National Restaurant Awards Top 25 Sustainable Restaurants
The Top 100 restaurants, voted for by the National Restaurant Awards academy, were all invited by the SRA to put their sustainability to the test. The Pig came out on top by achieving the highest score when the SRA rated its sourcing, water, waste and energy saving initiatives, as well as its commitment to treat and engage responsibly with its staff, customers and community. It fought off stiff competition from a number of the restaurants on the NRA Top 100 list.
1. The Pig – Hampshire
2. Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
3. The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye
4. Loves Restaurant, Birmingham
5. Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Perthshire
6. Brasserie Zédel, London
7. Corrigan’s Mayfair, London
8. Bistrot Bruno Loubet, London
9. Hawksmoor Seven Dials, London
10. Tyddyn Llan, Clwyd
11. Restaurant Sat Bains, Notthingham
12. MEATliquor, London
13. L’Enclume, Cumbria
14. Roganic, London
15. L’Anima, London
16. Aumbry, Manchester
17. The Ledbury, London
18. The Delauney, London
19. The Seafood Restaurant, Cornwall
20. Ondine, Edinburgh
21. Gidleigh Park, Devon
22. The Wolseley, London
23. The Chilli Pickle, Brighton
24. Alyn Williams at The Westbury, London
25. Purnell’s, Birmingham
How The Pig came out on top.
The Pig impressed across all areas of the SRA’s Sustainability rating. As well as scoring consistently well in Sourcing, Society and Environment it also provided examples of initiatives that went well and truly above and beyond what any restaurant might be expected to do – with genuine innovation.
Not every restaurant is blessed with the space to run a substantial market garden. The Pig puts its to fantastic use – growing more than 75% of the fruit and vegetables for the kitchen, being careful to concentrate on sustainable crops that are native to the area.
This hyper local sourcing enables chef James Golding to offer a 25-mile menu which he changes at least once a week and includes items foraged from the surrounding New Forest. It also includes charcuterie from the restaurant’s own pigs, smoked in their own smoke house which also produces all their smoked fish. The sawdust for smoking comes from a local mill and is “paid for” in smoked salmon. The smokehouse itself was created using an old soup kettle and a small garden shed. All the meat and poultry on the menu is high welfare and free range.
James says: Our motto is: ‘if we can’t source it locally we make it. If we can’t make it we don’t use it.’
The drinks menu reflects the same local policy, with about a quarter of the wine being UK produced and three quarters of the beer coming from Hampshire and Dorset breweries.
While The Pig’s location and setting may give it an advantage over other restaurants when it comes to sourcing, it has no obvious head start with efforts to minimise its environmental impact. But the restaurant has done huge amounts to do just that. Some of its actions are major and have involved a capital outlay, while others are down to creative thinking. Together they combine to mean The Pig is making a real difference.
Major initiatives include the installation of energy efficient kitchen equipment and using second-hand, recycled or reclaimed materials for half the restaurant’s resources. Many of The Pig’s efforts involve simple changes in staff behaviour, like turning off lights, water and equipment when they’re not in use and operating dishwashers only when they are fully loaded. In terms of obvious good practice, The Pig recycles paper, glass, cardboard, cooking oil and plastic and composts what food waste it produces. There are numerous examples of less obvious initiatives, including turning old menus into coasters and jam jars into cocktail glasses. The Pig has also initiated a cooperative delivery system with the smaller local producers to cut down on rising fuel costs.
The SRA believes strongly that a restaurant cannot and should not operate in isolation and The Pig certainly recognises its role at the heart of its community, running educational forest tours for all guests, promoting sustainability and local sourcing on the back of its menus and supporting local businesses.
The Pig also works on with community projects with schools and colleges in the Hampshire and Dorset areas teaching kids about basic planting and food sustainability.
All in all The Pig has demonstrated that being sustainable is an intrinsic part of being one of the Top 100 restaurants in the UK.