If 2015 was the year that we all got healthy and fell further in love with the avocado and acai bowls, then 2016 is the year that we need to be properly educated on food waste and how we can cut the 6.7 million tonnes of food that is said to be ending up in UK landfill sites every year.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, of course, brought the matter to the attention of the masses in his programme, ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’, and there are companies out there selling delicious condiments made from ugly or wasted food, such Rubies in the Rubble and ChicP. Well now chef, writer and food activist Justin Horne is opening London’s first organic, vegetarian and zero-waste restaurant, Tiny Leaf.
Joining him will be General Manager Jonathan Krauss (formerly Chiltern Firehouse) and Marketing Director Alice Gilsenan and today sees their opening. For the moment they’re opening on Westbourne Park Road, on the former site of Bumpkin, whilst they wait for a permanent site, but what a temporary home it is. It’ll be spanning four floors and include everything from a botanical cocktail bar to a cinema.
With food donated from local suppliers and bigger establishments such as Planet Organic, the menu will be change daily depending on what is surplus. You can of course take any of your leftovers from the restaurant home in a bio-box too.
On the ground floor bistro you’ll find the likes of quinoa and spelt porridge with apple and cinnamon; wild rice with mango and toasted coconut; and buckwheat pancakes with blueberry compote, coconut yoghurt and bee pollen – all of which can be washed down with cold-pressed juices from the juice bar. Lunch will be served in ‘The Green Room’, a casual brasserie, and will include the likes of red and golden beetroot salad with crisp sage, and parsnip and courgetti with hemp pesto, toasted almond and rye wafer with a butter bean ragu, tomatoes and homemade paneer.
For more casual fine-dining the first floor is where you need to head. Dishes will include chargrilled celeriac and broccoli steaks with baba ghanoush, and puddings such as rhubarb, ginger and carrot crumble or orange, polenta and chia seed syrup cake.
Up on the third floor sits the Jackson Pollock-esque painted botanical cocktail bar nicknamed ‘The White Room’. There’ll you find phytotherapist and botanist Michael Istead and cocktail artist Lee Shephard. They’ll be turning organic and fair trade spirits and underrated or overlooked ingredients into healthy-but-still-alcoholic cocktails. The signature ‘Tiny Leaf’ will be made with organic vodka, apple, cucumber, mint, elderflower and ginger; served in a plant pot complete with edible soil. There’ll also be the unique beer, Toast, which in itself is zero waste since it is made from surplus bread.
The Dark Room, aka the events space, on the fourth floor will host speakers and screen food-conscious films and documentaries, with regular events occurring – a highlight is said to be a screening of Just Eat It with a Q&A from food waste guru Tristam Stuart.
If it wasn’t enough that they are working towards reducing food waste, then 20p per litre from the sale of Tiny Leaf’s alkaline bottled water will be donated to Whole World Water, an organisation improving water supplies for those most in need. And for every £1 added to the bill as a donation, Tiny Leaf will match with the money going to Refugee Community Kitchen Calais and the Soil Association.
Let’s make 2016 the year we tackle food waste, starting with a visit to Tiny Leaf.
Tiny Leaf: Open Now, 209 Westbourne Park Road, W11 1EA www.tinyleaflondon.com