Ethics are tricky buggers.
Let's take the humble beefburger... Is it good to fly in beef from the Sudan because it supports their ailing economy? ...or is it bad because it racks up rather a lot of those pesky food miles? ...after all they produce beef in neighbouring Essex, Sussex and Middlesex too? And should we be eating beef at all, anyway? What about animal welfare?
Yet if we scrutinise the ethics of everything and their incumbent consequences would we end up eating anything at all apart from the lowly garden pea? And do garden peas not deserve their own rights?
It's a minefield. Most importantly though, it's about balance and consideration. So here's our list of restaurants that we believe have put an awful lot of thought into the ethics of serving up something jolly tasty on your plate.
Our favourite ethical restaurants
Ethics are tricky buggers.
The menu at this Japanese restaurant is vegan and pretty much every element of the décor has been made by hand or rescued from somewhere. The name refers to the Japanese philosophy of sustainability and self-sufficiency, and this ethos is evident on the eco-friendly, seasonal menu.
Ethically ethos, Michelin-star food - what's not to like?
Open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, the menu is kept short and changes daily to ensure freshness. Ingredients are organic wherever possible and sourced from small producers, and chutneys, pastries and breads are made on the premises.
Jamie Oliver’s first restaurant was founded in 2002, funded by his charity the Fifteen Foundation. Each year the restaurant takes on 15 trainees between the ages of 18 and 24 and trains them in all aspects of cooking. The food may be on the pricey side, but the Italian dishes on offer are tasty and innovative, plus the profits are ploughed back into the foundation.
Cub follows a simple premise of bringing people together through great food and drink. They use considered ingredients and apply sustainable methods to create delicious stuff that does good too.
Food, wine and beer are all organic at this pub, the only one in the UK to be certified by the Soil Association. Ingredients are sourced from small, local producers, and the chefs even pop into local schools to help teach pupils how to run a kitchen.
The owners of Leon co-founded the Sustainable Restaurant Association, a non-profit organisation which acts as an advisory body to restaurants where issues of sustainability and eco-friendliness are concerned. Leon’s healthy fast food menu uses free range, fair trade ingredients that are locally sourced wherever possible.
Clarke’s has been serving Kensington’s smart set since 1984. The daily-changing menu features British dishes made with carefully selected ingredients, and no artificial additives are used in the shop’s range of products.
Ingredients are sourced from small producers, wines are organic or bio-dynamic, and their efforts have resulted in awards from the Soil Association and the Sustainable Restaurant Association. As the name suggests, both the menu and the décor are country-inspired.
Eating at the Clink is quite an experience; it’s located within HMP Brixton, so to get through to the dining area you need to clear security and leave all electronic devices behind. The restaurant is staffed by current inmates, the aim being to offer valuable training and experience in the hospitality industry to reduce rates of re-offending. The menu is modern European, with dishes like ravioli with wild mushrooms and truffle foam.