16 Feb Tiny Leaf: Review of new vegetarian restaurant in London
It might be the most ‘eco friendly’ restaurant in the city – especially as most of their dishes can be made vegan on request.
Tiny Leaf turns surplus food donated by local food suppliers into gourmet dishes.
It is London’s first organic, vegetarian and zero-waste restaurant and it opened at the end of January.
Offering a guilt-free gastronomic experience, the menu changes daily.
Options depend on would-be-waste deliveries from Planet Organic and Langridge, the UK’s largest wholesalers of local and seasonal organic produce.
Tiny Leaf’s temporary residence in Westbourne Park spans four floors, including a ground-floor bistro and juice bar, zero waste fine-dining restaurant, cinema and events space and botanical cocktail bar.
The minds behind Tiny Leaf include chef, writer and food activist Justin Horne, ex-Chiltern Firehouse Jonathan Krauss and marketing whizz Alice Gilsenan.
Justin believes one way to tackle the 18 million tonnes of food ending up in landfills each year is to change people’s perception of what waste is, then we can change out how much waste we create.
He says: ‘There’s no reason why you can’t make something amazing out of vegetables alone.
‘We want to educate, inspire and also have some fun in exploring this new approach to food.’
Tiny Leaf will match fund each £1 voluntary donation added to each bill, raising money for Refugee Community Kitchen Calais and the Soil Association.
Approaching Tiny Leaf it feels like you’re slightly in the middle of nowhere, though it’s only a 10-minute bus ride form Notting Hill.
It looks tiny indeed from the outside.
The atmosphere is cool and cosy, diners are stylish and the interior is wonderful with vines covering the back wall. Chairs and tables are small and simple, made of wood, and lighting comes from candles only.
I come on a busy night and service is attentive though quite slow.
The £2 bread spread is gorgeous and contains one with figs – though they can’t guarantee dishes will be there for longer than that evening.
My beetroot platter starter is very pretty and laid out fancifully, if a little light.
The main takes a while to come but I’m rewarded when it does.
My friend and I split our dishes. She gets chickpeas in smoked paprika sauce and I opt for a market plate of seasonal veg. The mix of the two is divine.
Our side of charred lettuce (sounds ridiculous, it was incredible. I kid you not) adds an intense smoky element and fresh crunch.
For dessert we get vegan carrot cake with pomegranates and creamy rice-based sauce.
I’d come back but skip the starters, loading up on mains and desserts.
A charming concept with heart, worth investing in.