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This collaboration between bar-whiz Ryan Chetiyawardana (creator of award-winning Southbank bar Dandelyan) and food eco-warrior Doug McMaster (from innovative zero-waste Brighton restaurant Silo) sets a new benchmark for sustainability and reuse.
Located on East London's Hoxton Street, the pared-back diner features lamps made from paper mulch and tables fashioned from recycled yoghurt pots. As you'd expect, the drinks are top notch, complementing a highly seasonal 10-course tasting menu that champions under-appreciated ingredients such as sea buckthorn and pineappleweed. It's not all serious, though – be sure to check out the cheeky bathroom signage. See lyancub.com
After winning multiple awards in its Shoreditch location, Scout relocated in September 2018 to deepest, darkest Hackney. The ethos remains the same – utilise foraged, seasonal ingredients from the British Isles to create innovative cocktails with minimal waste. Order the Haeg and you'll be drinking gin with acorn milk and rosehip; try the Prince of Wales and Repulse and you'll sample vodka distilled from a local fish and chip shop's unwanted oyster shells. Not planning a visit to London? Don't despair, a Sydney outpost is opening in the Dolphin Hotel in February. See scout.bar
THE MODERN PANTRY
The Modern Pantry doesn't shout its ethical credentials from the rooftops, instead it works quietly behind the scenes supporting initiatives such as Action Against Hunger and sourcing most of its ingredients from small, independent British suppliers. Housed in a handsome Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse in St John's Square, Clerkenwell, this casual all-day restaurant showcases the fusion cooking style of Kiwi chef Anna Hansen. Expect inventive combinations such as chorizo scotched quail eggs, krupuk crusted soft shell crab and Persian spiced Cornish pollock. See themodernpantry.co.uk
This innovative restaurant within the grounds of Brixton Prison is staffed almost entirely by inmates working towards a qualification in food and beverage. More than 200 prisoners from the program have found employment in the hospitality industry and re-offending rates have been cut by 49 per cent.
Served in an elegant, light-filled space, the upscale menu features dishes such as roast partridge with chestnut puree and braised short rib with parsnip crisps. Equally impressive is that all ingredients are seasonal and sourced from local British suppliers. The only limitation? No alcohol. See theclinkcharity.org
Every year, one third of all the food grown on the planet is thrown away. Spring restaurant's three-course "Scratch" menu aims to draw attention to this startling fact by showing it's possible to create a restaurant-quality meal from food that would otherwise be wasted. A typical offering might include soup made from potato skins and bread pudding made using yesterday's bread. The chef responsible is award-winning Aussie Skye Gyngell and the venue is a delightful, light-flooded space in Somerset House. Her next challenge? To become one of London's first plastic-free restaurants. See springrestaurant.co.uk
Started in 2008 by charity Shoreditch Trust, this canal-side gem in Hackney offers training and support to local at-risk youth. Diners can watch the trainees in action in the restaurant's open kitchen while barges glide by on the waterway outside.
The restaurant's ethical ethos also extends to its ingredients, which are all seasonal, local and organic, and its operation, which centres around an energy efficient kitchen. Offering an affordable menu of contemporary classics (think rigatoni with slow-cooked beef and warm nicoise salad), the restaurant is open weekdays for breakfast and lunch. See waterhouserestaurant.co.uk
Rob McFarland was a guest of Cub, Scout, the Modern Pantry and Visit Britain (visitbritain.com)