devotion to tradition has resulted in a 20th century menu for nutritionally conscious 21st century diners.

It may have been a bit optimistic for us to hope for a gluten free option at a pancake house, but at the very least we were hoping to understand how many calories were in a pancake. There was a glimmer of hope when we spotted the ‘lite’ menu, but with no explanation of how the ‘lite’ menu differed from the standard menu, it merely presented itself as a different type of offering and not necessarily a healthier option.

The menu does offer a choice of salads so coeliacs technically have options – although limited.

What we tried
Smoked salmon pancake with mushroom and dill

Poffertjes (authentic, light, fluffy, baby pancakes, traditionally served with sugar and butter)

What we thought
It’s hard to get a pancake wrong. Our smoked salmon pancake was a lot larger than we expected and therefore very filling. From experience we believe that the Smoked Salmon pancake provided a good amount of protein, but without understanding the ingredient list, we don’t know how dairy, simple/complex carbs or fats factor into the balance.

Despite how filling our Smoked Salmon pancake was, we made room for these little treats which were pretty much as described on the menu. They weren’t as light and fluffy as American pancakes, but this is My Old Dutch after all, so we won’t hold that against them.

After our visit we contacted them to find out if they provided a gluten free option but they confirmed that they did not.

What was achieved in taste, was unfortunately lost in nutritional consideration.

What we liked
The length of time My Old Dutch has been established and the traditional feel for the menu

What we didn’t like
The paltry attempt to include healthy options on the menu

The inability for a potential diner to understand the nutritional content with relative ease

Value for money
At just under £10 for the Smoked Salmon pancake it’s hardly a competitively priced pancake… However, considering the central London locations it’s the average price for a main meal.

What we would do differently
Create a pancake made with garam flour and soya milk so that coeliacs and vegetarians had a pancake option and weren’t just limited to salad

Clearly differentiate the ‘lite’ menu from the standard menu

Good for: diners who aren’t particular

Ok for: lacto ovo vegetarians

Not so good for: coeliacs, calorie counters, carb conscious diners or vegans