Eat this: Ugly Butterfly, Adam Handling's sustainable venture

Adam Handling’s fine dining take on zero waste and sustainability in the heart of Chelsea.

6 November 2019
food wastefruitrestaurant openingrestaurantssharing platessustainabilitychefs
  • The Gist: Modern European snacks and small plates made from byproducts
  • The Chef: Adam Handling
  • Location: 55 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 4ND
  • Food in 5 words: Zero waste can be luxurious
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How did we get here?

British chef and restaurateur Adam Handling is no stranger to the subject of food waste. His coffee shop and sustainable delicatessen, Bean & Wheat, uses offcuts and byproducts from his main restaurants, while his range of juices, Black & White, is made from misshapen and rejected fruit and vegetables.

With Ugly Butterfly, which is set to open on November 13 in West London, Handling is launching his first food-waste-orientated restaurant, with the chef out to “demonstrate that zero waste can be luxurious.”

Handling is collaborating on the project with the owners of the Belmond Cadogan Hotel, which houses Adam Handling Chelsea and will supply the restaurant with leftover ingredients that would otherwise end up in the bin.

Also on board are two charities – the Felix Project (which rescues edible food waste for people in poverty in London) and the Quintessentially Foundation (which seeks to improve the education, health and welfare of disadvantaged people and communities).

The restaurant, which will be open from lunch to late, Wednesday to Sunday, claims to “represent the second generation in sustainable hospitality.”

The space has upcycled and re-utilised materials throughout, with drop-in talks on sustainability scheduled for every Sunday and Wednesday evening at 7pm. Mike Robinson (founder of The Woodsman and co-owner of The Harwood Arms) and Steve Bannatyne (of The Wood Store, sellers of recycled and reclaimed wood) have already been announced as guest speakers.

The Wood Store, incidentally, created most of the upcycled handmade furniture at Ugly Butterfly.

What’s different about it?

Every dish is made from leftover or discarded ingredients, with particular emphasis on the four most wasted foods: eggs, bread, milk and bananas.

Dishes will include Handling’s signature cheese doughnuts made with cheeseboard leftovers; homemade banana bread accompanied by chicken butter; coffee grounds mousse; broccoli stalk Caesar salad and retired dairy cow tartare with crispy potato peelings.

Pig’s head and bone marrow both feature on the launch menu, the former in a terrine and the latter in agnolotti.

Two dishes on the menu – the scotch egg and the devilled eggs – will feature Feast Fairly pullet eggs, which come from young hens that might have only been laying for a few months and are usually thrown away due to their small size.

“Ugly Butterfly and Adam Handling Chelsea are, pretty much, two sides to the same food story,” said Handling.

“There’s a direct relationship between what we serve at what appear to be two very different concepts. As well as looking to feature the four most regularly wasted food items in the UK – bread, eggs, bananas and milk – we’ve also developed dishes which use the offcuts from the premium ingredients that we cook with.”

According to a report by food waste charity WRAP earlier this year, the foodservice and hospitality sectors produce 1m tonnes of waste a year. Consumers are increasingly aware of, and concerned about, these figures – in October, Bookatable revealed that 57% of diners would rather visit a restaurant that reduces food waste.

You’ve got to try...

Reformed doughnuts made with leftover bread, served with overripe fruit jam. Or, if you’re after something savoury, one of the three pies on the menu: scotch, tongue and cheek or cauliflower and cheeseboard.

Sparkie also likes…

Deboned crispy fried chicken feet with caviar, a meeting of two ends of the classic culinary spectrum.

Go if…

You’re looking for innovative ways to maximise your ingredients.

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