Four London independents doing their bit to reduce food waste
With the Government’s recent announcement of a £15m project to cut food waste, our leftovers have become a hot topic. In recent years, chains, independents and supermarkets have all come under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon foodprint and waste as little as possible. This campaign has been particularly strong in London.
Here at Great Food Club, we understand this mission’s importance and know that wonky vegetables and staling loaves aren’t to be sniffed at. To give you a little inspiration, we’re letting you in on a few of our favourite sustainable London independents…
Gourmet Goat, Borough Market
For founders Nadia and Nick Stokes, sustainability and waste reduction are a big deal. Since they started Gourmet Goat in 2015, the Stokes have managed to develop a waste-reduction strategy by using foods commonly discarded due to lack of demand.
From kid goat to dairy calves, surplus vegetables to excess milk, Gourmet Goat makes use of these leftovers on their East-Mediterranean-style menu. Options like kid-goat kofta and slow-roast rose veal, once wrapped in fresh flatbreads or added to bowls of bulgur wheat and served with more familiar ingredients like salsas and slaws, are truly delicious, making you wonder why these meats aren’t eaten more widely.
Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London, SE1 1TL
Farmacy Kitchen, Notting Hill
Known for its do-good ethos, Farmacy Kitchen has also become a celebrity hotspot thanks to its creative take on ‘clean’ food. Featuring only plant-based, organic and chemical-free foods, Farmacy isn’t everyone’s restaurant of choice. Yet with its high-end take on hippy-chic vegan brunches and lunches, it provides many elements of a more traditional restaurants: house pancakes coated with caramelised pecans and maple syrup; and mac ‘n’ ‘cheese’ (vegan, of course) with a golden sage crumb.
With everything from falafels to kimchi bowls, Farmacy builds on the recent vegan and raw-food trends, at the forefront of modern ideas about what we ‘should’ and ‘should not’ be eating. But whether you’re a devout vegan or a meat-feast fanatic, there’s no denying Farmacy’s mission-driven commitment to reducing waste. As well as serving up delicious food, this vegan hub in the heart of Notting Hill pays close attention to minimising its fruit and veg wastage by developing intuitive dishes to make use of every aspect of its produce. By using the whole plant to make their signature burger or whizzing leftover carrot tops into their hummus, Farmacy gives a new meaning to to waste reduction. Perhaps ‘root to shoot’ is the new ‘nose to tail’ cooking after all.
74-76 Westbourne Grove, London, W2 5SH
Leiths School of Food & Wine, Shepherd’s Bush
While you’ll probably recognise ‘Leith’ as the surname of the Great British Bake Off judge, Prue Leith is better known in the food world as a restauranteur, chef and caterer. Back in 1975 she founded Leiths School of Food & Wine in an attempt to supply the catering industry with professional and well-trained chefs. While the school has come a long way since its origins, it remains a world-class cookery school.
As well as passing on great skills to its students, the school also boasts strong sustainability credentials, doing its bit to minimise food waste. From using seasonal, thoughtfully sourced ingredients to donating leftover food to City Harvest – a charity delivering food to the most vulnerable people in London – Leiths sets a fine example for schools and businesses alike.
16-20 Wendell Rd, White City, London W12 9RT
Nine Lives Bar, Bermondsey
Based in a Bermondsey basement, this drinking den employs a zero-waste policy to each ingredient it carefully selects and sources. Designed by the mixologists at Sweet & Chilli, a top London drinks agency, Nine Lives has a constantly changing cocktail menu with seasonal ingredients that are ingeniously reinvented.
Although short, their house cocktail menu makes it impossible to choose, with flavours of brandy, cherry and hazelnut or rum, almond and beetroot. After a busy weekend in this cosy bar, anything leftover is composted in the back garden, where fresh herbs, also used in the drinks, are grown.
Nine Lives develops original recipes to use every part of its ingredients: for example, lemon pith is used to make essential oils, and vanilla pods are used for infusions.
8 Holyrood St, London, SE1 2EL
Whilst these London independents are doing their bit, we can all play our part in reducing global food waste. Click here to see three of my favourite ‘leftovers’ recipes…