Farm-to-table food may have been the norm for many a generation preceding us – a fundamental rather than a luxury experience – but when the seventies sauntered along and gripped the nation with everything from spam to smash, the origins of the food in question became a little lost. Fast food became appealing due to its ease and scientific innovations quickly meant that eating seasonally was no longer a necessity.
Over the past decade, however, an interest in where our food comes from, perhaps even over how convenient it is, has been growing exponentially. From well-being fanatics and the environmentally conscious, right down to those who just enjoy good food, it’s fair to say that farm-to-fork fare has made a resurgence.
Everyone knows that using fresh ingredients has health benefits, but as the world has its eyes opened about the small ways in which it can make a big difference to the state of the planet, the importance of using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients becomes apparent too.
In this round-up, we look at five of the UK’s best farm-to-table restaurants, concentrating on what the unassuming capital has to offer. London may not be what immediately comes to mind when the word “farm” is involved, but it’s certainly home to its fair share of restaurants changing the sustainable dining game.
Daylesford Notting Hill, London
Hailing from an organic farm in Gloucestershire, Daylesford Notting Hill is an all-day café embodying the very essence of farm-to-table fare. Most of their menu is fresh from their sustainable farms located in the Cotswolds and Staffordshire, with everything from breakfast and brunch, to lunch and supper being made from seasonal ingredients.
Pioneering sustainable standards, a visit to a Daylesford café can be guilt-free. Think zero food waste, 100% recyclable packaging, clean energy use and a ‘bee happy’ programme. Responsibly sourced food is only the beginning at this café.
Located on Chelsea’s iconic Kings Road, Rabbit is a rustic farm-to-fork restaurant serving modern British cuisine with a sustainable edge. One of four restaurants under the Gladwin brothers’ belt, this neighbourhood eatery offers the intimate experience expected from a family-run business.
Menus change seasonally, but their “small plates” consistently strive to celebrate wild produce, with zero-waste cookery at the forefront of everything they serve. Every Sunday, the restaurant draws guests from far and wide to tuck into its legendary roasts, whilst the ‘Local & Wild’ tasting menu is an eight-course experience showcasing just how delicious wild game and foraged vegetables can be.
Riverford at The Duke of Cambridge, London
The self-proclaimed “first organic pub in London” will not disappoint. Located in Islington, The Duke of Cambridge doesn’t shy away from shouting about its sustainable methods. Here, seasonal ingredients mean a regularly changing menu and an earth-conscious ethos means that plant-based dishes are given their fair share of the limelight.
Keen to be as transparent as possible about the journey the food they serve up has been on, this forward-thinking independent even showcases a map of its suppliers outside of the pub. Each has been handpicked for its organic and sustainable methods to ensure that their farm-to-table offering is top-notch.
Anybody who’s anybody will be well versed in Soho House’s exclusive offerings. Scattered across the world’s most iconic cities, from Miami to Mumbai, this private members’ club knows how to make its guests feel special. Nestled in Oxfordshire’s picture-perfect countryside, just outside of London’s hustle and bustle is 2015’s addition to the collection: Soho Farmhouse.
Boasting a boating lake, tennis courts, a spa, a cinema and a whole host of chic cabins, the fairy-tale estate is the UK’s ultimate playground for adults. And, with numerous eateries on its grounds, food takes centre stage here. The Farm Deli offers local cheeses, fresh sourdough (from the on-site bakery) and homemade pickles, all of which can be parcelled up and enjoyed as an in-room treat. Across the various restaurants, which span a number of cuisines, locally sourced ingredients remain the one common theme. The Main Barn is Soho Farmhouse’s central hub with breakfast lunch and dinner being on offer – visit on a weekend to treat yourself to one of the Farm Feasts or roast dinners.
The much-anticipated Newt in Somerset opened its doors to guests as a luxury hotel in 2019 and since then, it has well established itself on the map for more than just its hotel and spa offering – here, foodies are in for a treat too.
The Botanical Rooms serve as the hotel’s main restaurant, serving small, seasonal plates made entirely from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. For more casual dining, the glass-walled Garden Café overlooks the rolling grounds of the quintessentially British estate and the Cyder Bar serves up apple juice and ciders, freshly pressed on the estate.