Located in the gorgeous Notting Hill, Tiny Leaf, which opened late last month, is London’s first zero waste, completely organic and vegetarian restaurant. Intrigued by the concept, and the idea of a daily changing menu, all which is dependent upon what products the restaurant has been donated that day (a list that includes Planet Organic and Langridge), StyleNest jumped at the chance to attend one of their first evening services.
Taking temporary residence in the Notting Hill branch of restaurant chain Bumpkin, Tiny Leaf is far from just another pop-up or simple dining concept. The entire building, totalling four floors, has been taken over by the group, and as we approach the restaurant, you can feel the bustling chatter and atmosphere radiating from the roof down.
The ground floor and first floor are the dedicated dining rooms and both floors have been decorated with a romantic essence, complemented by candle light, couples seating, alcoves and charming wooden tables and chairs. You would never have guessed that even the furniture in the restaurant has come from donations! It is this element that actually gives the restaurant that cosy, lived in feel that is so often overlooked by many of London’s nouveau eateries.
The menu is concise, but given that all the produce is donated, the fact that they have been able to produce three diverse and tastefully complex dishes for each course is astonishing. The starters we chose include an Arabic flavoured dish, comprising of baba ganoush, charred tomatoes, feta and cucumber alongside a fresh and velvety, dairy free courgette and potato soup. The dishes are both devoured, and the textures are right on point.
The mains arrive just as exquisitely presented. As it is Burns Night we had to share the vegetarian haggis and Tiny Leaf’s trademark Market Plate selection. The ‘Nutty Haggis’ arrived as a rich and juicy blend of potatoes, pumpkin, mixed nuts and seeds, moisturised by a shot of amber whisky. It delivers on texture and flavour. The Market Plate is a gorgeous selection of ‘in-season’, perfectly roasted vegetables, complimented with a fragrant sauce and buckwheat grains. On the side, a freshly baked soda bread is the perfect vessel for mopping up the last remnants of flavour left on our plates.
Although we felt more than satisfied, it would have been rude not to support tiny Leaf’s zero waste efforts – how could we turn down the option and let dessert go to waste? Having a pudding is good for the environment, or at least that’s what we told ourselves later that evening, as we rolled out the door. Options that day included apple pie, pear and blueberry crumble and a devilishly good sounding buckwheat croissant and butter pudding. In the mood for warmth on a blustery January evening, we both ended up choosing the crumble. It was warm, gooey, tart, sweet, fresh and crunchy – the way a good British crumble should be.
After the meal, we were invited to explore the other interesting and exciting floors of the building. The first stop was the White Room, a Jackson Pollock-esque bar serving botanical cocktails. We stopped for a fair bit longer than usual, dabbling in conversation with the barmen and tasting their signature cocktail, The Tiny Leaf. The bartender tells us the story behind his inventions and that all the cocktails are created using Fair Rrade spirits and herbs, whilst their beer options include Toast, a zero waste beer made from surplus bread! They have thought of all the details.
The top floor is a dark, romantically moody, attic like space with open wooden beams and a roaring fire. We are told by the wonderful head of marketing, Alice Gilsenan, that they intend to start organising talks, documentary screenings, cinema evenings, gig nights and Jazz and Blues concerts – we both asked in unison, where can we sign up?
Tiny Leaf has introduced a new dining concept to us and we really like it – not only because of its zero waste and ethical standards, but also because of the diversity on offer. The setting feels somewhat similar to a new type of member’s club, not the type with queues and prerequisites, but rather a place where people can come to eat, drink, dance, relax and be educated with likeminded, conscious people.
For further information and to book a table please visit their website www.tinyleaflondon.com or call 0207 2439818.