A new era of fine dining is dawning, where some of the wasteful practices adopted in the pursuit of “perfection” are heading in the same direction as starched tablecloths and silver cloches, says Kathryn Lewis of Restaurant GL50
Beyond a few early mavericks, fine dining chefs have only recently turned their attention to the carbon footprint of their work. Go back a few years and in Michelin-rated kitchens it was commonplace to chuck away great swathes of good ingredients that weren’t quite symmetrical or of which only tiny elements were needed to create an ultra-refined dish.
After witnessing the monstrous amount of food waste in some parts of the industry, chef Jonas Lodge decided he’d do things differently when he opened Restaurant GL50 in the heart of Cheltenham. The talented chef (formerly of The Bell at Ramsbury) sources meat, fish and veg from local producers, and butchers animals in-house to minimise waste.
VISIT for confident and creative cooking from a chef who knows how to imbue every element of a dish with fireworks of flavour. The stand-out display on our visit was a sea trout main in which punchy pickled clams, gorgeously smoky bacon jam, cubes of sweet roasted squash and a salty underscore of samphire carried a perfectly torched fillet of fish to a delicious crescendo.
DON’T VISIT for “safe” cooking: middle-lane eaters won’t find a token steak or pasta dish here. Every ingredient earns its place on Jonas’ strictly seasonal menus and is carefully chosen to complement, accentuate or contrast with its fellow components. A pleasingly savoury malted cabbage ice cream, for example, was the surprising bedfellow of a glossy sliver of decadently rich dark chocolate torte.
WE LIKED the sustainable ethos behind the excellent value lunch menu. Jonas devises a daily lunch bill which makes use of unused meat, fish and veg from the previous evening’s dinner service. It’s a win-win situation as the kitchen saves too-good-to-ditch ingredients from going in the bin and diners get a cracking two course lunch for just £15.