Sunday, February 5, 2012


One day sustainability will be a critical aspect of all restaurants, but there are already many places to eat in the capital that are leading us towards a greener future.
Here are some of our favourite eco-friendly restaurants, but call us to find out more about environmentally sound eating, both at home and throughout the UK.

Acorn House

69 Swinton Street, London WC1X 9NT
Acorn House - and Water House (10 Orsman Road, London N1 5QJ), its younger sibling - will persuade even the most hardened sceptics that sustainability and good dining aren't mutually exclusive. Everything at this North London venue has been designed to lessen its effect on the environment: the sharp style of the dining room belies the fact that it's built from recycled materials; the kitchen composts or recycles 100 per cent of its waste; electricity is generated from green sources; and its ingredients are bought from environmentally responsible suppliers.
Meanwhile, the food that emerges from its kitchen is easily the equal of restaurants with a far larger carbon footprint. Basil-scented sea bream with pancetta, duck confit and char-grilled mackerel are among the dishes that feature on its ever-changing menu, proving you don't need to compromise on quality to conserve the environment.

Konstam at the Prince Albert

2 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NA
Eighty per cent of the ingredients at Oliver Rowe's cosy King's Cross dining room have been grown or reared within the area covered by the Tube network, and the remainder are sourced as locally and responsibly as possible.
The place names on his modern British menu testify to the fertility of the urban landscape and the kitchen's commitment to locally sourced produce: Amersham pork chop, Mersea plaice, Waltham Abbey chicken and Mill Hill salad. Rowe has put together an admirably diverse menu given his self-imposed restrictions.


152-154 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3AT
‘Livestock farming is far more energy intensive than arable farming,' says green expert Jerrard Watts. ‘If you go veggie or vegan you will cut your carbon emissions by far more than if you swap your gas-guzzling 4x4 for an eco-friendly car.' But meat eaters who think a vegetarian diet means dull dining should book a table at East London's Saf, a vegan restaurant that will impress even the most committed carnivore.
Chef Chad Sarno is a pioneer of the raw food movement. His inspired menu features ‘cheeses', ‘pastas' and ‘caviar', all of which are made without dairy, fish or meat, and many of which are served raw or at low temperatures to preserve their flavour. His creations are constantly surprising, making Saf one of the capital's most memorable dining experiences. Once you've seen what Sarno can do with root vegetables you'll never look at a carrot the same way again.

The Duke of Cambridge

30 St Peter's Street, London N1 8JT
The UK's first certified organic gastropub has impeccable eco-credentials that have won plaudits from the likes of the RSPCA and the Soil Association. Its fish-buying policy is approved by the Marine Conservation Society, its electricity is generated from sustainable sources, and the restaurant composts all its leftovers.
But the Duke of Cambridge is as popular with food critics as it is with conservationists. Slow-roast mutton, rabbit stew and beetroot soup are among the satisfying dishes on its modern European menu, which is accompanied by a wide selection of wines and ales - all organic of course.

The Clerkenwell Kitchen

27-31 Clerkenwell Close, London EC1R 0AT
This unpretentious North London dining room was Time Out's best sustainable restaurant of 2008. Its homely British dishes are made from seasonal fruit and veg and ethically sourced meat, and it chooses suppliers based on their commitment to ethical business, traditional farming techniques and fair trade.
The menu changes daily: it features dishes such as rabbit and pork terrine, charred squid and roasted partridge, and its wines and ales are organic. There's a take away service too so diners can bring the kitchen into their own homes.

The Gate

51 Queen Caroline Street, London W6 9QL
Brothers Adrian and Michael Daniel opened the Gate in 1989 and since then their calm, light dining room has been one of London's most celebrated vegetarian restaurants, winning fame for its zingingly fresh, globally inspired menu. The Indo-Iraqi potato cakes, aubergine schnitzel, root vegetable bourguignon and tortillas take their influences from distant shores but the kitchen ensures all ingredients are sourced with the environment in mind. It recycles waste and, where possible, deals with suppliers that offset their carbon emissions.
The Gate is also staunchly committed to eating the seasons, holding regular ‘food fests' throughout the year that serve up the best of the produce that's in bloom. Call us for more information about events at the Gate or seasonal eating, or to book a table in its courtyard for an al fresco lunch on a balmy summer afternoon.


280 West End Lane, London NW6 1LJ
Scottish rope-grown mussels, New Forest partridge, Hastings mackerel, Cornish crab - a glance at Walnut's menu reveals that seasonal British produce is at the core of its sustainability ethos, but this West Hampstead venue's eco-policies extend beyond its open kitchen and smart dining room.
Walnut uses plant-based cleaning products to curb the release of harmful substances into the environment, constantly reviews its energy use and recycles as much of its waste as possible. It even collects waste oil and fats for use as bio-diesel and encourages diners to donate their own leftover kitchen fats for recycling.


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