by Cafe St Honoré

“We often use this classic way of cooking pork belly at Cafe St Honoré. It’s simple: skin removed, boned out, seasoned, rolled, tied, braised, chilled, then cut and pan fried. The process creates a wonderful taste that’s not fatty, with the fennel seed and lemon helping to cut through the richness. Buttery champ is so good with the pork, and the addition of sage is classic, but optional.”

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honore Pork Belly and Champ WEB 1.jpg

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time: 45 minutes; cooking time: 4 hours


750g rare-breed organic pork belly, skinned and boned

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 carrot, scrubbed and halved

1 onion, peeled and halved

1 stick celery, halved

A few sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

A few peppercorns

Zest of 1 lemon

Good salt and pepper

400g good mash made with lots of butter

3 or 4 spring onions, finely chopped

A small handful of sage leaves, gently shallow-fried until just crisp and dried on kitchen paper

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

75g unsalted butter


Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.

Firstly, lay the pork belly out on a board and season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle over half the fennel seeds and half the lemon zest. Roll the belly up like a swiss roll and tie with butchers twine, or string, but not too tight. 

Next, place the pork in a pot and cover with hot water. Add the carrot, onion, celery, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring the pot to the simmer then cover with a lid or foil and place into the oven for 3 to 4 hours until the meat is very tender. 

Remove from the oven and allow the pork to cool in the liquid for about an hour or so, no rush. Once cooled, remove the pork from the liquid and drain on a tea towel to make sure it’s dry.

Then line your work surface with 4 layers of clingfilm about 6 inches wider than the belly and place the pork onto the cling film. Remove the string with scissors and discard, then roll the pork in the clingfilm very tightly and refrigerate overnight. 

To cook, preheat the oven to 180°C, then cut 4 slices of pork about an inch or so thick, and fry in the rapeseed oil for 3 to 5 minutes each side. Then place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes to ensure the pork is hot and coloured. It should be a lovely golden colour. 

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot, and add the remaining fennel seeds and lemon zest to it. Season.

Just before serving, add the chopped spring onions to the mash to make champ, and place some in the centre of each plate. Top with the sliced pork and spoon over the sauce. Garnish with crispy sage leaves. Serve at once.

Christmas Puddings for Sale!

by Cafe St Honoré in

Get your hands on one of our limited-edition hand-made Christmas puddings. They're available to buy from the restaurant at £15 each - including the lovely ceramic bowl they come in. Each pudding serves 4-6. Email or call 0131 2262211 to reserve - or just pop in. Available from Saturday 1st December.

Images: Paul Johnston,    Copper Mango

Shortcrust Pastry in Nine Easy Steps

by Lee MacGregor in

Follow our simple nine-step guide to making shortcrust pasty and you’ll no longer reach for the pre-rolled variety!

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You will need: 250g of sifted plain flour, 125g diced unsalted butter, 5g salt, 2-3 tablespoons of cold water

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Add butter to the flour and rub together until the texture of breadcrumbs.

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Stir in the salt, then add water and mix to a firm dough.

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Form into a ball, cover with cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

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Prepare a tart tin with butter and flour. Rub a little room-temperature butter all over the inside of the tin, then dust with flour.

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Roll the rested dough on a floured surface.

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Line the prepared tart tin with the rolled dough.

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Line the pastry dough with 4 layers of cling film, then fill with baking beans.

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Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes or until just golden.

Neil's Recipes: Oatcakes with Smoked Trout and Crème Fraîche

by Cafe St Honoré

“If you have never made your own oatcakes have a try, it's so easy. I recently bought a girdle from a charity shop - one of the old ones our ancestors would have used to cook drop scones on - and the taste is completely different from baking in an oven. The smokiness from the flames of a real fire lick the edges of the girdle which flavours the oatcakes, giving them real character.” 

Neil Forbes Cafe St Honore Trout Canapes 2 WEB SIZE (Credit - Paul Johnston at Copper Mango)-CMPL9731.jpg

This recipe will make about 50 £2 coin sized oatcakes that will keep in an airtight tub for a week.


For the oatcakes:

500g pinhead oats

100g porridge oats

40g plain flour

1teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

150g bacon fat, lard or butter, melted

30g sugar

15g salt

Approximately 500ml water, or buttermilk, which makes for a really rich oatcake

For the topping:

A few slices of smoked trout, I get mine from Belhaven

Enough crème fraîche for a dollop on each oatcake, I like Katy Rodgers

A few cornichons, or pickled cucumbers

A few chives


Mix all the oatcake ingredients together and trickle in the water, or buttermilk, a little at a time. If you are using a mixer or food processor, combine until you have a good dough.

Roll the dough into 4 sausage shapes, about the width of a £2 coin, then wrap in cling film and store in the fridge until firm. Then slice into ½-cm thick discs using a very sharp, serrated knife. Cook on a pre-heated girdle, or heavy-based frying pan, rubbed with a little lard or butter, for a couple of minutes on each side. Finish cooking them in a low oven (125°C) for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden and crisp. 

To serve, top each oatcake with a few flakes of smoked trout, a slice of cornichon or pickled cucumber, a dollop of crème fraîche and snipped chives. Perfect!


by Cafe St Honoré

“It’s a sign Autumn is here when Ben our forager brings elderberries into the kitchen. Those vibrant, deep shades of reds and purples will stain anything within 100 yards, be warned! The flavour of the syrup is salty, sweet, earthy with a tang. Serve with any ice cream you like. I have used cinnamon, made at Cafe St Honoré with sticks instead of cinnamon powder as it has a finer, more refined flavour.”

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 2

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 1.5 hours


300g peeled pumpkin flesh

4 tablespoons crowdie cheese

1 egg

2 tablespoons caster sugar

4 digestive biscuits

1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds

40g unsalted butter, melted

A pinch of cinnamon

A pinch of mixed spice

2 scoops of ice-cream to serve, optional

Mint to garnish, optional

For the elderberry syrup:

250g elderberries, removed from their stalks with a fork, and lightly crushed

1/2 a lemon, sliced

1-inch piece of ginger

1/2 a cinnamon stick

Enough water to cover

200g caster sugar


Begin by making the syrup. Bring all the ingredients to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or so on a moderate heat. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin, squeezing every last drop out. Be careful and wear an apron as the mixture may splash and stain your clothes. 

If you have 200ml of juice, add 200g of caster sugar to the liquid (if you have 150ml juice, add 150g sugar, etc) and bring to a gentle boil on a moderate heat and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve or muslin again, and leave to cool in a jar or container with a sealed lid. A sterilised jar is great.

Heat oven to 200°C / Gas Mark 7

To make the cheesecake, cook the pumpkin flesh in a hot oven for 30 to 40 minutes to ensure its soft. Remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 160°C. Place the pumpkin  in a bowl and smash with a whisk until smooth. As it cools, add the crowdie cheese, a pinch of mixed spice and cinnamon, and beat in the egg and sugar. Set to one side. 

Next, bash the biscuits and seeds until they have a very fine sand texture - use a processor if required. Add the melted butter, a pinch of cinnamon and mixed spice and combine. 

Oil two 4-inch metal ring and spoon in half the base mixture into each, pressing down firmly. Next, top each base with the cheesecake mix and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until just cooked. Allow to cool and be careful when removing the metal rings. Run a small, hot knife round the edge of the cheesecake before attempting to remove the ring. 

Serve with your favourite ice cream and a trickle of elderberry syrup and crumble any leftover biscuit base over the top and top with a sprig of mint.


by Lee MacGregor

“A favourite quick supper dish. It has to be proper sourdough, good butter, a kick of tarragon and a splash of cream. I give all mushrooms a little wash in cold running water and I don’t find they soak up water and become soggy. Some say to use a brush, but I have tried for years and cannot remove all the bits of the forest floor. Toast your bread in a toaster if you like but I love the extra flavour of pan-fried bread in butter or bacon fat.”

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 1

Prep time 10 minutes; cooking time: 7 minutes


1 slice of good sourdough

100g ceps, lightly washed and sliced

1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

A few fronds of tarragon, chopped

1 tablespoon of curly parsley, finely chopped

1.5 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of cold-pressed rapeseed oil

25ml double cream

A knob of butter or bacon fat to fry the sourdough, optional

A few watercress leaves

A splash of Madeira, optional

Good salt and pepper


Heat the oil and a tablespoon of butter in a medium-sized frying pan and fry the chopped shallot. It will take a minute or two to soften - don’t colour the shallot. 

Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. 

Add the mushrooms to the pan along with the remaining butter. Cook for a couple of minutes - toss the contents in the pan if you can. 

Add the cream, herbs and seasoning. Taste and add a splash of madeira if you fancy. Continue to cook until the mushrooms are done and check the seasoning. 

Serve on a slice of sourdough, toasted on a chargrill or pan-fried in butter or bacon fat. Dress with a few watercress leaves and serve.

We Won at the Food Made Good Awards!

by Cafe St Honoré

We’re delighted to have won the Treat Staff Fairly award at the Food Made Good Awards 2018 - the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s (SRA) annual industry awards.

Our chef director Neil Forbes with SRA President, Raymond Blanc OBE

Our chef director Neil Forbes with SRA President, Raymond Blanc OBE

It was one of 17 awards presented at a special ceremony last night at FEST Camden in London. The Food Made Good Awards recognise restaurants and foodservice businesses whose accomplishments in the last year have driven progress in the industry and demonstrated that all food can be made delicious, ethical and sustainable.

Chef Director Neil Forbes said: “Since taking over Café St Honoré 10 years ago, and even before that, I knew I wanted to run a restaurant properly and to be a good employer. There are so many elements to getting this right, but in essence I make sure the people that work alongside me at Cafe are paid well and feel properly looked after. To be recognised for this at this year’s Food Made Good Awards is simply fantastic. I’m thrilled, and I know the rest of the team are too.”

The Treat Staff Fairly award, sponsored by Freedom Brewery, is designed to recognise progressive employers who’ve led the way in attracting and retaining staff by remunerating them properly and by devising innovative way of rewarding them beyond the paycheque. 

Staff at Café St Honoré enjoy an equitable pay structure, transparent tipping system, constant on-the-job training, a four-day week, regular visits to suppliers, excellent staff meals and a nurturing environment.

Raymond Blanc, OBE, President of the SRA, said: “Year after year, chefs and restaurateurs continue to delight me with their winning submissions to The Food Made Good Awards, demonstrating how food can be a powerful force for good. Their greatest reward would be for consumers to eat in their dining rooms and for their colleagues across the industry to follow their lead.” 

The Treat Staff Fairly award is one of ten categories that align with the ten key themes of the SRA’s Food Made Good sustainability framework. Operators fulfilling all ten meet the very definition of a good restaurant or foodservice business. See the full list categories and the winners here.


by Cafe St Honoré in

“I put this dish on at Cafe St Honoré when we receive a hoard of ceps. It always sells well and is delicious. Cook the ceps, black pudding and scallops in the same pan as all the flavours marry well, and the fat released from the black pudding adds extra flavour to the ceps and shellfish. Don’t be afraid of the butter sauce, or beurre blanc as we chefs call it. A little splash of cream stabilizes the reduction and prevents the sauce from splitting.”

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 1
Prep time: 15 minutes; cooking time 5 minutes


2 to 3 hand-dived scallops, coral left on

1 slice of Stornoway black pudding

A small handful of ceps, lightly washed

2 peppercorns

1 sprig thyme 

1 sprig tarragon

100ml white wine

100ml white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon double cream

75g unsalted butter, 1cm cubes

A few wood sorrel leaves, optional

Good salt and pepper

Juice from half a lemon

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

1 knob butter


Prepare the ceps by cutting in half and scoring a criss-cross pattern on the cut sides.

Make a butter sauce by adding the wine, vinegar, peppercorns and herbs to a small pan and reducing to a couple of tablespoons. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan and add the cream. Whisk together and bring to just below the boil. Then add the butter one cube at a time until emulsified. Season with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon. Keep at a steady temperature until needed.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in large non-stick frying pan on a high heat on the hob. Once hot, add the black pudding, scallops, ceps, Thyme and tarragon. Season the scallops and ceps. Cook everything for 2 minutes before turning. Once turned, season the scallops and ceps again with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Ensure the black pudding has a nice crust all over.

To serve, place the black pudding, scallops and ceps on a warmed plate. Spoon over the butter sauce and decorate with the zesty wood sorrel.

Shortlist announced for Food Made Good Business of the Year...

by Cafe St Honoré

…and we’re on it! Following the great news last week that we’ve been shortlisted for the ‘Treat Staff Fairly’ award - we can announce today that we have also been shortlisted for the ‘Business of the Year’ award.

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The list of the Top 20 includes ten independent restaurants, a hotel, two pubs, half a dozen university and workplace caterers as well as a cookery school.

The winner, the business to have achieved the highest score in the Sustainable Restaurant’s Association’s industry leading sustainability rating, will be announced at the Food Made Good Awards ceremony on 1 October at Fest Camden. 

The SRA’s rating assesses businesses across all aspects of their policies and operations and their influence across ten key themes under the headings of Sourcing, Environment and Society. Together these define a ‘good’ restaurant or foodservice business.


by Cafe St Honoré in

"This is a great way to use up these wonderful vegetables when you have a glut. The recipe is so easy and it keeps well - it’s great served chilled in small amounts on a very hot summer’s day. The extra-virgin olive oil really works here. And do use the courgette flowers as a garnish." 

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cooking time: tomatoes up to 2 hours, soup 20 minutes


2 large courgettes, diced into rough 1-inch cubes
1 banana shallot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small handful of basil and mint leaves, roughly chopped
100g grated Anster cheese, or any other hard, crumbly cheese
2 tomatoes
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
Good salt and pepper
A few edible flowers like cornflower blue or calendula to garnish


Heat the oven to 150°C / Gas Mark 2

Remove the eyes from the tomatoes and give them a good wash. Cut them in half and lay them on an ovenproof tray. Sprinkle with good salt and pepper and trickle over some extra-virgin olive oil. Place in the oven for between 1 and 2 hours. Remove and keep in a tub in the fridge if you wish.

Heat 50ml of the oil in a pot and sweat the shallot and the garlic until soft, then add the courgette and season with good salt and pepper. Stir and add enough boiling water to cover and a bit more.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until soft - don’t let it dry out – then add the herbs and blitz with a hand-blender.

Add 3/4 of the cheese and blitz again - it doesn’t need to be super-smooth. Check the seasoning. 

To serve, pour the soup into warmed bowls and add the tomatoes and the extra cheese. Garnish with some edible flowers and an extra trickle of olive oil. Serve with some good bread.


by Cafe St Honoré

It’s always an honour to be asked to cook at the magical Secret Herb Garden. Owners Hamish and Libby are such great hosts and create a truly special atmosphere for their guests. We thought you might enjoy seeing a few pictures from the night. The menu was simple, and replete with fabulous ingredients including a few from the garden. There’s nothing quite like cooking over an open flame outdoors. And oh how we wish we had room for a cheese cart at Cafe. Perhaps Neil’s favourite part of the evening!


by Cafe St Honoré in

"There are two elements in this recipe. The salted hock, or knuckle, from the pig, and the pickled cucumber. Together they are astonishingly good. The sharp, sweet vegetable does its job so well to cut through the rich, salty meat. I like to add other seasonings to the flaked meat like Arran mustard and lots of curly parsley. This is where you can have fun and do your own thing. Try different herbs that you may be growing, or play with different veg to go with it. Remember to keep the stock from cooking the hocks as it makes the best soup in the world. Just add a handful of peasemeal or red lentils."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 6 to 8
Cooking time: 4 hours plus overnight; Prep time: 45 minutes



3 unsmoked ham hocks

1 stick celery

2 carrots, peeled 

1 onion, peeled and halved

6 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 sprig thyme

2 spring onions, finely chopped

125g unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon Arran mustard, or any grain mustard will do


1 cucumber

500ml good cider vinegar

500g caster sugar

500ml cold water

2 star anise 

Good salt and pepper

A few mustard seeds

A few handfuls of salad leaves

A few radishes, sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon Arran mustard 

A splash of vinegar


Place the hocks in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add the celery, carrots, onion, peppercorns, bay and thyme and bring to just below a rolling boil and simmer for 4 hours, skimming off any residue and adding more water if required. Don’t over boil. 

Once cooked and the meat is falling off the bone, remove the hocks from the pot and allow them to cool slightly, before flaking all the meat off the bone. Retain the celery, carrots and onion. Keep the fat for another dish and retain the stock for soup. 

Roughly chop the carrots, onion and celery from the stock pot and add them to a bowl with the flaked meat, melted butter, mustard, spring onions and parsley.  Mix thoroughly and check the seasoning. 

Line a terrine mould or plastic tub with oiled cling film - oiled side down. Pack the terrine mix into the mould and fold over the cling film so it covers the terrine entirely. Place something heavy on top to press it down and refrigerate overnight. 

To make the pickled cucumber, bring the water, sugar and vinegar to the boil then add the mustard seeds, star anise and a teaspoon of salt. Add the cucumber to the pot - you may have to halve the cucumber if it’s too long - that’s fine as it won’t affect the final taste. Cover with a lid and simmer for about an hour until the cucumber is just soft. Then turn off the heat and leave it to cool in the pickling liquid. Once cooled, cut into slices and set to one side.

Make a dressing by mixing 4 tablespoons of olive oil, one teaspoon of Arran mustard and a splash of vinegar.

To serve, place a slice of the terrine in the centre of a plate and arrange the pickled cucumber around or on top. Garnish with a few salad leaves and slices of radish trickled with the dressing. Serve at once.


by Cafe St Honoré in

"I’m choosing this forgotten cut of meat because it is truly delicious, and very sustainable. It’s an old-school part of an animal that’s often discarded – an ingredient from our parents’ and grandparents’ generations. I love it. In this recipe it’s simply brined overnight then gently simmered in a rich veg stock and served with the piquant gribiche. Order the tongue ahead of time from your butcher."

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 6 to 8

Brining time: overnight; prep time: 40 minutes; cooking time: 4 to 6 hours


1 organic ox or field-raised ruby veal tongue, rinsed

400ml red wine

2 sprigs of thyme

3 cloves

200g brown sugar

1 clove of crushed garlic

200ml water

250g salt

1 large carrot, peeled

1 large onion, peeled

1 stick of celery

A few parsley stalks

6 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 hard boiled eggs, yolks and whites chopped separately

2 tablespoons cornichons, chopped

2 tablespoon capers, chopped

2 to 3 shallots, chopped

2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons tarragon, chopped

6 to 8 tablespoons mayonnaise

Good salt and pepper to season

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

A few handfuls of watercress and red chicory

A few radishes, sliced


Make a brine by adding the red wine, thyme, cloves, brown sugar, garlic, water and salt to a pot and bringing to a gentle simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, leave it to cool completely for a few hours. Once cold, submerge the ox tongue in the brine and leave in the fridge or in a cool place overnight. 

Remove the tongue from the brine and give it a rinse under a cold tap. Place the tongue into a clean pan and cover with cold water. Add the carrot, onion, celery, parsley stalks, peppercorns and bay leaves and cook on a low simmer for 4 to 6 hours until tender when pierced with a skewer at the thickest point. Once cooked, allow to cool slightly then remove the skin. Either press into a terrine mould or wrap in cling film and leave to cool thoroughly.

To make the sauce gribiche, combine the eggs, cornichons, capers, shallots, parsley, tarragon and mayonnaise in a bowl and mix well. Season to taste and stir in a little rapeseed oil. 

To serve, carve a few slices of tongue per person and top with the sauce gribiche. Garnish with salad leaves and radishes, then trickle over the remaining oil or your favourite dressing and season with a little more salt and pepper.



by Cafe St Honoré in

"Mackerel is one of, if not my very favourite fish and there are a lot of them out there in our oceans. Absolutely delicious pan-fried with good oil, lemon and salt. A wonderful dish to eat with a simple salad of shaved fennel, and that sharp piquant hit from the capers in the sauce. Be careful not to burn the fish when cooking. Get the non-stick pan out for this dish!"

Image: Paul Johnston,  Copper Mango

Image: Paul Johnston, Copper Mango

Serves 1
Prep time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 4 minutes


2 fillets of fresh mackerel, all bones removed

1/2 fennel bulb, peeled

A few salad leaves

Chopped mixed herbs, like chervil and dill

1 tablespoon mini capers

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon lemon vinegar, or any fruit vinegar will do

2 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

Juice of half a lemon

Good salt and pepper


Make the salad by slicing the fennel on a mandolin or cutting very thinly with a knife. Add this to a bowl with the chopped parsley, vinegar, capers, 1 teaspoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Set to one side. 

Place a non-stick pan on a moderately hot hob and heat 1 tablespoon of oil, swirling it to coat the base of the pan. Ensure the fish is dry, then carefully place the fillets skin-side-down into the hot pan. Press down lightly with a fish slice, then season with salt and pepper. Ensure the skin is in contact with the oil and doesn’t warp in the heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, season again, then carefully turn over and cook for 45 seconds. I prefer it to be cooked slightly under, rather than over. 

Remove the mackerel from the pan and place straight onto a plate. Garnish with the fennel salad and a few mixed leaves and herbs. Drizzle with the remaining oil and a good squeeze of lemon.



by Cafe St Honoré

On Tuesday 25th June we hosted a lunch to launch Food Made Good's One Planet Plate campaign in Edinburgh.

The campaign encourages restaurants to highlight dishes on their menus that address problems in the food system and gives chefs the opportunity to demonstrate to diners how they’re contributing to a better food future. Criteria for a One Planet Plate dish includes using more veg, no waste, a low carbon footprint, celebrating local ingredients, sourcing fish sustainably and using better meat. 

Our chef director Neil Forbes, said: “One Planet Plate is a great opportunity to highlight how the restaurant industry can make big differences by being more sustainable. Making a few small changes can have a huge impact on future generations. I encourage others to follow the One Planet Plate ethos and together we can strive for a more sustainable future.”

Visit the One Planet Plate website to discover sustainable recipes from restaurants across the globe, including Neil Forbes' recipe for mussels, with shallots, garlic, cream and tarragon.