Quaglino’s ditches foie gras in sustainability drive
Mayfair institution Quaglino’s has ditched foie gras from its menu, gotten rid of plastic straws and introduced cocktails made from food waste in a new sustainability drive.
As reported by the Evening Standard, the restaurant has given both its food and drink menus an overhaul ahead of its 90thanniversary this year.
Executive head chef Nuno Gonçalves has removed foie gras from the menu and started buying in wonky vegetables that would usually be rejected by restaurants in a bid to tackle the issue of food waste.
“We are taking all the steps possible to reduce unethical and unsustainable products from our menu, and to keep our menu as local as possible. We wanted to pave the way for other restaurants to do this,” Gonçalves told theStandard.
All fresh herbs used at the restaurant come from an urban herb garden in Vauxhall and are delivered daily by bike, and a number of the cocktails on its drinks list are made using leftover fruit and veg from the prep kitchen.
The stems from mint bunches are turned into a mint oil to add texture, freshness and depth to cocktails. The oil is used in the Blossom cocktail, which has an edible cup crafted from pasta.
The closed-loop cocktail also features organic vodka, purple carrot peel, jasmine rice milk and a cordial made from mandarin skins.
On the equipment front, a fuel-efficient grill has been installed that will cut the restaurant’s carbon footprint by 40%.
While Gonçalves’ efforts are commendable, he believes more could be done in the hospitality sector to reduce waste and the use of single-use plastics.
“We need to create awareness and then it has to be the suppliers who take that step,” he told the Standard.
His main focus now is on finding a sustainable supply of meat and fish. Quaglino’s was opened by Piedmont-born Giovanni Quaglino on Bury Street in London’s St James’s in 1929.
During the ‘30s and ‘40s the restaurant attracted a glittering clientele, including author Evelyn Waugh and King Edward VIII. Legend has it that novelist Barbara Cartland found a pearl in her oyster while dining at Quaglino’s in the ‘30s.
In 1993 the restaurant was bought by the Conran Group and is now owned by D&D London. It reopened in 2014 after a £3 million refurbishment.
Skye Gyngell’s Spring at Somerset House is another London restaurant championing sustainability. Last February, Gyngell made a pledge that the restaurant would be plastic free by the end of 2019 by eradicating the use of clingfilm, straws, plastic containers and other single-use plastics.