10 best sustainable restaurants in London
Living in London, we’re spoilt for choice with the range of restaurants - too many, that if you’re like me you go to the same 5 on repeat! When we eat out we become even more detached from the source of our food and think little of the provenance and impact.
When 2/3rds of our daily invisible water consumption (around 2757 litres of water for a UK citizen), it’s important that we see beyond the food on our plate. Meat uses a considerable amount of water (15,400 litres for 1 kg of beef), yet going vegan isn’t for everyone, nor is it for me!
However, there are some things we can look out for that emphasise sustainability, for the health of our water bodies and the planet.
Wild food - has only received the gift of rain so they tend to have a low water impact. Eating wild foods gives you the peak nutritional value of food as they have lost fewer nutrients from radiation or transportation time.
Organic food- organic farming is estimated to use 30% less water than conventional farming. Conventional food in the supermarkets is sprayed with pesticides, or meat has been fed with antibiotics. Ingesting these has been found to wipe out our gut microbiome, cause resistant bacteria, and a contributing factor of disease (see Dr. Steven Cabral for more). The pesticides contaminate the soil, rivers and drinking water sources.
British produce- in most cases, buying local British produce is more environmentally friendly than foreign produce that has had to travel.
Plant-based- studies have proven that going plant-based is the number one thing you can do for the planet. However, you do not have to cut it out completely, just adopt a moderate approach to meat, having it more sparingly than 3 meals a day, 7 days a week! When out I often eat the vegan option as it awakens my tastebuds for new ways of cooking vegetables.
No fear, London is seeing new sustainability focused restaurants pop up across the city. Some of my favourites are:
Based in Notting Hill, Farmacy is leading a movement in promoting plant-based organic eating and a chemical-free approach to increase the health and wellness for both us and the planet. The Farmacy burger and nice cream brownie sundae…. making my mouth water even thinking about it! The best introduction to plant-based food in London.
Rabbit’s ever-changing menu champions wild British seasonal produce. Sustainable livestock from the owners’ farms, wild, foraged, and locally grown produce are central on their menu. They even have a range of English Wines from their own vineyard. Going to Rabbit, you are sure that farm-to-fork distance is minimal and you get the best of British food. If you’re looking for a date night spot, go no further.
The Duke of Cambridge organic pub has teamed up with Riverford, the family-run farm known for its organic veg box scheme and farm shops. Game, foraged herbs, and anything wild features on the menu, alongside responsibly sourced fish. They aim to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible so they make bread and pickles on site.
The top of my list to try after a friend’s recommendation, Nutbourne restaurant emphasises wild and local. A sister restaurant to Rabbit, owned by the Gladwin brothers, their focus is on good quality, much of it wild produce, to your fork.
Natural Kitchen is an organic deli, with several across London, the original is on Marylebone High Street. All food is responsibly sourced and exclusively from suppliers that share their philosophy of environmentally friendly produce. Enjoy eggs benedict, an array of salads, fish and chips or even a simple juice.
I’m most certainly part of the Deliciously Ella’s fan club, as she was an inspiration to make me fall in love with veggies and make them the centre piece of a meal. Her Mae Deli is certainly one to try. Not only are all the dishes plant-based but they integrate sustainability in their cutlery, water taps, and food waste. Even better they donate to water aid through their water points.
My first time in Primrose Hill, took me to Manna – a completely vegan London restaurant that ensures that all of its produce is sourced from local farmers markets, using organic ingredients where possible. I had their vegan nut roast, the first vegan Sunday ‘roast’ that I had had, and it did not disappoint.
Californian inspired, Hally’s offers responsibly sourced, farm to table ingredients. They’re renowned for their bottomless brunch with unlimited mimosas and prosecco, although I haven’t tried the ‘bottomless’ part, their salads, homemade treats, and avocado on toast are all heavenly.
Daylesford, now a household name, is supplied by the Daylesford Organic Farm in Gloucestershire: meat from their herds, organic fresh produce grown on the farm, dairy from the in-house creameries, as well as bread from its organic bakery all make their way on to the menu. Now several across London, including one close to me, meaning I am now a regular customer to eat their delicious array of salads, or simply browse around their shop to pick up one of their Morrocan stew soups!
The Harwood Arms prides itself on provenance – every dish tells a story. Currently the only Michelin-starred pub in London, they focus on game and wild food showcasing the best of British gastronomy.