Andy Hilton refuses to make any grand statements about Arbor’s sustainability practises. As head chef, he is committed to green cooking, but for his brigade, this is just what they do every day, it’s normal. Be it working with low-energy induction hobs or diligently minimising kitchen waste: ‘Week-to-week, it doesn’t affect us. We don’t talk about it a lot. It’s just the way we work.’
In fact, in the wider context of Arbor’s home, the Green House hotel, Andy’s kitchen is not that radical. This gorgeous Grade II-listed Victorian villa is one of Britain’s greenest stays. Its reception desk is made from reclaimed timber and its carpets are made from naturally fire-retardant sheep’s wool (so no chemicals). The company car even runs on bio-fuel made from waste kitchen oil.
At dinner, guests can enjoy an aperitif of Chinkapin rosé (£8) from Poole’s English Oak vineyard – a wine distributed by electric car – before revelling in sharp, guilt-free dishes that employ produce from trusted suppliers such as Samways, who buy fish from Dorset’s day-boats. Andy’s broadly modern British food incorporates everything from Italian to Indian influences – ‘I like big flavours’ – but always with a sustainable focus. For instance, dishes are adapted to seasonal deliveries. This month, Andy will be dropping autumn veg into his dish of seared pork neck with duck-fat roast potatoes and a chorizo cream sauce, and his seafood plate changes constantly: ‘We use what the fishmonger has that day. We stick to what we know is sustainable.’ Starters from £4.50, mains from £13.50. Rooms from £129. arbor-restaurant.co.uk