For the discerning modern diner, flavourful plates and flawless execution are important, but it's sustainability that's increasingly crucial. From how the ingredients used have been farmed to the producers that they've been sourced from and the restaurant's food waste policy, diners are as interested in the ethics behind their meal as they are about how it tastes. Fortunately, London's restaurants are blazing a trail when it comes to delicious dining with a conscience. At the Blue Door Bistro at The Montague on the Gardens, chef Martin Halls is committed to serving only top quality, responsibly sourced food from ethical providers. And, thankfully, it's not the only eatery in the capital cooking up environmentally conscious cuisine. From sustainable suppliers to zero waste policies, enjoy a guilt free gourmet experience at London's best sustainable restaurants.
The Clerkenwell Kitchen
With experience working for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage, the founders of The Clerkenwell Kitchen consider the provenance and quality of their ingredients as paramount. The concept behind this chic but unfussy restaurant is delicious home cooking that allows the individual elements of each dish to shine. Sustainability is key; the venue proudly supports small, local and artisan producers who maintain traditional farming methods and uphold fair trade and animal welfare standards. The menu, scrawled on a blackboard, changes daily, but diners can expect to tuck into dishes using sustainable, line-caught fresh fish from Billingsgate Market, and lamb, pork and game bred at Chiltern Farm.
The Duke of Cambridge
Having gained a reputation as one of London's leading sustainable eateries, The Duke of Cambridge now operates in collaboration with Riverford, the family-run business of farm shops and organic produce delivery service. Utilising the bounty of organic vegetables grown on Riverford's farm in Devon, the restaurant sources its fish from Kernowsashimi in Cornwall and meat from Rhug Estates. The daily menu is dictated by the seasons, but flavourful and imaginative dishes are guaranteed. Begin with carrot, celeriac and clementine soup served with homemade bread, followed by fish of the day with peanut sauce, courgette, purple sprouting broccoli and salsa verde. Satisfy a sweet tooth with the wickedly good triple chocolate and beetroot brownie.
Awarded three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, Hawksmoor's commitment to sustainability is second to none. Known and loved for its superlative steaks, the restaurant, which now has six venues across London, uses only the best quality meat from trusted sources that maintain its exacting standards of animal welfare. Alongside its commitment to only using sustainable produce, Hawksmoor goes the extra mile by offering its staff thorough training on sustainability and also working in partnership with schools to teach young people about the concept.
Championing sustainability and providing an antidote to food waste, Spring's 'Scratch Menu' is both inspired and tasty. The term references 'Scratch Tea,' a phrase used in head chef Skye Gyngell's native Australia, and it describes a fridge-foraged meal made using leftovers that would otherwise have been wasted. Spurred on by the statistic that 40% of fruit and vegetables grown in the UK are wasted before even reaching a point of retail, the Scratch Menu uses this misshapen, imperfect produce to create outstanding dishes and minimise waste. The menu is different each day, but diners can expect a three-course dinner including the likes of lamb kofta with roasted vegetables, datterini and black olives and lemon meringue kefir cake.
Cub is what happens when you combine an award-winning mixologist with a chef famed for his zero waste approach. Cocktail extraordinaire Mr Lyan (Ryan Chetiyawardana) helms the bar whilst Doug McMaster, known for his brilliant sustainable Brighton restaurant Silo, is in charge of the kitchen. Located on Hoxton Street, this ultra-chic restaurant combines style with substance and takes sustainability seriously. The menu mixes food courses with drinks courses for an unusual and inspired dining experience. Expect to sample dishes such as Krug Champagne with water jelly and spiked herbs, or douglas fir, mint resin and Belvedere vodka.
The Blue Door Bistro at The Montague On The Gardens has been awarded two stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Image Credits: Lead image/Spring © Amber Rowlands. Cub interior © Cub. Duke of Cambridge © Rhiannon Thomas. Hawksmoor © Hawksmoor.