Eating ethically at England's Alimentum restaurant

Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:39am EDT
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By Paul Casciato

CAMBRIDGE, England (Reuters Life!) - The decor is smart and the location well-suited for business, but it's the ever-changing menu and ethical feel-good factor that sets British restaurant Alimentum apart.

The restaurant -- on the ground floor of a newish building and close to the railway station in this ancient English university town -- is serious about finding the most ethical sources for the modern French food it serves its guests.

Head Chef Mark Poynton told Reuters that he and Alimentum owner John Hudgell visit local farms, talk to producers and even check veterinary bills to find the best ethically sourced food, grown locally and to top standards.

"It's taken me five weeks to source scallops on a daily basis," Poynton said as an example of the lengths he and Hudgell will go to find line-caught or day boat fish, organic standard vegetables, hand-dived scallops, beef, lamb, pork and chicken that has been reared well.

Consequently the menu is constantly in flux with sources and the seasons, which Poynton says makes his job a bit of an adventure every day.

"There's a constant evolution in what you are doing," he adds.

Customers clearly love the food -- business was up 46 percent alone in June this year over the same month in 2008 despite the recession -- and the ethically minded can tuck in with no regrets.

The watchdog for animal welfare in Britain, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, gave Alimentum an award for innovation last year and is currently considering it for "best ethical independent business award" in 2009.   Continued...