On the spot: Mark Bannon, Bostonian Restaurant
The Bostonian Restaurant inside Hong Kong’s posh Langham Hotel is one of the country’s first to showcase a fully sustainable seafood menu.
The new à la carte menu — which includes Norwegian farmed salmon, Maine lobster and wild kingfish from New Zealand — is an essential complement to the eatery’s other offerings, such as grass-fed beef and locally-grown produce, said executive chef Mark Bannon. The menu, launched in early March, has already gained a loyal following among hotel guests and local diners.
I recently interviewed Bannon about the benefits and challenges of serving only sustainable seafood.
Blank: Why did you add the sustainable seafood menu and promote it as such?
Bannon: We want people to enjoy this food, knowing they are helping to maintain the future of our precious sea life. With a growing concern for the environment, the Langham is committed to doing all it can to be more environmentally aware.
What types of sustainable seafood are you serving?
We are serving farmed sustainable, organic farmed sustainable, wild caught sustainable, and, more importantly, line-caught wild sustainable fish, including snapper, sea bream and John Dory.
Is it challenging to serve only sustainable seafood, and do customers appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish?
This has been a huge educational journey for the whole team. I am proud of what we have achieved in a relatively short time — the whole process of going sustainable has taken us four moths. It took a while to organize suppliers who could provide sustainable, line-caught fish. Being line-caught means you cannot always get the quantities you need. We have found, however, that guests are very understanding on the rare occasion that we might not be able to provide what they have ordered.
Which sustainable seafood suppliers and organizations do you work with?
We work closely with Lee Fish Group in conformity with Friend of the Sea, and we are also building relations with the World Wildlife Federation.