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LONDON, England (CNN) -- What is an environmentally friendly restaurant? You could be forgiven for conjuring up images of earthenware bowls of wind-fall served by hippy waiting staff, but a new venture in London is banishing these musty old ideas.

Being eco-friendly is now less of an alternative lifestyle choice and more of a necessity for all of us. But how many of us take that mentality out of the home and into our social lives?

Acorn House is a restaurant in London that opened in October, 2006. Its aim: to set a standard for all restaurants to follow and banish the idea that being worthy doesn't mean sacrificing a good dining experience.

"We've always recycled, tried to conserve energy and home and be ethical," said Jamie Grainger-Smith, the restaurant's manager. "We wanted our work to reflect our values and the way we live our lives at home to spill into our careers."

From inside the restaurant to sourcing produce Grainger-Smith and Arthur Potts, his co-founder and Roux-trained executive head chef, think they've ticked all the boxes when it comes to sustainable produce and socially aware management.

The produce is seasonal, organic and sourced from as near to the restaurant when possible; 80 percent of its waste is recycled; water is purified on site and there's even a little herb garden on the roof that Jamie and Arthur hope will become a mini eco-system of insects and plants in the heart of London's grey and fume-filled King's Cross area.

They've gone a carbon-neutral mile further though. To reduce carbon emissions from transportation they use vans powered by bio-diesel inside London and even claim to use boats on England's network of canals to transport produce from outside the capital.

Sowing the seeds for more restaurants like Acorn House, Jamie and Arthur are committed to training ten chefs a year in the eco-friendly restaurant trade. The rest of the staff are also hired from a young, local workforce.

So you can feel virtuous by enjoying the seasonally changing menu in the airy, energy-saving bulb-lit interior , but does the food match up to the worthiness? It's already had plenty of restaurant critics salivating.

Fay Maschler, the grand dame of the London restaurant scene and foodie for The Evening Standard called it a venture "that all restaurants should emulate."

On our lunchtime visit we enjoyed a selection of inventive seasonal salads served with our mains of roast pork chops, delicately flavoured sea bream and minute steak with anchovy and rosemary sauce.

It was washed down with a bottle of Chaple Down Bacchus white wine from Kent, England (yes, England), for the novelty value that also unwittingly kept our meal's food miles down. We were pleased when it turned out to be more than passable. Wine lovers are well catered for and don't have to go local, with a wine list covering nearly 50 bottles from across the world.

We could gripe that the broccoli was overdone in the broccoli, shallot and ginger salad and the asparagus we were served was a bit woody, but the quality of the cooking was generally good - the high minded ethos of the restaurant was matched by the attention to detail in the menu.

A good sign was that it was the food and relaxed atmosphere that left us with a sense of well-being not just the idea that we'd been dining responsibly. Uultimately that will decide how successful Acorn House will be and if any other ventures grow from its eco-friendly ideas.


Should all restaurants follow Acorn House's sustainable dining ethos?

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