Taking home your half-eaten food from a restaurant – ew, right? Well, actually this ‘doggy bag’ tradition has made its way out of America and sneaked its way in to top London restaurants. Will you join the craze?
Doggy bags aren’t just for Americans and Pizza Hut. They’re for Brits and posh joints.
Sure, the stereotypically huge portions that American eateries offer may have a greater need to take uneaten food home with you, but we’re wasting a hell of a lot of food on our shores too.
The Sustainable Restaurant Association worked out that most diners waste around 30% of the food on their plates. And on average one British restaurant throws away 21 tonnes of grub every single year – the equivalent of three double-decker buses.
Afraid of doggy bags
There’s no denying it – there’s a stigma that comes with asking a waiter whether you can take home your leftovers. In the past I would much rather overeat to bursting point than ask to take food I’ve paid for home in a doggy bag. Foolish, I know, especially when I’m known for eyes being bigger than my stomach.
‘Funny the only place I have felt comfortable doing that is at an Indian or pizza place.’
Liz Phillips (@fizzyphillips) shared the same sentiment, but did leave open some hope:
‘Too embarrassing to ask, but if they offered… then I might accept.’
To that end, there’s a campaign that’s trying to get restaurants to offer an option for diners to take home leftovers. Too Good To Waste, backed by the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Giles Coren, has created a bio-degradable ‘doggy box’ for London restaurants. You’ll find them in chains like Feng Sushi and Leon.
Not just chains
But you needn’t be limited to chains if you have a habit of over-ordering, as journalist Priscilla Pollara found out. Writing in The Evening Standard, she tracked down a number of posh joints that let their diners take back uneaten grub.
Grosvenor Square’s 34 restaurant offers doggy boxes adorned with a Tracey Emin drawing – I can see scores of people deliberately leaving food on their plates just to get their hands on one! As Priscilla told us on Twitter, it’s ‘suddenly very cool not being able to finish!’
And then there’s the Michelin-starred Benares, Gaucho restaurants, Battersea pizzeria Bunga Bunga and many more. The latter’s co-owner, Charlie Gilkes, told The Evening Standard:
‘We love the idea of people taking home in a pizza box what they can’t eat. After all, it’s a fun and important measure to ensure sustainability.’
Doggy bags are in vogue. And why not – it’s about getting what you’ve paid for, rather than shoving it in the bin and contributing to the piles of food restaurants throw away every year.
So, would you be happy to ask for a doggy bag in a posh restaurant? Or is it too embarrassing to ask a waiter dressed up to the nines?
Do you ask for a doggy bag if you have food left?
Yes – I don’t want to waste my leftovers (53%, 206 Votes)
I always finish the food I’ve ordered (29%, 112 Votes)
No – it’s too embarrassing to ask (19%, 74 Votes)
Total Voters: 394