The Zero Waste Table: Native Restaurant
Foraging for food is much like foraging for fashion. It’s about the delight of discovering something rare, delicious and seasonal, and putting these finds together to create the perfect ensemble. That’s why we're delighted to welcome Native to occupy our restaurant space at our brand new flagship, Browns Brook Street. Combining a sustainable ethos with an exquisite dining experience, the founders whet our appetites for what to expect, and offer some tips to try at home.
Get To Know Native…
What makes Native different from other restaurants?
Fun dining! Foraged ingredients that you’ve never heard of; exciting and innovative ways to serve hyper-seasonal vegetables - maybe a few ants thrown in for good measure! We like our restaurants to have a super casual and relaxed atmosphere with good music and cocktails - the perfect hang out spot.
What or who inspired your dining proposition?
We’ve always let the land inspire and dictate our food, which means we have to be more creative and think outside of the box when it comes to designing the menu. It’s great, but also a lot of pressure! When tasting the dishes, we make sure that we’d want to sit down as customers and enjoy each dish.
Describe your ethos in three words.
Sustainable, wild, innovative.
Can you talk about the offering you’ll be providing at Browns Brook Street?
Native at Browns is the mischievous little sister that has been waiting in the wings to go out there and have fun with sustainable, conscious food in an accessible, playful way. Expect comforting, familiar dishes and cocktails, with a wild, Native twist.
Can you describe the link between Native and Browns?
Food and fashion are obvious companions. When you have an appreciation of the craftsmanship, skill and beauty of luxury fashion, it’s inevitable that you’ll have the same understanding and appreciation of the highest quality ingredients and dining experience. With social media playing such a pivotal role in new fashion trends, the same can be said for restaurants - being seen in the hot new spot/ hot new outfit!
People are now asking questions about the provenance, traceability and sustainability of food, and followers of fashion are asking the same. Consumers want to know that they are making conscious decisions on both parts, and it’s amazing to be collaborating with Browns to fuse these two worlds together.
More On Foraging...
What is foraging and where does it originate?
Foraging is the act of gathering wild food, with its origins dating back to hunter-gatherer times, and is the ultimate way to eat seasonally.
Where did your enthusiasm for foraging begin?
Picking blackberries to make jam and making rose petal tea. It wasn’t an intentional act to go foraging, more something that I found fun, and it developed from there.
What kind of foods do you forage for generally?
Our favourites grown all over are yarrow, chickweed, meadowsweet and woodruff. They sound like Harry Potter spells but I promise they’re just delicious ingredients we love to cook with!
How can one learn to forage?
The best place to start are hedgerows. You’ll find all the easily identifiable berries, nettles and elderflowers which is a great way to start making jams and cordials.
We would definitely advise picking up a book, or an app, and cross-referencing a few sources before eating anything. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have, so do get in touch! Remember the foraging rule of thirds:
- Take one third.
- Leave one third for others.
- Leave one third for the future.
Easiest ingredient to forage?
Blackberries or sloe berries - a great excuse to make some sloe gin. Or when you’re by the sea, foraging some seaweed is a great place to start, as no seaweed is poisonous, so you can’t go far wrong.
… and the most difficult?
Mushrooms are the obvious tricky one, but lots of foraged ingredients make you work hard for them. Pignuts are also tricky, as when you try and dig them up, they can easily break. It’s a lot of work for a tiny tuber!
5 Top Tips...
1. Preserve - Fermenting and pickling is a great way to use up any surplus ingredients, from flavouring kombucha with leftover lemons, to a carrot top pesto you can keep in the freezer.
2. Stick to the seasons - Support your local farmers and community by visiting local greengrocers and farmers markets to pick up delicious, seasonal produce.
3. Go plastic free - By visiting local farms and markets you’ll find it so much easier to cut down on your plastic
4. Grow your own - try growing your favourite herbs. There’s no better feeling than picking some of your homegrown produce!
5. Reuse, repurpose, recycle.
Native founders Ivan Tisdall-Downes and Imogen Davis