We all want to play our part in helping tackle the climate crisis through the choices we make as individual consumers, and now this can extend to where we decide to eat out in London.
Many restaurants in the capital have long sought to declare their sustainability credentials, but some are taking things further by promoting themselves as entirely zero-waste establishments.
This can involve a greater commitment to recycling and composting, to utilising reusable or biodegradable dishes and utensils, and sourcing ingredients locally and responsibly. These restaurants are particularly keen on eliminating food waste in their daily operations
If you are living in or visiting London, here are five zero-waste restaurants which are leading way in the cause greater sustainability through a zero-waste philosophy:
Founded by chef Douglas McMaster, you can find Silo in Hackney, East London. It was launched in 2014 with the intention of creating a sustainable food system to help reduce the restaurant sector’s negative impact on the planet. It uses only organic and locally-sourced produce, and its main focus is vegetable-based cuisine.
To reduce waste, Silo uses a homemade composting and recycling system. The restaurant has won numerous awards for its environmentally-friendly practices such as the Sustainability Award in 2021.
- Location: Unit 7 Queen's Yard, E9 5EN, London
- For information, visit the Silo website
Founded by Skye Gyngell, an Australian who is now one of the most admired chefs in the UK, Spring is the first London restaurant to have a policy of zero plastic in their space.
It has won numerous awards such as the National Restaurant Awards 2019 by Estrella Damm or the 50 BEST Discovery.
An important fact is that if you choose to try this extravagant restaurant, you have the option to select the Scratch Menu, which utilises ingredients that are often ignored, for a more reasonable price.
The purpose behind the dishes it offers is to highlight how tasty they can be despite appearances, leading to a better understanding of the food waste problem.
- Location: Somerset House, New Wing, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA, London.
- For more information, visit the Spring website
The Spread Eagle
The first 100% vegan pub in London, its main focus is achieving the smallest amount of waste possible, with all their meals and drinks being plant-based.
It reopened its doors in 2018 and its popularity has risen thanks to its blend of traditional East End pub mixed with modernity. The menu is always influenced by the seasons and features local produce, showing their devotion to sustainability.
- Location: 224 Homerton High Street, E9 6AS, London.
- For more information, visit the Spread Eagle website
Billing itself as ‘London Bridge’s neighbourhood bar’, this Victorian basement venue is home to a fancy but cosy bar. Its ethos is fully influenced by the zero-waste philosophy. The menu contains a whole section dedicated to cocktails where the crew has reused key components and given them a new perspective. For example, using the same fruit for cocktails, food, handsoap, air freshener and candles…
- Location: 8 Holyrood Street, SE1 2EL, London.
- For more information, visit the Nine Lives website
Last but not least, we have At Feast, a St John’s Wood restaurant with a menu that is almost waste-free thanks to its creative recipes and use of leftover food.
It was developed by Maggie Bolger, who places a high value on the origin of the ingredients. As a result, every item on the menu is obtained as locally as possible, which improves the system's sustainability and effectiveness. You can enjoy food from breakfast to evening, as well as drinks, all while tasting seasonal British produce.
- Location: 49-51 St John's Wood High St, NW8 7NJ, London.
- For more information, visit the AT Feast website
Ricardo Diaz San Telesforo is a journalism student at the London College of Communication, UAL.