These days sustainability doesn’t mean sacrificing quality as great produce can be found locally or through fair trade importers. Partake of some fantastic food as you do your bit for the environment by choosing your dining destination with a little help from our friends at the Sustainable Restaurant Association, who’ve assessed all of these restaurants across the board…
“Unique flavours focussed on nutritious ingredients from Peru” help win a thumbs-up for this “trendy” Shoreditch newcomer; “the clubby downstairs is the place to sit”.
“Extraordinary to have trees, streams and flamingos, up above Kensington High Street!” – these “cool” (“blingy”) 8th-floor dining rooms, overlooking the roof gardens, make “such a romantic summer location”; perhaps best to visit for lunch, when there’s a “very good-value 3-course set option”.
“Good luck to the whole project!”; you too can be a – temporary – guest of Her Majesty at Brixton nick, at this intriguing new rehabilitation project; “the food’s nothing special, but the experience is quite something”.
“Absurdly juicy” steaks and “first-class cocktails” underpin huge acclaim for Huw Gott & Will Beckett’s “casual and laid-back” temples to meat; even fans admit prices are “eye-watering”, though, and ratings are beginning to fall some way behind those of its main rival, Goodman.
“Excels in every way”; this “enterprising” and “pleasant” favourite, near Balham station, is a “wonderful” and “sensibly priced” operation – “more relaxed than Chez Bruce, but snapping at its heels in terms of quality”.
A Brockwell Park institution, still celebrated for “excellent” fish ’n’ chips; “managing to sustain its quality over the years is a great achievement – long may it stay the course!”
With its “buzzing bar on the ground floor, upstairs dining room and dining conservatory”, this Maida Vale gastropub wins all-round praise, including for its gourmet food at “neighbourhood prices”.
“Classy” and “inventive” food in a “great countryside location” is the formula for success at this “wonderful” gastropub, not far from Henley; service, though, “sometimes lacks the finesse you see in the food”.
“Worth the 300 mile round trip!”; for “spectacular” food in a “stunning” setting, Raymond Blanc’s “impeccable” country house hotel and dining room offers “a sublime experience” that’s “worth pushing the boat out for”; “make sure you leave time to explore the gardens before dinner!”
“A little out of the way, but worth the effort to visit”, this New Forest country house dining room wins particular acclaim for its “very chilled” style and “enthusiastic” staff, although the “impeccably sourced” food (with pork dishes a speciality) is good too.
SRA Rating: 3 stars
“Giles Coren was right!” – with its “attractive staff, attractive menu and attractive prices”, this “bustling” not-for-profit café is seen by reporters as a worthy antidote to the city’s “many chain eateries”; it offers “delicious” organic fare, which comes with a “sustainable edge”.
“This Gallic charmer never waivers!”; this “secret gem” of a New Town bistro is “a perfect place for older romancing”, and the “refined” cuisine it offers is realised to generally “reliable” standards too.
With its “postmodern industrial setting”, this former costume store, near the Traverse Theatre, is now the “coolest” venue in town; sample its “imaginative” menu (strong on “unusual locally-foraged vegetables”), and then “relax with a post-prandial drink by the wood-burning stove”.
Fewer reports of late on a city-centre basement that has had quite a name for its fish and seafood in recent years; it’s still tipped for its “competent” cooking, albeit “at a price”, but there has been the odd gripe about “unexciting” fare of late. Review it in this year’s survey.
“Without a doubt, one of Britain’s best restaurants”; this renowned dining room “spells luxury from the moment you enter its fashionably muted and spacious interior”, and its cuisine is “truly outstanding” – it is also “frighteningly expensive”, though, and there were a couple of “anticlimactic” reports this year.
“A little gem of a restaurant tucked away in this small village” – using “locally-sourced” and “seasonal” ingredients, it “maintains a consistently high standard all year round”; the café offshoot (with sea view) is “above average” too.
“Set in a restored orangery in a lovely walled garden, with views across the valley to the Mendip Hills”, this ‘ethical’ restaurant “uses only local produce, a lot of it from their own garden”; no good if the food doesn’t measure up, of course, but all reports say it’s “original”, with “vivid flavours”, and “served with love”.
“In a stunning location overlooking the sea”, Alex Aitken’s contemporary-style venture continues to win praise for its “really good choice of super-fresh fish straight from the quay”; “superb puddings” too.
A “most memorable experience all-round” – the “magisterial” dining room of this large country house hotel makes a “very romantic” backdrop in which to enjoy Stephen Bulmer’s “exquisite” cuisine, matched with a “proper” wine list.
Top tips for sustainable eating…
Here’s a smattering of environmentally friendly restaurants that haven’t yet been reviewed in our annual survey. If you would like to review any of these restaurants in our 2016 survey, please take part here.
Sustainability’ always seems to have been a bit of a King’s Cross speciality; Jamie Grainger-Smith made quite a hit of a sustainable restaurant with Acorn House (now RIP), so perhaps he can do the same again at this summer-2014 newcomer.
Brighton has embraced former St John Bread and Wine chef Douglas McMaster’s radical zero waste, pre-industrial food vision, with tables and chairs made of chipboard and plates fashioned from recycled plastic bags. Homemade is taken to the extreme here with butter, yoghurt and curd all made in house. They even mill their own flour from rare ancient varieties of wheat for the superlative sourdough.
We hear good things about this tapas joint (founded by a former Moro chef) which aims to ‘create a sustainable business model’ by sourcing produce locally from organic farms and ethically from fair trade importers.