This self-service vegetarian buffet covers the globe yet gets everything spot-on, right down to the last lentil.
There are reasons why Ethos might make you wary. It’s near Oxford Circus, it’s vegetarian, it’s a self-serve buffet and you pay for your food by weight. (That’s the weight of the food, not your weight.) This ‘comida por quilo’ system is a popular economy-restaurant style in Brazil, but it’s been relatively unexplored in the UK.
Adding to the gimmicky potential, on any given day the main menu might include more than a dozen dishes from the diverse cuisines of Japan, Southeast Asia, Italy, Korea, India, Mexico and Lebanon – and anywhere else that does brilliant vegetarian dishes – plus a few of their own creations. You can choose as few or as many as you like, building your own bespoke meal, before having your plate weighed and then paying at the counter.
The concept may seem incoherent at first. Standing by the platters and bowls at the buffet – hot on one side, room temperature on the other – wondering whether the Korean kimchi might go with some nasu dengaku (Japanese miso-roasted aubergine), or the restaurant’s Indian-inflected ‘scotch egg’.
But sitting in the spacious, box-fresh surroundings – the decor is predominantly Nordic white and blue, with some bucolic trunks of silver birch reaching skywards – you taste the food and think: ‘Hang on, this is really good.’
Rather than worrying about whether Thai sweetcorn fritters are complemented by a lovage-laced tomato and bread panzanella salad, the world tour of dishes becomes a mini-adventure in flavour, colour and texture. The own-made kimchi was crunchy, piquant and not too pungent; the tarka dahl was as good as any Indian grandmother’s version. And a warm Lebanese salad of loubieh – fine green beans with tomato sauce – contained just the right amount of warmth from the Arabic seven-spice mix, the cinnamon and cumin clearly discernible. It was with their own more offbeat creations that the kitchen showed a less confident hand – a dish of green lentils and mandolin-thin kohlrabi had good texture, but the flavours were not the best match.
Desserts tend to be crowd pleasers such as US-style cake pops, or small jars of sweet, creamy posset with lemon and raspberry.
Ethos opens early in the day with a short breakfast menu (avocado on toast, fruit salad, granola, porridge), then rolls on through to lunch and dinner, perfect for Christmas shoppers seeking sustenance. Though it’s primarily a lunch spot, the drinks list does include three beers and a dozen wines. Dinner here is worth serious consideration though, because as an affordable vegetarian destination, this is the best one the West End has seen for years.
48 Eastcastle Street
|Opening hours:||Monday – Friday: 8 am – 10 pm, Saturday: 10 am – 11.30 pm, Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Oxford Circus|
|Price:||Meal for two with soft drinks and service: around £40.|
|Do you own this business?|
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Average User Rating
3.4 / 5
- 5 star:9
- 4 star:25
- 3 star:13
- 2 star:8
- 1 star:6
Food is great but Its way too expensive for what It Is, how timeout came up with one pound sign I dont know, for weekday luch a plate of food came to 22 pounds
Love this place when you need a cheap meal out with no guilt! I love all food as well so appreciate that I can try many many things all in one visit. Definitely one to go to when you want a whole plate of food for around £10.
I've recently discovered Ethos after a friend recommended it as a spot to meet up for lunch. It's fab. A classier spin on the buffet, the restaurant serves all sorts of tasty, colourful veggie dishes in a lovely space. Of course, all this good eating will cost you, so expect your wallet to take a hit if you go overboard. I shelled out £15 for lunch, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't stuffed. And don't come after the lunch time rush or you'll miss out on the good stuff.
This is a very trendy concept restaurant set in the heart of London, you grab a plate and fill it up. There is so much variety, the service was friendly and the interior was beautiful. I couldn't praise this place enough, a fantastic night out.
This place is fantastic! Absolutely loved the interior design and the food was great. I had a fairly decent plate of food and it was £11.50 which I thought wasn't too bad for dinner in Central London. The desserts all looked amazing and I wanted to try them all, but ended up choosing the Millionaires Slice which was super tasty. I would definitely recommend this place!
Tip: They have happy hour on Mon-Wed which means half price drinks if you arrive before 6pm! The lovely waiter allowed us to use this happy hour even though it was a Thursday so we were certainly happy about that!
For a veggie this place is great BUT it's not cheap. You are looking at £10 for a sparsely populated plate. So I'm guessing meat eating companions or ppl who don't like buffet style restaurants will not be best pleased but it's great if you are eating solo and veggie to boot!
Ethos has a very open and bright setup. The food is delicious. All freshly prepared and off high quality. You pay per weight so if your hungry probably you take more than you can eat and you end up paying more than necessary. Guess thats why a lot of reviewers complain about the price. But is absolutely value for money.
Not sure how Time Out managed to give this place 5 stars, nor how they only gave it a one pound rating. The food is OK but nothing special and its extremely overpriced! Better veggie restaurants, that are more reasonably priced out there.
Food is really good but it is so expensive, I went for dinner there and had a relatively light plate of food that came to 14 quid which is a lot considering most of it was broccoli.. and I still felt pretty hungry afterwards!
great location, super tasty menu with lots of choices. I recommend this restaurant not only for the price (it's really cheap cause the price varies according to the weight of the dish) but also for the quality of food.
I ate here last week for the first time and have to say I really loved it. The dishes are fresh and very tasty and the customer service is very good too - friendly, sociable staff.
They charge you by the weight. I dined in and had a lot of food on my plate and including a still water I paid about £13.00. To be honest, I was expecting it to be around that anyway, so wasn't taken aback.
I would recommend this place to those who are bored of Pret and the like.
I wondered in here whilst sampling the lunch options in my area. They have a buffet style serving area with a mix of meat and veg to choose your own meal. It was around half 1 and some dishes were either low or empty. Once finished choosing, you present your box for weighing and pay. I was expecting the bill to be around £5 but it was closer to £9 so I was a little surprised. I wasn't blown away, so I haven't returned.
On Entering the restaurant, you are welcomed by a nice natural interior which give a feel of being in the woods. The food are displayed in an attractive manner.
So we find a table, then we head to the food, we take a plate and put any food that we would like on the plate. All vegetarian food. We head to the till, where the plate is weighed. I had my plate 3/4 full, it cost me £21.52, A bottle of pale an extra $4.50. A grand sum of £26.02. Was the food good, yes very good. Value for money, I would say way too expensive.
Must say I wasn’t very impressed with this one, which is a shame, as Time Out’s review and the fact that it’s so much like Tibits (which I love) made me think I’d love it. Some of the food was lovely, but it was hit and miss, with some dishes disappointing on flavor. Paid extra for the famous scotch egg and found it very average. Our prosecco also wasn’t very cold, which sounds a bit nitpicky, but it’s not like it was cheap! Liked the concept of the setting, but felt it was a tad stark. Probably wouldn’t go again with Tibits so close by.
Delicous food and friendly staff. Agree with everyone who though it was expensive, I paid £16 for an average size portion, no drinks, bread or desert. But mainly disappointed with timeout for putting this place into their Cheap eats list AND Keeping it on the list despite all the complaints!
Yes, food is nice. Not life-changing good, however it's quite good vegetarian and vegan option to be in Oxford circus' constellation of Pret and kfc. The price is indeed a bit more than you would expect from as a cheap suggestion from time out.. However I suppose it is relative.. Is a good, fresh, healthy and reasonably full of inventive vegetarian lunch worth more £15-20?
Terrible! Why Time Out give 5 stars?! Is this political correctness? The place is nice but the food outrageously bad.
My friend from Japan was flabbergasted and confirmed her stereotype of bad food in London.
Tibbits (the Swiss version) is much better!!!!
Avoid at all cost.
Um, I think perhaps you should get people who have a scintilla of sympathy for vegetarian food to write your reviews of vegetarian restaurants. It is self-indulgent and disingenuous for the reviewer to say that Ethos might make you wary because it is vegetarian. Clearly, vegetarian restaurants exist because so many people want to eat vegetarian food. The reviewer, with his need to make sure we all know what he thinks of vegetarian restaurants, alienates the very person who is most likely to be attracted to reading the review - a vegetarian! Way to go.