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Image © Waterhouse Restaurant via Facebook

The Best Ethical Restaurants in London

Nick Chen

The art of fine dining is best enjoyed with a healthy conscience. In much the same way that wine maximises the flavour of certain dishes, your meal truly does taste better in an eco-friendly establishment. These are London’s best ethical restaurants: they come with cultured menus, staff with a positive ethos, and could probably do with your support.

The Duke of Cambridge Organic Pub, Islington
It’s neither a duke nor in Cambridge, but does have a completely organic menu. In fact, launching in 1998, the independent trendsetter was the world’s first certified organic gastro-pub. The furniture is second-hand (not that you can tell), a diligent recycling process is in place, and the food waste collection is handled with an anaerobic digester – a green alternative to dumping products in landfills. (They promise: “Coca Cola or Nestlé will never own The Duke.”) Repeat visits are warranted because the “field-to-plate” menu changes each day, although the staff will probably be annoyed if you keep asking how an anaerobic digester works.

The Waterhouse, Hoxton
In addition to providing a great view, Regents Canal is used by The Waterhouse to generate renewable hydro-powered electricity. The Shoreditch eatery also takes advantage of the canal’s water temperature for an ecological heating system – location, location, location. While serving locally sourced ingredients, the aptly named restaurant collaborates with the Shoreditch Trust to train, mentor and employ disadvantaged people who would be turned away elsewhere. And after dessert, you can take a stroll outside by the canal. Perfect.

T.E.D Restaurant, King's Cross
Think.Eat.Drink launched in 2005 to advise the restaurant industry on sustainability and how to cut down on carbon wastage. Its first restaurant, which opened last year, comes in safe hands with decorations that are recycled in the good way – even the door panelling and stained-glass windows are recycled. The name “Think.Eat.Drink” is not only wise advice (thinking should always be before the drinking) but also refers to its own philosophy. For instance, there’s extra care to minimise the burning of fossil fuels in the kitchen, and ingredients are sourced locally – especially important with seafood. And when you’re making conversation before the food arrives, there’s ample time to make a terrible “T.E.D. talk” joke.

Feng Sushi, multiple locations
The fear with eating sushi is that the food either isn’t either fresh, or you’re about to become responsible for ending a species with a single mouthful. Fear not, because Feng Sushi prides itself on sustainably sourced and harvested fish. Not only does the menu feature the usual favourites, it includes a list of where each ingredient was farmed – which makes a change from the usual practice of blindly plucking dishes from a conveyer belt. If ordering takeaway, the sushi comes in biodegradable packaging with chopsticks made out of sustainable bamboo and sauce cups fashioned from sugarcane. Just remember to recycle when you’re done.

The Three Stags, Lambeth
Contrary to suspicions your hay fever gets worse every year, London doesn’t have that many bees. This is why the roof of The Three Stags is home to a beehive and 50,000 bees. No, it’s not a hipster trend that’s passed you by, but part of a campaign to protect urban bees and thus save the environment. (Bees are surprisingly essential for pollinating crops and establishing the food chain.) There’s a commitment not to serve beef as well as extra care to source sustainable ingredients, avoid pesticides, minimise waste and not sell bottled water.

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