Our Evolving Sustainability Story

Origins

It’s no secret that opening an independent restaurant in the twenty-first century comes with a number of challenges. But, particularly as a seafood restaurant, one challenge has always been at the forefront of our minds: sustainability. Globally, our oceans are under threat. A basic audit of the issue quickly brings up overfishing, harmful fishing practices, and the high environmental cost of shipping seafood over vast distances. Additionally, an awareness of the wine and spirit industry’s environmental impact and practices quickly shows that not all drinks are created equally, either. 

 

We’ve seen how issues in sustainability like these are not prioritised in an industry that could not contribute more to their existence. More, as a family-run business, we also harbour concern for the children in our lives and the world they will one day inherit. Simply put – a commitment to sustainability was something we knew from the get-go Lyon’s would honour. This is, however, no small task. 

 

We cannot claim to be a 100% sustainable restaurant or “no waste” restaurant. Nor do we claim to be total experts in the field of sustainability – we are constantly learning, too. However, this evolution is precisely why we hope to share our sustainability story. Sustainability might be a big issue to tackle, but it doesn’t have to be something to dread or tip-toe around. Here are some ways we incorporate sustainable practices into our restaurant:

 

Low Waste: From Fin to Tail 

If you haven’t heard of fish collars, you’re not alone. One of our most popular small plates, the BBQ fish collars with jerk marinade are a great example of this ethos. The collar is found between the gills and body of the fish – the clavicle to be exact. Considered an offcut, collars are not sold at supermarkets and go to waste all too often. But under a low waste mentality and a little curiosity, collars quickly become a rich, succulent, tender piece of fish we refuse to overlook and ensure we have a balanced menu that utilises fish from fin to tail. 

Collars are just a start. We make our Korean BBQ cauliflower large plate with every part of the cauliflower, except the stem. Leftover prawn shells have been used to make our prawn oil. Our saltfish croquettes are made using our own off-cuts. When we’ve had scallops on the menu, we used the leftover roe to make a whipped roe to go with our house-baked bread. And every night, our oyster, clam, and mussel shells are set aside and collected weekly to be ground into fertiliser for community gardens across London. 

 

It’s been a case of posing the question, how can we minimise our waste? And, overtime, we’ve found dozens of ways to answer it. We’re still finding more. But this simple shift in mindset is one manageable, systematic way we all can tackle sustainability – as individuals, and as a restaurant.  

 

Sourcing 

When perusing the aisles at your local shop to buy chicken, we all know to look for words like “free range” and “organic”. No one wants to buy a battery chicken. And yet, when it comes to seafood, people are far less aware of where the fish that line the shelves are coming from, or what the stocks of that fish are like. 

 

Fish stocks refer to the population of fish in a region. If the stock is healthy and plentiful, it’s safe to catch them. But if a stock has been depleted, continuing to fish becomes a harmful practice.  A great way to stay informed about fish stocks is to sign up for the Marine Conservation Society. The organisation lists what fish are considered green, amber, or red level, so you know what to avoid. The levels fluctuate, so be sure to check regularly. 

You’ll often see hake on our menu as our dayboat fish. While you might be expecting cod or pollock, these fish stocks are more often in the amber or red level. Hake is thus a more sustainable, less overfished choice, leaving more cod and pollock stock in the sea for others. 

 

Another thing to look out for is how fish has been caught and stored. Harmful fishing practices like bottom trawling, where large nets drag along the bottom of the ocean floor can wipe out ecosystems and often have an enormous amount of bycatch. It can take up to 15 years for these environments to recover. Instead, look for line-caught or netted fish from dayboats, processes with a significantly less environmental impact. This also supports individual fishers, not massive fish factories out in the middle of the ocean. Lastly, frozen fish means it’s been shipped in with a bigger carbon footprint. Finding fish caught locally, from the British Isles, or even within the EU, is also a better choice for the environment. 

 

So, when visiting the fishmonger’s, have a chat – where has the fish come from? How was it caught? Is it responsibly-sourced? If they can’t answer these questions, you’re not in the right place. 

 

At the Bar

Our passion for sustainability spills over into our wine bar. Just as we carefully source our fish, we do the same for our wine and spirits. When buying from larger businesses, we also look for B-Corps, stringently certified companies that meet high sustainable, ethical, and transparency requirements. But, particularly with wine, we prioritise working with smaller makers with similar ethos, small-batch producers with organic or biodynamic farming principles. We’ve found that these makers have better control of the product they’re creating, and greater care is shown to both the product and the environment it’s made in. Simply asking questions at your local shop is an easy way to find great wine and spirits that aligns with more sustainable values. 

 

Future

We’ve still got much to strive for and much to add to the conversation surrounding sustainability. For now, we’re aiming to take a look at our produce suppliers and learn about sustainable farming practices. We’re constantly improving small bits as a team, recently making business cards from recycled menus. Though these actions, and our restaurant in general, may be seen as a drop in the ocean, we firmly believe that what we do matters. We’re excited to see our sustainability story evolve. Until then, we’re proud of where we’re at.