London is packed with incredible places to eat, from world-famous restaurants to lip-smacking street food, secret supperclubs to top-notch takeaways. But which ones support local farmers, champion sustainable meat or more veggies, which cut food waste and which support people in need? We’ve rounded up the London restaurants, cafés, street food stalls and supperclubs that tick those ethical and sustainable credentials.
The best for… Meat
Gourmet Goat, Borough Market
How many of us eat goat’s cheese? Drink milk? Eat lamb? Most of us tick at least one of those boxes. But how many of us eat billy goats? It’s estimated a whopping 90,000 male kid goats are culled at birth because they are surplus to dairy farmers’ needs. But one London eatery is finding a market for these goats that would otherwise be wasted. Gourmet Goat offers street food fare that champions sustainably-sourced, lesser known – and often wasted – meat, from kid goat to mutton and hogget. With dishes rooted in East Mediterranean food culture, their dishes range from kid goat koftes to mutton slaw and hummus. Sold.
The best for… Society
Better health bakery, Haggerston
Sustainability doesn’t just mean food, its means people too. And the Better Health Bakery in East London really puts people at the heart of their baking. As part of the Hackney-based mental health charity The Centre for Better Health, the bakery is a social enterprise providing trainee placements for adults recovering from mental ill health. The team bake sourdough and pastries every day, with a selection of sandwiches at lunchtime from Tuesday to Thursday, and pizza on Friday.
The best for… Seasonal and local produce
Henrietta Inman at Yardarm, Walthamstow
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Fuelled by a breakfast of our multigrain porridge, this week with a pear, apple and last of the quince compote; and wholegrain @duchessfarms einkorn soda bread with @fenfarmdairy butter and fresh homemade marmalade, it’s time to get baking the first Norfolk forced rhubarb of the year for us, PINK JOY, with a little bay, orange, @nielsenmassey vanilla bean paste and @billingtonssugar golden caster sugar. 💕🍊💕🌿💕 You’ll find it on our cake and tart counter this week, for pudding on our evening menu… and pickling some too for next week’s Valentine’s menu… more on that soon 🙂 now time to get back in the kitchen with one of my favourite ingredients and some of my mega favourite gals and super ✨ team, 💖@oliviabenbanaste and @brilliantbake 💖! Hope you all have a lovely evening… and pink is involved… always! Tehe haha! 💗 #Pink #Rhubarb #EatTheSeasons #EatLocal #TeamWorkMakesTheDreamWork #PinkIsTheAnswer 💞
Pastry chef, cookbook author and cookery teacher Henrietta Inman is better known for her wholefood baking books Clean Bakes and The Natural Baker. But last September, she set up residency at Yardarm in Walthamstow where you can expect a menu that champions all the ingredients that the British countryside has to offer (as well as a fair few from Farmdrop’s farmers). From seasonal sweet and savoury tarts and home-baked heritage grain soda breads to seasonal twists on porridge and beautiful fresh salads. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The best for… Vegetarian and vegan
The Skip Garden, Kings Cross
Urban growing project, youth charity and vegetarian cafe The Skip Garden does veg like no one else. With the majority of their produce organically sourced, The Skip use a variety of whole grains, a rainbow assortment of veg, and organic free range dairy and eggs. Always with a soup, salad and special on the menu there is lots to choose from, plus awesomely veg-centric vegan options. Don’t forget to check out their sweet treats. You can’t beat their delicious orange marmalade cake. Open daytimes only.
The best for… Waste
Save the Date Café, Dalston
It’s estimated a huge 1.9 millions tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry each year. At the same time, 8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to afford to eat. To us it sounds like a broken system and to the team at Save the Date Café it does too.
Save the Date Café’s goal is to rescue as much delicious, edible food destined for landfill as possible, and convert it into delicious meals. ‘Waste’ doesn’t mean gone-off food. It might be food that shops are binning as a result of mismanaged stock or arbitrary best-before dates. Their café in Dalston is run on a ‘pay as you feel basis’ to help feed people who really need feeding, as well as those venturing down to the café for leisure.
The best for… More veg, better meat
The Good Egg, Stoke Newington & Soho
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Soho’s super popular (and super #healthy) G R A I N B O W L: . Roasted roots, seasonal greens, crispy chickpeas, red kraut, @soomfoods tahini + a soft boiled egg. Add merguez sausage and/or halloumi, keep it plain or make it 🥗 V E G A N On the menu @ #Soho this lunchtime! . TAG 🏷 your lunch buddies ⤵️ . #thegoodegg
Born into London’s food scene in 2013, The Good Egg were runners-up in The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good Awards 2018, rewarding the most innovative ways of flipping the menu to focus on more veg. And you can really see why. Their veg-centric menu heroes the likes of tahini-cheese Cauliflower, colourful grain bowls and epic egg bagels. And when they do do meat, they pay extra attention to sourcing it properly. Expect mutton shawarma, pastrami-cured trout and hogget merguez. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The best for… Fish
Olley’s Fish, Herne Hill
A finalist in the 2019 National Fish and Chip awards, Olley’s Fish have taken some big steps towards sustainability in their restaurant. They changed their Bangladesh tiger prawns to wild MSC-certified Spencer Gulf king prawns, switched wild halibut to farmed and removed swordfish from their menu altogether. They also offer MSC-certified cod, haddock, queen scallops, Cornish sardines and north Atlantic cod. Of course eating fish out should be a treat, as with any meat. However when you do fancy a cheeky fish and chips, maybe Olleys in Herne Hill should be your pit stop!
The best for… Highlighting issues
The Sustainable Food Story
The Sustainable Food Story duo do pretty much what they say on the tin. They explore and tell stories of food, where it comes from and how we can eat better for our health and the planet. The ex-lab-meat scientist-cum-farmer and eco-chef-turned-nutritionist duo have been busy. This past year saw them appear on BBC’s The Million Pound Menu, chatting about seasonality, plant-led eating and pasture-fed diary, create a seasonal vegetarian supper at the British Library, run a milling workshop for students with the Wellcome Trust and a bunch more delicious sustainable suppers around London. Read more on why we think they’re great here and check out one of their upcoming supperclubs.
Planning a city break? Check out Farmdrop’s sustainable eating guide to Bristol.