With party season now tantalisingly close, and bringing with it an inevitable annual onslaught of cakes, Champagne and all of the cheese, it seems almost absurd to indulge oneself further and dine out mid-week. That is, of course, unless you find yourself in the oh-so virtuous Ethos, an all-day meat-free offering that lies mere moments from Oxford Circus’ gift-shopping chaos.
Operating with a ‘pay by weight’ system, this is a buffet like no other – offering all manner of delicious vegetarian fare that’s more adventurous than you’d think. Hot options including halloumi bites, signature vegetarian Scotch eggs, cranberry and pistachio nut roast, and squash and sage risotto can be combined with all manner of vegetables, with cashew-dressed broccoli and carrot, cauliflower and tahini salad, and massaged kale all catapulting me way beyond my five-a-day. With so much free choice the challenge lays more in what to avoid piling onto my now dangerously-expensive plate, but how could I feel guilty when “feasting” involves vegan apple and fennel salad, and lasagne made from aubergines?
Such a virtuous food selection could only be matched with an equally angelic drinks menu, and with just one non-vegan wine on the list I couldn’t even feel guilty for washing my quinoa down with a crisp Chenin Blanc. Even Ethos’s Instagram-ready interior nods to its natural roots, with a small circle of winding trees dominating the restaurant’s centre, decorated with delicate origami birds and tiny leaves.
A dessert selection featuring naughty but nice vegan muffins, peanut butter bombs, and raw raspberry and sea salt squares did little to tarnish my halo, and I emerged from Ethos full, yet guilt-free. The perfect pitstop for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Ethos proves that a menu free from meat, fish and refined sugar is by no means a boring one. Whether it’s LBD prep, a healthy January resolution or just to cheat on meat for one night only, Fitzrovia’s plant-powered gem is well worth the detour. 48 Eastcastle Street, W1 (020 3851 1538)