10 innovative restaurants championing sustainability in the UK

Petersham Nurseries holds a MICHELIN Green Star, Food Made Good award and Ocean Champion Badge for its commitment to sustainable living. Credit: Petersham Nurseries

A green revolution is afoot in the United Kingdom. Trailblazing chefs and restaurateurs are embracing hyper-local sourcing and zero-waste techniques, investing in regenerative agriculture and pioneering social initiatives, and participating in the race to become carbon neutral (and eventually, net zero). 

A fine-dining restaurant in Cornwall turns fruits and vegetable trimmings into imaginative cocktails. On the Worcestershire-Herefordshire border, a MICHELIN-starred restaurant ensures almost everything—from the honey to the steak knives—is produced onsite. A humble farm hut in Devonshire mushroomed into a nationally acclaimed food hall. 

These ten spots put sustainability at the front and centre of their operations. Read on for a guide to the UK’s most eco-friendly restaurants to book now

 

Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling (St Ives)

A glass-fronted restaurant space with panoramic St. Ives Bay views

Enjoy panoramic views of St. Ives Bay at Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling, at Carbis Bay Estate in Cornwall. Credit: Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling

A zero-waste philosophy steers chef Adam Handling’s fine-dining restaurant at Carbis Bay Estate in Cornwall. The contemporary glass-fronted space offers panoramic St. Ives Bay views and serves the freshest locally sourced produce, with an emphasis on using every part of the ingredient. The five- and seven-course menus feature a course devoted solely to crab (mixed with crab oil, horseradish, and grated apple in a seaweed tartlet) with an optional course dedicated to sturgeon. Any trimmings not used in the mains are transformed into creative cocktails such as the Time Well Spent, made with spent local coffee, tequila, discarded cascara (dried coffee cherry skins), and sweet vermouth. 

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Pensons at Netherwood Estate (Tenbury Wells)

Pensons at Netherwood Estate is an ingredient-led, MICHELIN-starred restaurant that prides itself on an estate-to-plate ethos. That philosophy comes courtesy of head chef Chris Simpson, whose kitchen garden supplies the restaurant with produce that’s picked mere hours before service. Cold-pressed rapeseed oil from the estate replaces olive oil and onsite beehives provide a year-round supply of honey. Damsons and sloes are picked from the hedgerows, and wild garlic and nettles are gathered from the woods.  Even the restaurant’s interiors are made on the property: Chair coverings, napkins, and willow lamp shades are woven onsite and steak knives with walnut handles are forged from fallen timber. Come for lunch or dinner, or immerse yourself in the rural splendour by staying in the two rooms set across the restaurant’s courtyard.

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Jikoni (London, Marylebone)

An overhead shot of a selection of plates of food plus a cocktail and coffee on a dark wooden table.

Jikoni was the first independent restaurant in the UK to achieve carbon neutral status and its veg-centric menu showcases produce grown on its dedicated biodynamic farm.
Credit: Jikoni

Jikoni in Marylebone is a cultural melting pot of a restaurant by chef Ravinder Bhogal. The menu draws on various immigrant cuisines, blending flavours from South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, and Britain to mirror the chef’s global heritage. The restaurant is also an environmental trailblazer: Jikoni switched its energy to solar, wind, and green biogas in 2019 and was the first independent restaurant in the UK to achieve carbon-neutral status and certification in 2021. It also has an exclusive relationship with a biodynamic farm that supplies regeneratively grown produce for its veg-centric menu. Jikoni’s zero-waste dishes feature stock flavoured with carrot tops and other odds and ends from vegetables. A beloved dumpling dish made with unpeeled carrots and stale bread is especially comforting and a prime example of Jikoni’s eco-friendly DNA.

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Hawksmoor (Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, and various locations in London)

Wooden door entrance to a restaurant with ‘Hawksmoor’ gold letter signage above.

Hawksmoor achieved Carbon Neutral Status in 2022 and has raised over £987,000 for its long-term charity partner, Action Against Hunger.
Credit: Hawksmoor

Steakhouse and sustainable seafood restaurant group Hawksmoor places a special emphasis on sourcing the best ingredients and letting them shine. That unwavering mission led it to open successful outposts in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dublin, and even New York and earned it consistent accolades from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Its menu shines the spotlight on higher welfare British beef and sustainable seafood such as smoked salmon from Loch Duart. Bonus points for its many philanthropic initiatives: Hawksmoor has raised over £987,000 for its long-term partner, Action Against Hunger, through annual charity dinners.

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The Farm Table – Darts Farm (Exeter)

The heads of two lambs just above a thick covering of green leaves.

Exeter has some of the earliest spring lamb in the UK, so right now The Farm Table is celebrating lamb raised just 5 miles away, serving a Leg Steak with Crushed Swede and a Red Wine Sauce using wine from the Darts Farm vineyard.
Credit: Matt Austin, Darts Farm

Darts Farm in Topsham, Devon began as a humble farm hut 50 years ago. Since then, it’s mushroomed into an acclaimed food hall complete with a delicatessen, vineyard, cidery, gelateria, butchers, and a bean-to-bar chocolate workshop—plus several farm-to-table restaurants. Its newest spot, The Farm Table, takes a live-fire approach to farm-grown vegetables, beef grown onsite, and seafood from Brixham market (just 20 miles away). Expect leg steak of local spring lamb served with crushed swede and red wine sauce that uses surplus from the vineyard on the premises. The raw honey for the panna cotta comes from the 30 hives on the farm, underscoring the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability. 

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Petersham Nurseries Cafe (London, Richmond)

An outdoor restaurant with shabby chic furniture, bright pink accents, beneath a canopy of vines.

Petersham Nurseries’ sources regeneratively farmed meat, eggs and produce from its dedicated farm in Devon owned by the founders’ son Harry Boglione, whilst fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey are produced on-site in the kitchen gardens.
Credit: Petersham Nurseries Cafe

Petersham Nurseries in Richmond caters to London’s greenest thumbs with a farm-to-fork restaurant that has retained a MICHELIN Green Star for two consecutive years. Guests can dig into plant-forward dishes featuring regeneratively farmed produce from Devon in an idyllic, shabby-chic greenhouse filled with antique furniture. Petersham’s green-mindedness earned the destination multiple other honours, including an Ocean Champion Badge from Oceanic Global for its quest to eliminate single-use plastic on site. It recently expanded to Covent Garden with a new avatar that includes a florist, lifestyle shop, delicatessen, and four restaurants. 

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FIELD by Fortnum’s (London, Piccadilly)

A light-filled dining room with green panelled walls, wooden furniture and floor to ceiling panelled windows

FIELD aims to shorten the journey from farm to Fortnum’s by working with the best local producers to offer regeneratively farmed food that doesn’t just sustain the planet but actively restores and rebuilds it.
Credit: David Loftus, FIELD’s by Fortnum

Fortnum & Mason’s newest restaurant aims to shorten the journey from farm to the 300-year-old heritage brand. That mission is achieved with a sustainability-focused menu printed on paper made from almond skins and citrus peel that continuously evolves to reflect the changing nature of the British supply chain. Provenance takes centre stage, prioritising fruits and vegetables from biodiverse farms, flour from regenerative farmers, plus daily catch from an operation traceable to a single boat that includes tiddlers (small fish like minnow or stickleback) that are usually overlooked. FIELD offers a foraged twist on the quintessential Fortnum’s experience with a special afternoon tea menu made using ingredients gathered from a woodland. 

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Bolney Wine Estate (Haywards Heath)

Bolney Wine Estate in Haywards Heath is one of the UK’s most acclaimed wineries. Its Eighteen Acre Café is the place to enjoy award-winning wines and hyperlocal food with far-reaching balcony views of the vineyard below. Bolney uses a biofilter to safely treat and recycle water used in spraying, and solar panels generate around half the electricity used across the site (with any leftover donated to the National Grid), proving the estate is as passionate about sustainability as it is about making fine wine. Waste wine and/or press juice becomes gin and vermouth as part of a closed-loop system and is sold in the vineyard shop, along with Bolney’s other housemade products.

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Gaucho (Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, and various locations in London)

An overhead shot of a rectangular dish featuring a sliced rare steak, surrounded by side dishes on a dark wooden table.

Argentinian steak group Gaucho founded the Sustainable Steak Movement in 2021 and now serves exclusively carbon neutral beef.
Credit: JWH Photography, Gaucho

Gaucho is best known for its stellar imported-from-Argentina beef and became the first UK restaurant to offer carbon-neutral steaks in 2019 (today, all its 20 outposts do). But there’s a lot more to this restaurant group than succulent ancho chile ribeyes. Gaucho’s do-gooder ethos surfaces in the form of social and environmental efforts, most notably, a ten-year partnership with Not For Sale, a modern-day anti-slavery movement. It’s also engaged in multiple local initiatives: The Farm Urban salad at the restaurant’s Liverpool location features produce from an urban growing project in a community school.

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Daylesford – The Trough Organic Restaurant (Stow-on-the-wold)

A light-filled cafe restaurant with two rows of cream wooden tables and chairs extending back towards the kitchen.

Daylseford has been practicing sustainable organic farming for over 40 years and diners can get a taste of food grown on the premises at its flagship Cotwsolds restaurant, The Trough.
Credit: Daylesford Organic Farm

Daylesford Organic’s multiple UK editions are well-respected pioneers of organic living. But its farm in the Cotswolds remains at the heart of it all and is home to The Trough, a MICHELIN Green Star recipient. The all-day menu is all about conscious cooking and self-sufficiency, featuring freshly baked breads, pastries, and granola accompanied by “fallen fruit” compotes and dairy from the onsite creamery at breakfast. Wholesome lunch options include chicken and winter vegetable soup made from surplus seasonal vegetables. At night, diners can taste the food grown on the premises in the form of small plates, woodfired pizzas, and wood-roasted mains. It all adds up to an idyllic retreat for top-notch farm-to-table fare.

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