Stefan Jansen Birch
Eight Eco-Friendly Restaurants in London
Are you looking for ethical, sustainable restaurants in London? Never has there been a better time to eat well in a sustainable way, with chefs leading the charge when it comes to reducing food waste, serving less and better meat, and making veg-led not only tasty but cool, in restaurant spaces that adhere to the same ethos. In fact, sustainability credentials are some of the first things many diners look for now when choosing where to eat out. With that in mind, take a look at this list of eco-friendly restaurants in London.
Chef Chantelle Nicholson has long been fighting the sustainable fight. Her veg-led approach won her an army of fans at the now shuttered Tredwells, and she has taken her love of hyper-seasonal and local produce to Apricity, her new venture in Mayfair. Expect ingredients grown in the city itself, as well as the very best of British produce, including West Country pork, Scottish seafood and vegetables from the Isle of Wight (perhaps the new ‘Garden of England)? in a restaurant space that has been created using eco-friendly materials and restorative design practices.
Former Dinner by Heston chefs Jack Croft and Will Murray take a creative approach to sustainable cooking at Fallow, utilising often discarded cuts or ingredients in surprising new ways to help you think differently about reducing waste. A case in point is their cod’s head in Sriracha butter sauce, which has become a bona fide classic, while the restaurant’s dairy cow burger is one of the best in town. Want a taste of Fallow, one of London’s best sustainable restaurants, at home? Check out this recipe for their signature fried corn ribs.
Frog by Adam Handling
Scottish chef Adam Handling is intent on reducing food waste, a mission that has seen him work with the likes of Food for Soul partner The Felix Project, which redistributes surplus food to charities and schools to tackle hunger and reduce food waste. His quest for sustainability is expressed in his food at his flagship Michelin-starred London restaurant, more broadly through sourcing (there’s even a supplier map on the menu), but also in the details, like snacks made from the by-products and offcuts of the main dishes. Expect ‘British food, inspired by London’ with plates such as Herdwick lamb with sweetbreads and morels.
It may seem counterintuitive to include a steakhouse in a list of the best sustainable restaurants in London, but the ever-popular Hawksmoor chain, which now has branches across the UK and has moved into – surely the biggest test for any steakhouse – New York, boasts some serious sustainability credentials. A three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good program is based on Hawksmoor’s continued commitment to regenerative agriculture, demonstrating that sustainable doesn’t have to mean meatless. [Various locations]
Focusing on ‘mixed-heritage’ ‘no borders’ cooking, with influences from Southeast and East Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Britain, chef Ravinder Bhogal’s Jikoni was the first independent UK restaurant to go carbon neutral, in 2021. It was achieved by switching exclusively to local sustainable suppliers, using green gas and partnering with a recycling organisation to help turn non-recyclable restaurant waste into green energy, serving as a blueprint for what can be done.
Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Imogen Davis are the great young pioneers of British wild food. The foraging pair have taken their Native concept from Covent Garden to Borough, to an island in Essex. Now tucked away inside the Browns boutique on Brook Street, they serve colourful, beautifully plated dishes dressed with whatever they’ve been able to find in the wild spots in and around the capital alongside an array of zingy cocktails. Dishes not to be missed include the classic Native wood pigeon kebab and carrots served alongside their tops in tempura.
British chef Douglas McMaster’s zero-waste journey started in Australia, then to London via Brighton. Silo is zero waste in every sense: apart from the food, which is creatively veg-led, they upcycle furniture, grow mycelium on used brewing grains for fittings, create crockery from plastic bags, mill their own flour and churn their own butter, creating a truly closed loop. The restaurant also holds a newly coveted Michelin green star. All this would be fruitless of course, if the food wasn’t outstandingly delicious, which it is.
It wouldn’t be right to talk about sustainability without mentioning St. John, given its commitment to whole-animal cooking. At the forefront of the nose-to-tail renaissance (these are techniques of old, after all), chef Fergus Henderson has influenced everyone from Anthony Bourdain to Dan Barber and his continued demonstration of how delicious the squishy parts of animals can be remains genuinely exciting. Even the fussiest of eaters have been seduced by the restaurant’s signature dish of bone marrow with parsley salad. Pass the marrow spoon.