Did you know that today, July 28, marks World Nature Conservation Day? Held annually, this global event stresses the need for preserving a healthy environment and natural resources to maintain a healthy and stable society, especially for the sake of future generations. Incidentally, there are a handful of eateries across Dubai that are playing their part in this collective mission, putting the environment first through their carefully curated menus and a whole host of eco-friendly practices. Here they are at a glance.
Sustainability reigns supreme at DIFC-based BOCA, courtesy of Head Chef Matthijs Stinnissen. Passionate about sourcing local ingredients, this Mediterranean restaurant has hosted several zero-waste dinners and illustrated its commitment to sourcing locally through a guide dedicated to Emirati produce. As a result, you’ll see ingredients such as Emirati honey, local sea bass ceviche, and local beetroot stock make appearances on its seasonal menus.
Using offcuts for the likes of soups, sauces, and syrups, Cassette is dedicated to bringing food wastage down to a minimum. This trendy spot in Al Quoz also uses takeaway containers made of 80% Bagasse, an efficient byproduct of the bioenergy sector. Elsewhere, its cassava-made straws and cups are entirely biodegradable, breaking down into carbon dioxide and water within six months of being discarded. As for its wholesome breakfast dishes and healthy mains? Each is composed using fresh produce from local farms.
Omakase-style restaurant Moonrise was founded by one of Dubai’s youngest and most interesting chefs: Solemann Haddad, a third culture kid passionate about what he calls “Dubai cuisine”. Here, only eight diners are accommodated at a time, and only what will be utilised is purchased. Moonrise is rooted in a minimal-waste policy, resulting in dishes that speak volumes of Haddad’s creativity – wilted shiso leaves are blended into the refreshing welcome beverage, while the ends of sourdough loaf are vacuum-sealed and stored, eventually turned into a homemade miso.
Pairing a relaxed vibe with a sustainable ethos, Lowe is anchored in reducing waste, local sourcing, and giving back to society. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s the first ever winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award by MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants. Co-founders Jesse Black and Kate Cristou’s eatery initially kickstarted this ethos with Waste Not dinners made entirely of scraps and then adapted the rest of their practices, too (think: avoiding single-use plastic and using leftover peels in recipes for onsite fermentation).
One Life Kitchen
Reusable glass bottles instead of takeaway cups, locally sourced produce instead of high-carbon imports, interiors dominated by recycled timbers and used palettes – it’s all here at this homegrown gem in d3. One Life Kitchen is also big on reducing food waste; the staff plant avocado seeds, burn used coffee grounds to deter flies, and even use the strained water from yoghurt as a protein shake. As for anything that’s left at the end of the day? It’s all distributed to staff around the Dubai Design District neighbourhood.
Boasting three outposts across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sanderson’s not only sources from local suppliers where possible but has also curated a menu that’s streamlined to ensure waste reduction while providing taste and nourishment. Diners are offered free house-filtered water, while wastewater is cleaned and reused within the community to water plants. Elsewhere, used oil is recycled, and there are solar panels that feed into the national electricity grid.
Wild & The Moon
Created by a tribe of chefs, nutritionists, and naturopaths who believe that food should be good for you and good for the Planet, Wild & The Moon serves plant-based and hormone-free dishes composed of local, seasonal, ethically sourced and organic produce. It also uses 100% biodegradable packaging, while following a zero-waste policy and recycling as much as possible – the fibre-rich pulps from its juices and nutmylks, for example, are revitalised into nutrient-dense raw crackers.