What: A Chelsea restaurant that makes use of ‘waste’ produce, including that from the restaurant at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel.
Who: Increasingly prolific Scottish chef Adam Handling, who is using produce that might otherwise have gone to waste from his London restaurants Frog in Covent Garden and The Frog Hoxton as well as the one in the aforementioned Chelsea hotel. Basically, Handling is pioneering sustainable dining in the postcode that gave us Chelsea Tractors. Handling has persuaded his landlord Cadogan Estates - which owns much of Chelsea’s real estate - to give him a site for virtually nothing and is donating a percentage of Ugly Butterfly’s profits to The Felix Project, a West London-based charity that fights food waste and hunger.
The food: Cleverly, Handling is pulling people in by juxtaposing a creative small plates menu that makes use of trim, shells, innards and even coffee grounds and potato peelings with a drinks menu focused almost exclusively on high quality champagne. Waste produce from the group is supplemented by undervalued produce and things that are close to being binned, including the tiny eggs produced by immature laying hens, on-the-turn bananas and stale bread. Dishes include banana bread with chicken butter; devilled eggs; leftover cheeseboard doughnuts; BBQ dairy cow tartare with crispy potato peelings; beef and bone marrow cottage pie; and coffee grounds tiramisu. The small menu will changes constantly and there’s no guarantee that dishes that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans will be available (they are directed to the group’s other restaurants).
The vibe: Unsurprisingly, Ugly Butterfly has a stripped-back feel, with wooden floors, metal seats with cushions, distressed furniture and whitewashed bare brick walls, one of which is covered with wine bottle holders.
And another thing: In a further boost to Ugly Butterfly’s social enterprise credentials, Handling is using the restaurant to train apprentice chefs. “You can only use every bit of the animal or the whole vegetable if you understand how to prepare it,” he says. “Education is absolutely key to sustainability. I don’t understand why more restaurants and groups aren’t focusing on training in this area. This is the future of food.”
55 King’s Road, London