Here’s an alarming statistic. Eighty-three per cent of farmland is devoted to the raising of livestock, yet its meat and dairy output contributes only 18 per cent of calories being consumed. Scientists have repeatedly mentioned that the single biggest way for us to reduce our environmental impact on the planet is to avoid meat and dairy products. Along this vein, burger joint Three Buns has created an entirely sustainable menu for the month of April. The Peak chats with group executive chef Adam Penney on Three Buns’ definition of sustainability and what this means for the restaurant and the Potato Head group as a whole.

(Related: It’s time to start rethinking the way we consume meats and seafood)

Group executive chef Adam Penney of Three Buns
Group executive chef Adam Penney of Three Buns

How long did it take to put together the entire menu?

We started working on the menu in November last year. Developing an entirely new menu is a challenge in itself but it’s always a fun process getting creative with my team in the kitchen. As well as experimenting with brands and ingredients we already use in the restaurant, I really wanted to look at how we could incorporate other ingredients. There are so many great plant-based brands out there now that we’re excited to introduce such as Just Egg and Miyoko’s Cashew Butter.

I imagine there were a lot of challenges you had to overcome.

It is always challenging to create plant based burgers, a dish traditionally synonymous with meat. What we never want to do is compromise on taste and that means experimenting a lot with not just new flavours, but also the textures of those ingredients and how they work together. That first bite is the most important. Our Impossible Hombre (pictured below) and Impossible Sleaze burgers were developed first – the others took more time.

In fact, one of the most difficult parts on the menu was getting the cashew ice cream texture right. It took a lot of batches and we had to taste a lot of ice cream but we got there and it’s now one of my favourite dishes on the menu!

(Related: Burger taste test – Impossible Foods versus Beyond Meat)

The Impossible Hombre burger at Three Buns
The Impossible Hombre burger at Three Buns

There’s been quite a lot of debate about sustainability and what it actually means. What does sustainability mean to Three Buns and Potato Head, and how did that guide you in the new menu?

Sustainability is in our DNA. It’s even behind our mantra, “Good Times, Do Good”. We take a lot of care in everything we do, from the building materials we chose for our Quayside restaurant, to the ingredients that we use in our menus.

Sustainability and traceability are key for us, but there is always room for growth. In fact, Potato Head Bali has now turned completely sustainable. It uses only locally produced, untreated coconut sugar and raw Balinese honey in their drinks.

All of us have a choice. All of us have responsibilities. With the growing popularity of Impossible Foods, it felt only natural for us to extend our plant-based offerings here and create an entirely sustainable menu from scratch for both restaurants. We are responding to our customers – delivering bloody good burgers made with minimal impact on our planet. Most importantly, we are raising funds for our new charity in the process. We will be donating a dollar for every dish ordered from our new menu throughout April for ACRES, a Singapore charity dedicated to bringing an end to animal cruelty.

It’s quite unfortunate that Covid-19 came at the same time as the launch of the new menu. How did the virus affect your preparations for this launch?

We are mindful that this is an unnerving time and navigating the ever-evolving Covid-19 pandemic has not been without its challenges for our two restaurants. Our staff and customers’ wellbeing and safety is our utmost priority. We’ve followed all government guidelines and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure a safe environment for all.

Although both restaurants remain open, we really wanted to ensure that our customers can enjoy this new menu wherever they are in this current climate, which is why we have made the entire Earth Month menu available online via Deliveroo nationwide. That means customers can enjoy our new dishes from the comfort of their home or workplace. We have also been working on our own takeaway function in house over the past few weeks, meaning that people can phone us directly to place their order to collect.

Will your current menu with all its meat options still be available? Or are there plans to phase it out in the future?

I wouldn’t rule out a completely plant-based offering in the future. Plant-based ingredients are getting better and better all the time and people are more conscious than ever when it comes to what they are consuming; but for now, all of our current meat offerings are available alongside our Earth Month menu!