I am always on the look-out for different types of restaurants in London, whether it be one where there are fishes kissing in fish tanks (Yauatcha), a webcam that allows you to watch the chef prepare your food (Inamo) or a button that you can press if you want champagne (Bob Bob Ricard).
Now being a vegetarian, I wanted to find a restaurant that tailored specifically to my dietary group and after a recommendation from a fellow foodie, I learnt about Ethos, which is based at 48 Eastcastle Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1W 8DX. After hearing the recommendation, I had to see for myself whether this place really did offer something tantalizing to the vegetarian. I had also been informed about its “pay by weight” concept so I was curious to find out how this operated exactly and I am pleased to have this opportunity to share my findings with you.
A glossy little eatery with inviting decor
This glossy little eatery is hidden just behind Oxford Street and has a smart, stylish and simplistic entrance. It stands out from the pavement because it is brightly lit and allows you to see the food and how popular it is, due to the amount of people enjoying themselves inside. The food facing the window certainly would entice any diner to enter. With such an inviting decor, it is hard to resist entering Ethos and seeing what it is all about. I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed when you take your first few steps inside this rather creative dining establishment.
Ethos claims to have a menu that would appeal to not only the vegetarian but others with special dietary requirements such as the vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free individual. It claims to make healthy eating, fun, attractive, delicious and simple, and I am delighted to tell you that it really does deliver on this front. I bet you’re tempted by the photograph of the entrance at the very least!
A real earthy feel with "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" twist
Inside Ethos there is a striking mini-forest of birch trees in the centre, sleek black and white marble topped tables with charcoal and blue leather banquette seating around circular dining tables. There are also smaller tables at the back that are separated by glass screens. In addition, there is one cute little lower table that is facing an electric fireplace. There is a real earthy and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” type feel to the whole place and thereby making the experience feel a little bit magical.
The walls are clean and white with the exception of a few signs and a golden pineapple and set of golden peppers (and yes, you did read that correctly). This adds to giving Ethos a quirky and modern touch and combined with the “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” feel, the whole place gives off this very cool, unusual and one could even say, Mediterranean vibe to it. On the right hand side of this cute eatery, you will see attractive bowls of food that are placed on service pods; the cold food, hot food and desserts are on separate pods.
Your hunger pangs will be quickly satisfied
There are times in every person’s life that they are exhausted, overworked and in urgent need of immediate food and the thought of sitting in a restaurant and waiting for food to arrive is unbearable. Every second feels like a minute and as the hunger pangs are striking inside, all that you can feel is your stomach crying out “feed me now!”. Well, with an eatery like Ethos, your hunger pangs can be satisfied within seconds rather than having to wait. This is because the moment you are seated at your table, all you need to do is check what your table number is (it’s either written on the table or a member of staff will tell you) and then make your way to the food pods.
Next to each food pod there is a plate stand for you to grab a plate and start loading it with the delicious food that is at your fingertips. You can put cold and hot food on the same plate but are advised to place your dessert on a separate plate (and whilst this may seem like an obvious point, I have to flag it as at least 3 diners when I visited were trying to place everything in one plate; I am guessing that they did not want to get-up again and wanted to eat in one go!).
Cold and hot dishes to devour
As Ethos has an ever changing menu, each time that you visit (even in the course of one week), you will find there are some new dishes available. Ethos provides food of different cuisines, so your plate really will reflect a foodie’s world tour. In order to give you an inclination of some of the food that you could experience, I thought I would share with you which ones were on offer during my visit. From the cold food section, there was a colorful purple potatoes salad, a 100% healthy broccoli, artichoke and tomato salad and some wonderful dips like hummus and guacamole.
From the hot food, there was chewy and hard-to-resist halloumi bites, a hearty baked risotto with tomato and courgettes and a creamy stilton and pear gnocchi. My favourite was the spring green onion scotch egg covered in black pepper and accompanied by a spicy home-made ketchup. I must advise you though that the hot food is not consistently hot and is only kept hot by heat lamps. Thus, if you’re an individual that wants piping hot food at all times (like my grandma and aunt), then Ethos is not for you. If you can bare the food being warm but be bursting with flavours, then please do make your way to Ethos.
Beautiful and irresistible desserts
It is not only the cold and hot food that is to be devoured but also the desserts, which are heavenly. There are sugar-free and gluten free options available. Some of the items on the dessert pod during my visit were as follows: a chocolate frangipane tart, a chocolate and red fruit cake, a carrot cake, red velvet cupcakes and a zesty porridge cake. The cake that really stood out to me, however, was the vegan friendly pomegranate and pistachio rose cake, which looked like an utter masterpiece.
Now, if you’re visiting Ethos while on a diet and should be no where near a cake, do not worry as there are other dessert options available. For example, there was an item called “Raw Square”, which was a simple but flavoursome vegan and gluten free dessert. The flavours of the “Raw Square” were either sea salt and caramel, strawberry and vanilla or lemon. I opted for the sea salt and caramel option and despite it sounding “Raw”, it was actually very moist and filling. You can see a picture of it in the next paragraph when I was having it weighed at the counter.
Pay by weight only concept explained
When it comes to paying at Ethos, you only pay according to the weight of the food on your plate. The weight of the plate itself is excluded. This means that you can fill up your plate with as much food as you want from the smartly placed buffet of cold and hot meals and/or deserts and it is then weighed at the counter.
You will be able to see at the counter how much your food weighs and the member of staff behind the counter will ask you for your table number so that the weight of your plate can be added to your bill, which will be given to you at the end of your meal. The advantages of not having to pay immediately are that you can have a second plate with certain items that you enjoyed the most (if you can afford it, see below) and/or you can subsequently go and have a dessert and pay in one-go at the end.
Watch your weight whilst preventing food wastage
Visiting Ethos is like visiting a stylish and up-market cafeteria and the pricing of it certainly does reflect that of an up-market establishment. Be mindful that whilst you’re pilling on the very hard to resist items on your plate, some of those items may be rather heavy and that will be reflected when you visit the counter. However, in times of austerity and obesity, it is important for us to think about what exactly we really do need to eat and how much of it. In addition, the amount of thought given to this results in less food wastage, which is equally important. From my experience, one plate of food including hot and cold items and a dessert cost around 19 GBP (approximately 24 USD) and excludes drinks. To me, Ethos is a great find and one that I certainly will be returning to shortly.
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