Our favourite ethical restaurants

These restaurants make an effort

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.

The Clerkenwell Kitchen
Clerkenwell Workshops 31 Clerkenwell Close Clerkenwell EC1R 0AT
Region: Clerkenwell
Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: 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.

Itadaki Zen
139 King's Cross Road WC1X 9BJ
Region: King's Cross
Nearest Station: King's Cross St. Pancras (0.4 miles)

AIL Says: 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.

19 Blandford Street W1U 3DH
Region: Marylebone
Nearest Station: Marble Arch (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: Ethically ethos, Michelin-star food - what's not to like?

Fifteen London
15 Westland Place N1 7LP
Region: Islington
Nearest Station: Old Street (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: 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.

  • USERS 7/10
153 Hoxton Street N1 6PJ
Region: Shoreditch
Nearest Station: Hoxton (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: 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.

The Duke Of Cambridge
30 St. Peter's Street N1 8JT
Region: Islington
Nearest Station: Angel (0.3 miles)

AIL Says: 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.

    7 Canvey Street SE1 9JA
    Region: Southwark
    Nearest Station: Waterloo East (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: 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.

    Bumpkin South Kensington
    102 Old Brompton Road SW7 3RD
    Region: South Kensington
    Nearest Station: Gloucester Road (0.2 miles)

    AIL Says: 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.

    • FRENCH
    122-124 Kensington Church Street W8 4BH
    Region: Kensington
    Nearest Station: Notting Hill Gate (0.1 miles)

    AIL Says: 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.

    The Clink at HMP Brixton
    Jebb Avenue SW2 5XF
    Region: Brixton
    Nearest Station: Brixton (0.8 miles)

    AIL Says: 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.


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