NewsUNESCO: 70% Salty

London’s hippest sustainable seafood venue: Faber’s at Hammersmith

3 Mins read

Faber Restaurant co-founders Anthony Pender and Matt Ward share knowledge and passion through UK’s coastal sustainable seafood.

FABER BRITISH WINE AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT


Photos Credit: Faber Restaurant

Owning a sustainable small seafood business in London in the early 2000s was unheard of, but as time progressed, so did the practice of serving ethically sourced fish. The United Kingdom’s Marine Conservation Society Good Fish Guide lists over 150 fish species that are sustainable and safe to consume. The most widely consumed Seafood in the UK country are cod, salmon, haddock, tuna, and prawns are among those listed. For fifteen years, East London pub partners and seafood vendors Anthony Pender and Matt Ward have managed to facilitate sustainable and environmentally conscious venues. “I think with seafood restaurants, it’s about trust. So, we’ve had to invest a lot of time and effort into building our reputation,” says Pender. In the Fall of 2023, Faber Wine and Seafood Restaurant opened its doors to the public at London’s Hammersmith.   

The duo continuously goes on UK road trips, visiting fish markets and meeting fishermen communities. Pender and Ward’s leading fishmonger suppliers are brought from UK coastal locations Brixham and Penzance to reduce their carbon footprint. They have also chosen to work with other predominant fish markets, as their suppliers from Peterhead in Scotland, Rye Hastings in Kent, and Sussex. After receiving whole fish shipments, “We hang dry age the fish slightly, as well, because it makes the skin better and basically uses salt blocks and in a cooled environment for twenty-four hours,” a chef’s dark art adds Pender.

Creating a seasonal seafood dish is more than experimenting with new ingredients. It is about researching UK coastal sustainable fish; for Pender and Ward, it’s like going down a ‘rabbit hole’ gathering information on licensing fish, avoiding intense farming, and respecting the spawning season. Based on their research, a few weeks back, they decided to remove a best-selling dish and replace it with another fish, so long as it was processed and sustainable. “There’s an abundance of diversity in the ocean to fish, something sustainable. We don’t have to go after these high-ticket tunas and cod,” says Pender

Breaking down fish bones is part of being resourceful at Faber Restaurant, “So, we’re not throwing away anything on the menu; make sure we’re using every part of the fish to create an element of the dish, the cheek of the fish as well as the nose,” says Pender. Another unique ingredient they’ve added as part of an element to a fish dish is incorporating a piece of roe, an orange part of the scallop, to create a flavorful baste.

In addition, Faber Restaurant is partnered with Câr-y-Môr, a community project at Pembrokeshire Coast National Park that grows seaweed farms. Seaweed is a naturally grown species used as a protein source and great for biodiversity. They use seaweed as a supplement to create texture in their fish dishes. Pender added that part of the partnership with Câr-y-Môr was contributing to their project: “We use our water filter system with refillable bottles,” adding that there is no actual charge for water but a small surcharge to help care for their seaweed project.   

Faber’s seafood menu changes with the seasons, and Pender and Ward created journal entries to engage with their guests. They dish out their traveling experiences, crafting fish recipes to cook at home, and exclusively include a seasonality site, a calendar made as an educational piece on certain fish to consume during the year’s season. There are over six chefs at Faber, including  head chef Ollie Bass, who has a background in working at The Sea The Sea, Quo Vadis, and Sessions Arts Club. Participation of staff and chefs regarding vendors, produce, and changing  menu; it’s a daily conversation and a “collaborate effort,” adds Pender. This also gives chefs the freedom to create unique, sustainable dishes, “We want to keep on pushing boundaries, will want to keep on trying new things, and we will have to always react to a natural environment,” emphasizes Pender.   

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