Ebury by Fat Macy's

Ethical Dining: The Food Spots Giving Back

Food & Drink /


Food for good

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There’s no shortage of great eateries in London – but finding one with a social conscience takes a bit more digging. Here we highlight a handful of food spots who are doing their bit, from a social enterprise helping asylum seekers to a rehabilitative initiative inside a south London prison. Read on for the best ethical restaurants in London.

Sustainable Restaurants in London / Ethical Chocolate Shops

Ethical Restaurants & Cafés in London

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The Clink

The Clink

Brixton isn’t short of quirky restaurants – but The Clink offers something entirely unique. Housed inside the walls of HM Prison Brixton, the initiative serves as a training establishment for inmates. Food is both cooked and served by prisoners who are working towards gaining qualifications, designed to help them find employment once they’re released. The charity – which began with outlets in High Down and Cardiff – is now in its tenth year, and has one of the lowest reoffending rates in the UK. Over the next few years, there are plans to roll out the initiative in prisons across the country. theclinkcharity.org

Image from Instagram @theclinkrestaurant

Breadwinners

Breadwinners

Not only does Breadwinners dish out some of the best artisan bread in town, it’s for a good cause. A social enterprise operating across markets all over London, the forward-thinking company offers both work experience and employment to asylum seekers and refugees, helping them gain vital employability skills for life in the UK. You can donate to the cause here. breadwinners.org.uk

Ebury by Fat Macy's

Ebury by Fat Macy’s

An inspiring new addition to Pimlico is Ebury by Fat Macy’s, a neighbourhood restaurant with a difference. As well as serving up a delicious Middle Eastern-inspired menu, the eatery also provides employment, training and support to people who have been living in temporary accommodation. Trainees learn from professional chefs and help to run the business, gaining valuable skills as they transition into independent living. Diners, meanwhile, are treated to colourful dishes like aubergine maghmour, scallops with labneh, halloumi fries and toasted flatbreads, plus the restaurant will stock artisan produce from other London social enterprises. eburyrestaurant.com

Social Pantry

Social Pantry

Gigi Hadid, David Attenborough and Hilary Clinton are all among the clientele of London caterer and café Social Pantry, founded in 2011 by Alex Head. Seasonal, fresh food is the core focus: an example menu could include whipped ricotta to start followed by roasted sea bass, with a dark chocolate mousse for dessert. Aside from the impeccable food, the business has a positive impact: Alex works closely with London prisons, charities and enterprises to recruit ex-offenders both from behind bars and on release. socialpantry.co.uk

Brigade Bar + Kitchen

Chef Simon Boyle spent the early days of his career working in high-end restaurants – from the Savoy to Chewton Glen hotel. But in 2004, his path took a sudden turn. Watching the devastating effects of the Indian Ocean tsunami unfold on TV, Simon set off to Sri Lanka to set up a relief camp, hospital and school. Upon returning to London, he was compelled to create something with a social purpose there too, and so Brigade Bar + Kitchen was born. Located in Tooley Street’s fire station, the restaurant works with homeless and education charity Beyond Food Foundation to offer training opportunities for vulnerable people or those who have fallen on hard times. The menu is focused on live-fire dishes – think grilled chicken with Mediterranean herbs, slow smoked short rib and platters of barbecued vegetables. thebrigade.co.uk 

Image from Instagram @brigadebarktchn

Waterhouse Restaurant

Waterhouse Restaurant

Canalside restaurant Waterhouse is run by Shoreditch Trust, a charity which works to empower deprived communities in Hackney. A special training programme provides chef training and support for young people who have faced challenging life circumstances, with proceeds from the restaurant going towards the cost of equipping, training and supporting young chefs. It’s also kind to the environment, with rooftop solar panels providing the kitchen’s energy supply and flooring made from recycled rubber. Much of the produce in the restaurant is fairtrade too, with a seasonal menu of breakfast, lunch and sweet treats on offer. waterhouserestaurant.co.uk

Image from Instagram @the_waterhouse_restaurant

Luminary Bakery

Luminary Bakery

While volunteering in East London back in 2013, Alice Williams met homeless women who were caught up in the sex industry – women who had so much potential, but few opportunities available to them. The experience inspired Alice to launch Luminary, a venture designed to help disadvantaged women. It uses baking as a tool to take women on a journey to employability, equipping them with transferrable skills for the working world. There are branches in both Camden and Hackney, both offering a beautiful range of celebration cakes – flavours include almond, cherry and chocolate; lemon and blueberry; and sticky toffee. Gluten-free and vegan offerings are also available. luminarybakery.com

 

Main image: Ebury by Fat Macy’s