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Snapping happy for your sustainable supper


Eating out with friends or family, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. More often than not, we do it to celebrate – even just because it’s the weekend! The enjoyment of sitting down together and sharing fine food and a glass or two of wine is something truly to savour.

A table and food layout at the Captain's Galley, Scrabster © Captain's GalleyA table and food layout at the Captain’s Galley, Scrabster © Captain’s Galley

However, wouldn’t it be wonderful if every time you went out to dinner you could sit back and tuck in to your dinner safe in the knowledge that the restaurant shared your ethical values and the meal wasn’t going to cost the earth?

All too often diners find themselves having to park their principles at the door of their chosen restaurant. Whilst you might be sure to buy free-range meat to cook and eat at home and think nothing of recycling all your domestic waste, those values can disappear out the window when eating out.

If you relate to this dilemma, then we have good news. There are now more than 4,000 restaurants, pubs, cafés, hotels and universities, pretty much from Land’s End to John O’Groats, who are members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) and have committed to serving up sustainable suppers. In fact, the list of venues is a wee bit longer and includes train operators and an airline. So, from now on you can make informed choices about your dining destination.

One of the many fine dishes served at the Captain's Galley, Scrabster © Captain's GalleyOne of the many fine dishes served at the Captain’s Galley, Scrabster © Captain’s Galley

Even more exciting is that the SRA  has teamed up with WWF for this year’s Earth Hour, so that on 28 March you can book yourself in for a candlelit dinner at one of the dozens of SRA Member restaurants that has signed up to switch out the lights. And whether, it’s fish and chips, Mexican street food or perhaps a gastropub dinner that takes your fancy, there is plenty to choose from.

In fact, for one lucky couple there’s the chance to have a star-studded dinner. Battlesteads, an award-winning hotel and restaurant in Northumberland, which has the highest possible rating from the SRA (Three Stars) has just opened an onsite observatory, taking advantage of its location in the largest Dark Sky Park in Europe. They’ll be serving dinner to a pair of lucky diners who can also gaze at the night sky.

Former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers’ Wahaca, which has been serving grasshoppers to demonstrate how they can be a tasty and a sustainable alternative protein source, will also be serving up candlelit dinners in selected restaurants across London and in Cardiff. If quality pub grub is your thing, then choose from one of the Food and Fuel pubs. If you’re looking for something off the beaten track but award winningly sustainable – then Sustainable Restaurant of the Year, the Captain’s Galley in Scrabster, where only seafood that is plentiful and in season is served, is the place for you.

The Prince of Wales, London. One of the Food and Fuel pubs you can dine at in the city © SRAThe Prince of Wales, London. One of the Food and Fuel pubs you can dine at in the city © SRA

Snap for your supper

Just as a little Earth Hour present, the SRA is also putting up a fantastic prize of dinner at an SRA Members restaurant of your choice – to the value of £150. To be in with a chance of winning, simply snap a picture of you enjoying dinner by candlelight and send it to earthhour@thesra.org or tweet it to @the_SRA using #CandleLitDinner. And you could be having your next candlelit dinner on us.

So next time you come to decide where to eat out, look for the SRA stars – dubbed the Michelin Stars of Sustainability by The Sunday Times – awarded to restaurants who complete our rigorous, holistic rating that covers all aspects of their business under the headings Sourcing, Society and Environment.

Find restaurants serving candlelit dinners near you this Earth Hour.

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