A foodie’s guide to the best sustainable restaurants in London
Much like ‘hard Brexit’ and ‘fake news’, we hear a lot about ‘sustainable eating’. But what does it really mean?
Ultimately, a sustainable restaurant values the livelihood of farmers, doesn’t waste energy or food, celebrates quality local produce, supports the community and serves fish that is responsibly caught.
With this in mind, we’ve chosen four of our favourite ethical restaurants that crucially also deliver a top-notch dining experience to savour.
Want to get mindful about what’s on your menu? Try one of these sustainable London restaurants…
Just over two years after opening, Craft London has garnered an impressive rep among the capital’s foodies. Founded by chef, author, food writer and TV presenter Stevie Parle and Tom Dixon, the beautiful Greenwich Peninsula restaurant focuses on creating world-class products, while retaining an awareness of the environmental effects. The ingredients are chosen for seasonality, with vegetables grown in the on-site terrace and kitchen garden, as well as in Stevie’s own garden in Kent. All of the suppliers are based in the UK and share the Craft ethos of sourcing as locally and sustainably as possible.
As well as an a la carte menu and a wine list, collated by Ruth Spivey, Craft London hosts ‘Thursday Feasts’. Every innovative course, of which there are always four or more, in the themed dinners are introduced by a member of the delightful and knowledgeable staff, along with a wine recommendation. Plus, you get a chance to see the view from the famous 360 degree bar — with an optional cocktail made from the season’s fruits and homemade ingredients — all for £45.
Notting Hill Gate
The three Gladwin Brothers combine their skills (Gregory: farming, Oliver: chef, Richard: hospitality) to deliver a quirky and intimate setting specialising in out-of-this-world tasting small plates. Meat reared to the highest standards from the family farm in Sussex, is accompanied by a wide selection of locally sourced vegetables. There’s a strict no-waste policy and they use traditional nose-to-tail cooking practices to ensure every part of the animal is used where possible.
Popular Hawksmoor insists that animal welfare is of primary importance, which makes us smile. In fact, from the very start, the restaurant made a commitment to serve only the very best beef this country has to offer. So, all the beef comes from cattle who have had a stress-free life and are fed on a natural diet of grass and hay – and you really can taste the quality. Now with eight venues (seven in London), Hawksmoor also has the charitable chops and has raised more than £500,000 for Action Against Hunger.
THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE
Thanks to its pairing with Riverford Organic Farmers, the Duke Of Cambridge is proudly ‘Britain’s first and only certified organic pub’. Every ingredient used, including the alcohol, is organic and locally sourced where possible. Granted, it’s all well and good supporting sustainable and ethical farming, but what if the grub is bobbins? As you’ll know if you’ve ever been, the food at The Duke is a treat and Sunday roasts don’t get any finer. The rosemary and garlic roast potatoes hit the spot – no GM on the side.
Founded by environmentally conscious chef Tom Hunt, this tapas restaurant was awarded 2016 Sustainable Restaurant of the year and Best English and Best Independent at the Food Made Good sustainable restaurant awards. The food is nutritional, vegetable-centric, and made with whole foods and non-processed seasonal produce. And the homemade liquors are made using locally grown and foraged ingredients with English grain spirit as a base. Poco ensures 95%-100% of food waste is composted.
Skye Gyngell’s eatery is usually best reserved for special occasions. However, thanks to the pre-theatre ‘Scratch Menu’, it needn’t be. With three courses for £20, Skye breathes new life into ‘scraps’ from the a la carte menu to ensure nothing is wasted. Offerings change daily, but expect soups, seasonal ingredients and unusual cuts of meat. You get to eat in a swanky dining room at a fraction of the cost and to top it all off, Skye aims to be completely plastic-free by the end of 2018!
Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka cocktail supremo Mr Lyan) has teamed up with Douglas McMaster from pioneering zero waste restaurant Silo and Dr Arielle Johnson (ex-food scientist at Noma), and Cub is the result. A high- end restaurant/bar hybrid with sustainability at its core, they offer a no-choice set menu for £45, which includes a mini glass of Krug Champagne and cocktails. It’s largely vegetarian, using seasonal ingredients that are in abundance.
Liverpool Street & Kingly Street
Starting life as a street food concept, CLAW set up shop in a shipping container in Finsbury Avenue, and have just opened a second site on Kingly Street. Championing sustainable British seafood with dishes such as decadent crab cheese toasties, or brioche rolls stuffed with lobster, crayfish and crab, it’s a low-key affair, ideal for when you want something a little fancy but don’t want to break the bank. With the option to eat in or take away, there’s literally no excuse not to have lobster every day. Hurrah!
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Read more: A foodie’s guide to the best fish restaurants in London