From fish and chip shops to top restaurants, the Sustainable Restaurant Association gives us the lowdown on the best eateries that care about where their fish comes from.
In a survey for the Sustainable Restaurant Association in early 2018, Harden’s restaurant guide found nine out of 10 diners wanted restaurants to create menus that help them make sustainable choices. There’s a huge public willingness to use our appetites wisely, but many people need a helping hand when navigating these complicated issues. You don’t really want to play a game of 20 questions with the waiter either, do you? The SRA is growing the number of sustainable places to eat in the UK and making them easier to find and enjoy.
If your head spins like a mackerel on a line just trying to choose a seafood dish, you’re not alone. Contradictory headlines do nothing to clear the murky waters: should I be ordering wild salmon or farmed, or maybe no salmon at all? Has cod made a sufficient comeback to be battered and served on a regular basis? It can be hard to even know which questions to ask.
Here are five sustainable fish restaurants that’ll help you make the choice much easier.
Wild salmon, farmed salmon, or no salmon at all? This fishy staple presents diners with a dilemma. Claw in Kingly Court on Carnaby Street is one of a growing number of restaurants offering salmon-lovers a delicious way out. Drawn from the clear waters of the spring-fed chalk streams of the Rivers Itchen and Test in Hampshire, Chalk Stream trout is surfacing on more and more menus to delicious effect, few more so than Claw’s. Head to Claw or make Head Chef, Joshua Levy’s recipe at home: Cured Chalk Stream trout, house ricotta and tomatoes.
Described by critic Giles Coren as “everything a modern local restaurant should be”, Lussmanns makes a short trip out of London to Hertfordshire well worth the trip. Awarded as 3 star champions by the Sustainable Restaurant Association and two-time winners of Sustainable Small Restaurant Group of the Year, Lussmans is a sustainable-seafood lover’s paradise. Embracing fish offcuts and unloved UK fish varieties, from cod cheeks to south-coast pollock, mackerel (pictured) to line-caught haddock. Order the MSC-certified fishcake, served with spinach, parsnip and beurre blanc, a permanent fixture on both the main and children’s menu.
Olley’s is something of a south London institution, serving all the classic chippy favourites like haddock and cod. But what marks out the Herne Hill restaurant from many, is that those varieties are all Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified. What does that mean? Their fish all come from healthy stocks, caught in ways that has minimal impact on the marine ecosystem of our oceans, from line-caught haddock to organic salmon from sustainable salmon farm, Loch Duart, to Devon hake and Cornish sardines. So you can enjoy your favourite fish and chips guilt-free.
Love sushi but hate the environmental price tag? Sustainable fish restaurant, Moshi Moshi, swaps the dwindling tuna stocks for sustainable salmon, Cornish crab and sustainable eel, among other UK-caught fish in this authentically Japanese restaurant near Liverpool Street station. Moshi Moshi was founded by Caroline Bennet – a woman on a mission to save our oceans. At the forefront of campaigns to protect fish stocks, she’s won numerous awards, was lauded as a 2009 international Seafood Champion by SeaWeb’s Seafood Choices, and launched Sole of Discretion; selling ethical, locally-sourced fish that supports local fishing communities. Try their Korean Sashimi bowl with Loch Duart salmon and the day’s Cornish catch.
When it comes to packaging, there’s a popular Bristol restaurant (now in Oxford too) making take-out way less wasteful. Instead of hard-to-recycle plastic containers, Thali delivers in bright shiny tiffin tins. Opt for the seafood thali and you’ll be treated to a gorgeous Goan curry made with British pollock – the sustainable alternative to cod. Want to know why it’s a good idea to support Britain’s lesser known fish? Read more here.