8 Truly Locavore Big City Restaurants
Metro restos that are also real deal green queens.
These days urban diners around the world throw on the locavore label faster than Nigella can say something suggestive about a panna cotta. But that doesn’t mean all are truly following the farm-to-fork philosophy. An entree of over-priced heirloom carrots with ‘garden-grown micro herbs’ (aka parsley from the prep-chef’s mum’s planter box) doesn’t exactly offset the lobster flown in from Maine or strawberries served mid-winter.
However, a proper root n' rummage through the seasonal greens and sustainably-sourced seafood, and you can find some real-deal local heroes. Here are some of our fave proper patch-to-platers and food-mile-minimising kitchens.
Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Berlin
You won’t find lemons, tuna, pepper or chocolate on the set menu of 30-seat mod-Deutsch counter Nobelhart & Schmutzig, where all ingreds come from no further afield than Brandenburg and the Baltic Sea. For less able chefs this might mean endless potato and cabbage soup in the colder months but, trust us, what Billy Wagner's team can do with some salted cod and a bit of brine truly amazes. Only the wines are worldly.
Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Friedrichstr. 218, Kreuzberg, Berlin. +49 30 2594 0610, nobelhartundschmutzig.com
Halfway through a meal at Oz-ingredient-driven Attica, you're invited into the on-site kitchen garden where the servers point out alpine pepper and black radish that earlier featured on your salt-cured kangaroo. If you don’t spot the sorrel or mustard leaves that adorned other dishes it’s only because they’re grown at another 400 sq m plot two minutes away, while staples such as paper bark and wildflowers are gathered by head chef Ben Shewry on daily urban foraging missions. And the results = sophisti-plation.
Attica, 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea, Melbourne. +61 3 9530 0111, attica.com.au
Blue Hill, New York
Is there any city less conducive to the locavore model than skyscraper crammed New York? Still, chef and farmer Dan Barber gives it a green hot go at his subterranean Greenwich Village diner Blue Hill. Produce from the affiliate Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington and upstate Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills are cooked into the weekly Farmer’s Feast and served with artisanal wines. Or, if you’d rather eat a little closer to where your goodies were grown, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is an easy 45-minute drive north of Manhattan.
Blue Hill, 75 Washington Pl, Greenwich Village, New York. +1 212 539 1776, bluehillfarm.com
Restaurant Story, London
Once upon a time, Noma alum Tom Sellers alchemically transformed a humble spread of British produce into an edible fairy tale inspired by his food memories. And so Restaurant Story was born, a Bermondsey hotspot spinning a magical yarn about farm-to-fork ingredients, indie wine producers and local craft ales via such culinary wizardry as consumable candles. Ethical and enchanting? No, we’re not telling fables.
Restaurant Story, 199 Tooley St, London. +44 20 7183 2117, restaurantstory.co.uk
You can see where your rocket and romaine were grown when you sit at the communal table of glassy conservatory Chiswick, where the emphasis is on simple, clean share plates and salads. Weekly menus detail the latest harvests from French beans and cucumbers to verbena and chocolate mint (usually transformed into syrups for signature sips). Other bits, like the wood-roasted lamb, come straight from chef Moran’s fam farm in the Central Tablelands.
Chiswick, 65 Ocean St, Woollahra, Sydney. +61 2 8388 8688, chiswickrestaurant.com.au
Masterchef Maksut Aksar brings trad Turkish tastes and largely forgotten Anatolian ingreds into the C.21st at this panor-glam-ic treat that champions the hard work of small-scale regional farmers, fishermen and producers. Pre-book a table by the glass wall and take the sharable tasting menu, then ask to see the rooftop garden after dinner.
Neolokal, Arap Cami, Bankalar Cad. 11, Beyoğlu, İstanbul. +90 212 244 0016, neolokal.com
This innovative Siam stunner has already made it into San Pellegrino’s 50 Best Restaurants in Asia but now Bo and Dylan, the dynamic duo behind Bo.lan, have set their sights on a new ranking: becoming Bangkok’s first zero-carbon resto by 2018. To this end they not only grow many of their core ingreds on the resto grounds, but also repurpose peelings as compost and filter their own greywater for use in the tropical garden and water lily-lined terrace. Naturally, the courses change monthly to make the most of available produce, but expect street eat staples like fiery fried prawn salad or homestyle red curry duck with wintermelon.
Bo.lan, 24 Soi Sukhumvit 53, Wattana, Bangkok. +66 2 260 2961, bolan.co.th
De Kas, Amsterdam
Get your leg over and cycle out east to De Kas, a striking glasshouse in a lakeside nursery. In summer the surrounds are verdant and the servings just as green with a largely veg-centric daily menu crafted from bits grown in the gardens and conservatories, supplemented with produce from their farm in Beemster and goods from local suppliers. De K-aaaaaahs.
De Kas, Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, Amsterdam. +31 20 462 4562, restaurantdekas.nl
Having spent the better part of her 'study years' flitting from Sri Lanka and South Africa to Iceland and Italy, Eleani joined LUXE fresh from freelancing for TimeOut Melbourne and Fairfax media.
- Eleani LOVES... Books by Jon Krakauer, orca documentaries, forecasting jaunts to Japan, Java, Cuba and Zanzibar
- Eleani LOATHES... Aeroplane headphones, haggling
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