18 June 2019

How Kew’s restaurants are feeding us sustainably

From foraging in the Gardens to creating dishes with Kitchen Garden vegetables, here are the ways we're boosting sustainability at our restaurants.

By Ellen McHale

Kitchen Garden

At Kew, environmental sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.

Focusing on seasonal, local produce that has minimal environmental impact is at the centre of food we serve in our restaurants. 

Harvested from the Gardens

Many of our dishes are bursting with the flavours of fresh herbs. And where better to harvest them than in our beautiful Gardens?

We have a herb garden next to the Pavilion Bar and Grill, where we pick lots of the herbs used in our dishes. Fragrant lemon balm and zingy chives are finely chopped and used in our salsa verde, served with baked sweet potatoes hot from the grill. Fresh mint is also used in our delicious drinks at the bar.

Our Kitchen Garden is a great resource for vegetables and herbs, which we use when in season.

Herb garden at the Pavilion
Herb garden at the Pavilion, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew
Thyme in the Pavilion herb garden
Thyme in the Pavilion herb garden, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew
Mint in the Pavilion herb garden
Mint in the Pavilion herb garden, Ellen McHale © RBG Kew

Foraged food 

We rely on the expertise of our horticulturalists to know when wild herbs and plants are tasting their best. We then forage these plants from across the Gardens to use in our restaurants and cafés. 

Recently, wild garlic has been in season which we've been picking to spice up our dishes. We've also been harvesting nettles which we use in quiches, as well as nettle shoots and flowers for our salads. 

Nettles, Paul M/Unsplash

Local produce 

We focus on sourcing local and seasonal produce for our restaurants to celebrate the best of British produce.

At our newly opened Pavilion Bar and Grill, fresh vegetables come from local Surrey farms and sea bream is from Cornish day boats. Our beef is from specialised farms in Wales and the south-west of England, and is reared on a diet of 70% foraged food.

We've also thought carefully about sustainable ways to cook this delicious produce. Our Josper grill uses a mix of charcoal made from the woody waste at Kew and DEFRA approved charcoal.

As well as sustainable food sourcing, our restaurants are committed to boosting sustainability in other ways. We've said goodbye to all single-use plastic from our cafes and restaurants, and have introduced compostable alternatives and eco-friendly packaging made by Vegware. Plastic bottles of water have been replaced by recyclable aluminium cans of water. 

Next time you're wandering around the Gardens, don't forget to stop off for a tasty seasonal snack and look out for ingredients foraged from our beautiful surroundings.  

Pavilion Bar and Grill dishes
Pavilion Bar and Grill dishes © RBG Kew
The Pavilion Bar and Grill

Eating and drinking at Kew Gardens

Relax and enjoy delicious food at our wide range of cafés and restaurants across the Gardens.

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