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August 15, 2010

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Low-carbon Zed Bar fare

THE trendy Zed Bar in the London Pavilion offers low-carbon, solar-powered dining: Even the plates and chocolate chopsticks can be eaten after the meal.

The restaurant and the pavilion are built following the fashion of BedZED, the world's first zero-carbon community of Beddington in Hackbridge, London.

Customers are encouraged not to waste food and to recycle waste products at the stylish bar and eatery in the Urban Best Practices Area.

At the Zed Bar, each piece of the furniture is made from used or discarded items. The chairs are fashioned from dozens of sections of water pipes, clearly identifiable as pipes. Bicycle tires are used to cushion a round piece of glass tabletop.

Though the chairs are not as comfortable as a sofa, visitors are expected to be inspired by the recycling and find more surprises around the restaurant.

The translucent ceiling is comprised of hundreds of bottoms of brown and amber glass bottles that produce glamorous lighting effects at night.

As for the restaurant's food, it's less than glamorous, but tasty. Curried beef and chicken are the specialties. And there's an eco-story behind the menu.

Yang Xi, manager of Zed Bar, recommends curry because it provides enough energy while causes fewer customer emissions (like gas).

After finishing the meal, if they are still hungry, visitors can chew on - the plates and chopsticks. The plates, in fact, have no special taste: they are made of bland organic biscuit pastry, but thicker than usual cookies. Yang said a hardening agent has been added to the plates on which food can be served. The plates are kept cool in the refrigerator so they don't get soft or go bad. Used dishes and chopsticks are recycled.

The chopsticks, also edible, are brown chocolate cookie dough - a treat for children. Some kids don't clean their plate, but instead eat the chopsticks, which contain a hardener.

The restaurant also provides cups carved of ice for drinking wine or beer, but only small sizes are available because Shanghai is too hot to preserve the glasses long. While guests can also enjoy big glasses of drinks, said Yang.

For dessert, sorbet is served inside hollowed-out fruits, such as apples, mangoes and peaches. Numbers are limited to maintain freshness, so visitors should go early.

To reduce pollution and waste, the Zed Bar does not provide any doggie bags for leftovers, so guests are urged not to order more than they can eat.

Leftovers, including dishes, are converted to electricity with equipment imported from the UK. The entire restaurant is solar-powered, including the stoves and ovens.

The Zed Bar serves beer, wine, mixed drinks, various beverages and tea. Each Friday night a small concert is staged in the restaurant that seats 30 to 40 guests.


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