Eating-out anxiety is real among the eco-conscious. Does the chef care about climate change? Is the kitchen using pointless plastics? Has produce been sourced ethically? Sustainability questions needn’t put you off your supper, however. These restaurants are minimising waste, nurturing renewable approaches to cooking and repurposing leftovers.

Eat sustainably at London’s most environmentally friendly restaurants.

Silo

Trailblazer Douglas McMaster opened the world’s first zero-waste restaurant in Brighton in 2014, way before eco-consciousness became cool and “sustainability” a culinary buzzword. Now, the pioneering concept has decamped to London’s hipper-than-hip Hackney Wick. All dishes on the daily-changing, six-course tasting menu are designed with the bin in mind and the entire supply chain – from farm to fork – produces zero waste. The restaurant mills its flour (the sourdough here is divine) and churns it butter – smear it on said loaf dip the bread into the blue-cheese sauce that comes with cooked-over-coals artichokes. Anything that can’t be eaten is put into the high-tech composting system. The ethos extends to Silo’s interiors: crockery is made from recycled glass; plates are formed from plastic bags and furniture grown from mycelium – a raw material praised for its renewable properties.

Spring

Spring’s pioneering Scratch Menu pays homage to Skye Gyngell’s Australian roots – “scratch tea” is an Aussie term used to describe cooking something out of the leftovers in your fridge. The pre-theatre menu (available daily between 5.30pm and 6.30pm) makes the most of waste produce that wouldn’t usually make it onto the supermarket shelves, let alone onto fine-dining plates. More than 40 per cent of fruit and vegetables are thrown away in the UK because they’re too ugly, too big or too small – that’s before they even reach a shop. Getting ahead of the green curve, Spring gives the wonky veg a well-deserved place on the plate. Expect comforting classics such as beetroot tops, potato-skin soups and yesterday’s sourdough with a spoonful of last year’s gooseberry jam. In a bid to rid plastics from the kitchen pass and become one of London’s first plastic-free restaurants, the restaurant is experimenting with biodegradable cling film and single-use plastics are a no-go.

The Spread Eagle

One of East London’s oldest boozers became the first fully vegan pub back in January 2018. Filled with all the trimmings of a gastropub – think mustard-velvet sofas, fountain-pen-blue panelled walls, plenty of plants and a dog-friendly dining policy – a kitchen taken over by Mexican street-food stars Club Mexicana and vegan-friendly brews that don’t contain any finings (aka fish bladders). Nevertheless, a place with barefoot hippies drinking chia-seed-flavoured hops, this is not. Food is served to share; order the loaded nachos covered in meat-free chorizo, dairy-free cheese and a salsa with more kick than a tequila slammer. The beer-battered tofish (a fish finger sandwich sans fish) with crispy nori and the jackfruit carnitas that tear apart like their pulled pork equivalent, shouldn’t be missed either. Add the deep-fried chilli-chocolate ice cream for dessert and even die-hard carnivores will be crying out “holy mole” by the end of the meal.

Ugly Butterfly

A “waste not, want not” ethos can be found at the core of chef Adam Handling’s ever-growing empire. His first sustainable site, Bean & Wheat, uses byproducts from its neighbours The Frog, in Hoxton, to pickle, preserve and poach produce into salads, sandwiches and pastries. Now his latest venture sees the scraps from his Sloane Street restaurant bypassing the bin and becoming standout plates. Cheese doughnuts get an upgrade with leftovers from last night’s cheese boards (the cheesier the better in our opinion), yesterday’s bread is baked with bananas and smothered with chicken butter and slurp-worthy lobster soups come deliciously thick like a bowl of refined clam chowder. It’s guilt-free food that’s (gloriously) filthy. Continuing to champion change, a percentage of the profits are donated to The Felix Project, a London-based charity that creates food parcels for vulnerable people and underprivileged families.

Native

Cutting waste but not corners, chef Ivan Tisdall-Downes scours the British countryside in search of the finest wild game and forgotten foraged foods. Formerly occupying an intimate space – just 25 seats – in Neal’s Yard, the restaurant recently upgraded to a brand-spanking new Borough site. Bigger doesn’t always mean better but Native is, well, absolutely beautiful. Distressed wooden tables, hanging bulbs, white wood-panelled walls and a scattering of silver birches provide a pretty contrast to the primeval, game-heavy plates. Momentarily stealing the spotlight from the tasting menu is a selection of “chef wasting” snacks created from offcuts from the previous day. Chuck-away canapés include bites such as Dorset mackerel with salt-baked beans and tart rhubarb ketchup, pickled mussels and compost pakoras with chunks of squash to sweeten the explosive spices. Native’s pigeon kebab is something of a signature dish; the blushing breast topped with pickled cabbage is miles away from the tough meat you’re used to scoffing in your Uber home.

Cub

A collaboration between cocktail connoisseur Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan of London’s best bar in the world, Dandelyan), green king Douglas McMaster (driving force behind “binning is sinning” Silo) and Dr Arielle Johnson (former in-house scientist of no-chance-you’re-getting-a-reservation Noma), this Hoxton hangout is a pretty formidable force. Would-be waste items are turned into a 13-dish tasting menu mixed with (sustainably sourced) booze and food such as wild garlic and greens plated with kid, sour rhubarb and beetroot tart and heady concoctions of wild pine and pear. The retro spaces – furnished with tables made from yoghurt pots and clay walls that filter the air – give off serious house-party vibes. Imagine this as your friend’s place, that is if your friend is a first-class food scientist with a Breaking Bad-style booze laboratory in the basement – which is, actually, kind of true as Mr Lyan’s experimental cocktail bar, Super Lyan, is downstairs.

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