More people than ever are counting sustainability as a key quality in their dining experiences and a growing number of London restaurants are reacting by adopting renewable approaches to gastronomy.
Good thing too — sustainability association Too Good To Waste estimate that UK restaurants waste a staggering 1.6m tonnes of food every year, which is an awful lot of leftovers by anyone’s reckoning.
From zero-waste vegan eateries to hotels serving upcycled afternoon tea, these are the best sustainable restaurants in London.
Cub is the joint venture of cocktail legend Ryan Chetiyawardana and chef Douglas McMaster, who earned a reputation for sustainable dining at Brighton’s zero-waste restaurant Silo. As well as purchasing their food from renewable sources, the restaurant itself is made from reused materials. The tables are ingeniously crafted from recycled yoghurt pots, while the air inside the venue is filtered through the breathable clay used to construct the walls. The food is absolutely delicious too, and the elegant menu caters just as well to meat eaters, vegans and vegetarians. A must try.
153 Hoxton Street, N1 6PJ, lyancub.com
Spring at Somerset House go further than most organic and sustainable restaurants and offer a menu designed specifically around surplus ingredients. The pre-theater scratch menu is made from fruit and veg that would otherwise have been wasted and at three courses for £20 it’s an affordable way to support a good cause. The restaurant has also pledged to drastically reduce the single-use plastics by 2019, so it scores pretty high.
Somerset House, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA, springrestaurant.co.uk
Riverford at The Duke Of Cambridge
Pub fans are spoiled for choice when it comes to boozers in Islington but the Duke Of Cambridge offers something unique. The St Peter’s Street setting is Britain’s only certified organic pub, with its focus firmly on serving sustainable food. The pub has teamed up with family-run Devon farm Riverford to put together frequently-rotating menus using organically sourced ingredients and their appreciation of fresh, seasonal food certainly pays dividends.
30 St. Peter’s Street, London N1 8JT, dukeorganic.co.uk
Tiny Leaf create inspired dishes out of organic surplus food stock provided by local wholesalers and represent the first zero waste vegetarian restaurant in London. The unusual approach means chefs serve up a diverse menu, using unsold fruit and veg to create something new and exciting every day. The Borough restaurant, based out of Mercato Metropolitano in Borough, also stocks the sustainable Toast beer made from surplus bread.
209 Westbourne Park Road, W11 1EA, tinyleaflondon.com
Pritchard’s Road tapas bar Poco is committed to serving sustainable and organic food. Ingredients are sourced from producers within 100 miles of the restaurant and Poco also upholds the tightest restrictions on food waste. The kitchen composts between 95 per cent and 100 per cent of unused goods and weigh their waste every day to keep strict tabs on usage. Having to haul bin bags around in this way after service must be annoying for their staff at times but it's certainly an admiral stance to take. It also no surprise that the restaurant was named Sustainable Restaurant of the year at the Food Made Good awards in 2016.
129A Pritchard's Rd, E2 9AP, pocotapasbar.com
Georgian House in Pimlico
Five star boutique B&B Georgian House in Pimlico is doing its bit to help the environment by introducing an upcycled afternoon tea. The kitchen set itself the difficult task of fashioning delicious dishes from discarded ingredients earlier this year and the results are impressive. The six-piece menu features toast topped with unused mushroom stems and lardon cuttings, while the cheese and thyme scone on offer is made with crumbs gathered from the cheeseboard. Even the drink is upcycled, with the 'Re-invigorated Prosecco' cocktail made from flat Prosecco with East London Liquor Gin. Cheers to that.
35 - 39 St George's Dr, Pimlico, SW1V 4DG, georgianhousehotel.co.uk