Five of the Best Sustainable Restaurants in the UK
When it comes to food, the UK has overcome its reputation as a culinary wasteland and is now home to some of the best restaurants in the world.
However, the way food is produced has changed hugely over the last sixty years, with an increasing amount of pesticides and genetically modified food. Whilst this way of farming has been deemed as safe, there is also much scepticism surrounding it. It enables us to have whatever food we want on our tables, whenever we want it, regardless of the season. However, in terms of our health, there are suggestions that the chemicals used cause allergies and serious illnesses.
It's a key motivator behind the organic food movement, which has swept across the UK. Initiatives such as Forty Hall Farm have sprung up to encourage sustainable and seasonal eating.
Forty Hall Organic Farm in Enfield. Image: The Food Gatherer
A rising number of restaurants and cafes have begun to take the quality and sustainability of food very seriously. Across the nation there is an exciting increase in sustainable restaurants with a conscience. Here are five that have caught our eye.
- The Clerkenwell Kitchen, London
This delightful kitchen cafe serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. Open Monday to Friday, they aim to be as ethically sound as possible. They do this by locally sourcing food, using organic produce and cooking seasonal dishes. Founders Emma and Laura say that:
“being a sustainable company is absolutely central to our ethos. We are passionate about the quality of produce that we use and know that the highest quality comes from small scale and artisan producers who share our commitment to traditional farming methods, animal welfare and fair trade.
We have found working in this way extremely rewarding and have created over the years an amazing network of like minded producers, suppliers and contractors who share our values.”
Emma & Lou, Founders of The Clerkenwell Kitchen. Image: Clerkenwell Kitchen
Set in an aesthetically pleasing environment and assisted by a great, locally-sourced drinks menu, The Clerkenwell Kitchen is well worth a visit.
- Birch, Bristol
This place is really exciting for the serious foodie. Birch is a small neighbourhood restaurant; it is essentially half kitchen, half garden. Their field is a third of an acre which serves as their market garden and orchard.
Image: Birch Bristol @birchbs3
Birch have a small and constantly changing menu which uses food from their field. They're rustic and simple with a strong Instagram following. Go and check them out. Open Wednesday - Saturday.
- Waterhouse Restaurant, Shoreditch
Situated in the ever cool hipster hood of Hackney - on the canal no less -Waterhouse is a social enterprise owned by the Shoreditch Trust. It works with residents by supporting them to improve their wellbeing, their health, social networks and opportunities.
Lunch anyone? Image: Waterhouse, Shoreditch
This amazing space provides training to individuals who have faced complex challenges in their lives by helping them transition into independent living. With a mouthwatering menu and a cookery school, this is truly a restaurant with a conscience.
Waterhouse is open Monday - Friday and caters for large group bookings and private events at the weekends.
- Riverford at the Duke of Cambridge, Islington
This is London’s first certified organic gastro pub, known as Riverford at the Duke of Cambridge. They produce a menu to complement the Devon farm and much of the produce comes from there too. Fitting in with the seasons, they not only show their conscience through their food but in the way they run their business ethically.
For example, they only use responsible energy suppliers, the furniture is either second hand, repurposed or recycled and they recycle all of their glass, cardboard, tins and paper. The gastro pub supports community initiatives and works alongside the local schools by providing work experience. The Riverford franchise is constantly growing and this pub is a great sustainable option for a wonderful Sunday lunch.
- The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green
This little gem is part of St Margaret's House, which is a unique charity supporting community in Bethnal Green, London. The cafe offers vegan food, locally-ground Fairtrade coffee, vegan cakes and juices. It’s a hub that hosts art exhibitions, live events and book clubs.
A Refreshing Green Juice at The Gallery Cafe. Image: Angela Hunt
All the profits go straight back into Margaret House, so by frequenting there you are supporting the local community. Good stuff right? The cafe itself is cozy and relaxed, with a lovely outside seating area too. They have won the Time Out Love London Award for three years running so you’ll be also enjoying award winning food when you visit.
This small list of sustainable restaurants is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more around the UK that have joined in with producing and service food with a conscience. Long may it continue in our humble opinion.
Written by Angela Hunt for Grace & Green. Grace & Green is a revolutionary new hygiene company which is empowering women by connecting them with period products which are good for the body as well as sustainable for the planet.
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