Sustainable Retaurant Awards 2015, People's Favourite category: The restaurants that make their customers feel good, as well as full

From hundreds of entries for ‘People’s Favourite’ category in the Sustainable Restaurant Awards, this is the shortlist. Mollie Goodfellow and Serina Sandhu find out more about them. Plus, how you can vote for your favourite

The Bay Fish & Chips

Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Since Calum Richardson opened this sustainable chippy in 2006, he and his partner, Lindsay, have become the only couple both to win the UK Young Fish Frier of the Year Award. The Bay uses only sustainably sourced fish and it was the first shop to gain Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody to sell MSC haddock. The restaurant is waiting for more fish to become MSC to expand its menu in the future.

Its thick-cut chips come from Maris Piper and Markies potatoes grown in potato-friendly soil in Cambridgeshire. They’re cooked in beef dripping, which is a natural by-product. The sustainability does not stop at their food: the restaurant is proud to be carbon neutral by using renewable energy, recycling non-food products and making its packaging compostable. Even waste is utilised, with oil being converted into biofuel.

Richardson visits local schools to teach children about the importance of sustainability and good food.

 

Star Bistro

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Star Bistro is a joint venture between the Wiggly Worm, a charity that aims to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable people, and the National Star College, which provides further education to young people with disabilities. Star Bistro trains young people with learning difficulties – currently two-thirds of its staff have mental health issues – for both front- and back-of-house roles. They prepare and serve locally sourced food.

Star Bistro was opened in 2012 by chef and campaigner Rob Rees MBE. The restaurant prides itself on inclusivity by trying to accommodate any type of special dietary requirement. Tables occupy only half of the floor space, allowing space for wheelchairs and other accessibility needs.

Star Bistro’s work extends further to the fight against child hunger. It feeds those living in poverty in the local area, and any profit from the restaurant goes to the No Child Hungry Gloucestershire campaign.

Silo

Brighton

Spurred on by wanting to create a sustainable environment with no waste, Douglas McMaster last year opened Silo – he describes it as a “pre-industrial food system that generates zero waste”. The 50-seat restaurant serves only local, seasonable food and throws nothing away. Any waste is made into compost with Silo’s on-site composter, which is then given to local allotments. The toilets flush using waste water from the coffee machines.

The menu is centred on the five pillars of food – dairy, plant, fish, meat and “wild” – with six staple dishes every day. There’s an on-site brewery, flour mill and bakery, and the restaurant uses raw milk to make its own butter and cheese. Even crockery and furniture has been given the sustainable touch: plates are constructed from recycled bags and tables from industrial floor tiles.

Eagle and Child

Ramsbottom,  Greater Manchester

The pub was derelict until 2011 when Glen Duckett, who had been working in hospitality and charity, reopened it with the vision of serving sustainable food and helping youth unemployment. By offering training and apprenticeships to 16- to 25-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training, he hopes the pub will get young people working and using local businesses, thereby supporting the local economy. The pub has more than 20 trainees.

The pub, which won Best Dining Pub and Pub of the Year 2014 in the Daniel Thwaites Awards for Excellence, specialises in old Lancashire classics and seasonal Pennine foods. Poultry is brought in from the Bowland Fells part of the Lancashire countryside and fish from Fleetwood. It makes its own black pudding and serves local Lancashire cheese, ham hock and devilled black peas.

Its Incredible Edible Beer Garden is used for growing vegetables and herbs, as well as being a space for customers. Duckett hopes it will inspire horticulture enthusiasts and young people to grow and cook.

The Real Junk Food Project

Leeds

This café defies the meaning of fresh food and serves only surplus grub, including food that is past its sell-by date and scavenged from supermarket bins. Adam Smith, who believes people’s food standards are too high, opened the café in 2013 to raise the awareness of food wastage and food poverty.

Its pricing defies usual methods. It is the first café to install Pay-As-You-Feel, which allows customers to pay whatever they feel the food, service and experience was worth. Last year, the project made £30,000.

A Kickstarter bid for £100,000 has allowed the project to buy a building that they have employed environmental architects to make as eco-friendly as possible. The new café will feature windows with gaps in between the panes to allow vegetables to grow, a kitchen housed in the basement to save money on heating, and a car park just for bikes.

Vote now!

Readers of The Independent on Sunday helped to nominate in this category. Now it’s time to choose the victor. Visit www.thesra.org/vote to vote for the place you think most deserving of the award, which we support, in association with Bookatable. You have until 16 February to take part.

Twitter.com/#SRAfavevote

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