From organic ingredients and minimising waste to nose-to-tail cooking and plant-centric dishes, chefs are becoming increasingly conscious about their carbon footprint and finding creative ways to cut it. For incredible cooking that doesn’t cost the earth, check out these sustainable restaurants in the South West
The Bull Inn, Devon
Geetie Singh-Watson (pictured top) was banging the green drum long before she opened this ethical pub at the top of Totnes High Street. In 1998, she opened the world’s first certified-organic pub in London and in 2009 was awarded an MBE for Services to the Organic Pub Trade.
At The Bull Inn, which opened in 2019, she continues to champion green initiatives and organic food. She works closely with head chef Johnny Tillbrook who creates seasonal dishes which put veg centre stage. Meat and fish do make an appearance on the daily menus but play more of a supporting role to the plant-based ingredients sourced from like-minded producers.
There are nine beautifully furnished bedrooms above the inn (The Bull scooped The Times and Sunday Times Best Eco Hotel of the Year 2020) if you’re tempted to turn a sustainable supper into an eco staycation.
Restaurant GL50, Gloucestershire
When Raymond Blanc-trained chef Jonas Lodge opened his first solo venture he wanted to do things differently. At his 35-cover restaurant in the heart of Cheltenham he takes a no-waste approach when devising Restaurant GL50’s informal fine-dining menus.
Every last inch of the British ingredients Jonas sources is put to work in inventive dishes such as raw beef with fermented parsnip, apple and smoked ox heart. The chef focuses on buying only whole fish and large cuts of meat, which he utilises so nothing ends up in the bin.
Expect adventurous plates which nudge you out of your comfort zone (Jonas worked under Heston Blumenthal, hence his boundary-pushing style). The GL50 surprise tasting menu is a great way to explore dishes you wouldn’t usually choose.
New Yard Restaurant, Cornwall
This rustic restaurant within the Trelowarren Estate near Helston will go down in history as one of the six South West restaurants to be awarded an inaugural green star by the Michelin Guide.
New Yard head chef Jeffrey Robinson is passionate about provenance, and sources many of the ingredients for his innovative dishes from the estate’s walled kitchen garden. What he and the team can’t grow themselves is supplied by ethically focused local producers.
The best way to sample his minimal-waste menus is at one of the relaxed supper evenings (Wednesdays to Saturdays). The line-up of dishes changes daily depending on what Jeffrey and team have picked, foraged and sourced, and includes the likes of aged duck with fennel puree, creamed kale and wild garlic scapes.
Poco Tapas Bar, Bristol
Poco Tapas Bar started out as a roaming pop-up, serving flavour-packed food to festivalgoers around the country. In 2011, founders Tom Hunt, Jen Best and Ben Pryor established a bricks-and-mortar venue in the heart of Stokes Croft and today it’s one of the city’s best loved restaurants.
Sustainability is at the core of the Poco operation. The team select suppliers depending on their slow-food ethics, buying direct from local farmers and producers whenever possible. Once the ingredients are in the open kitchen, head chef Ian Clerk and team whip them up into creative dishes which minimise waste and maximise flavour.
There are two set menus to choose from (Nose to Tail or Root to Fruit) which are adapted daily to reflect what’s in season and at its best.
Ugly Butterfly, Cornwall
‘There’s no such thing as an ugly butterfly. There’s no such thing as food waste’ is the intriguing motto of this restaurant and bar.
In 2019, award-winning young chef Adam Handling established the original Ugly Butterfly restaurant in Chelsea as a way to turn waste food from his neighbouring restaurant Adam Handling Chelsea at Belmond Cadogan Hotel into delicious sustainable dishes. The sister restaurant opened near St Ives in August 2021.
The bar at the Cornish venue uses trims and offcuts from the restaurant to make a line-up of creative bar snacks and drinks.
Like 5 of the best sustainable restaurants in the South West? Check out our roundup of sustainable staycations here.
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