- a person or thing seen as comparable to another.
The team behind Native (#18 World’s 50 Best Bars) is forging right ahead in their mission to create more sustainable spaces within the realm of hospitality.
Their latest foray into this is Analogue – an eloquent showcase of how, if we put our minds to it, one can seek out a sustainable substitute for pretty much anything we consume.
Located in Singapore’s iconic heritage building CHIJMES, Analogue is 100% concept driven. Vijay Mudaliar and his team have always been torchbearers of sustainable lifestyles and those who have been to the sister bar Native are probably familiar with the unusual F&B programme on offer which pays special attention to reducing waste and using responsibly sourced ingredients, including locally sourced spirits from within Asia.
Analogue takes things to the next level. Vijay and the team decided to look at the food system from a different lens, paying particular attention to consumption patterns and how they encourage over-farming and the use of plastic in the supply chain, ultimately negatively impacting marine life. Keeping the demand and consumer tastes in mind, they looked for suitable and sustainable alternatives that deplete fewer resources while continuing to deliver the experience the guests crave, albeit in a more conscious manner.
As is evident from the name, Analogue suggests a thing seen as comparable to another – and this is the foundation of everything they do.
Whether it’s finding plant based substitutes for meat or using carob (a tree native to the Mediterranean and Middle East) as an alternative to chocolate, every ingredient is looked at from a different perspective. A perfect example of this is Analogue’s take on The Grasshopper which replaces the white chocolate liqueur with carob liqueur and the cream with pumpkin seed cream. At this point, you’re probably wondering what is so unsustainable about chocolate that one needs to start looking at substitutes. Global demand for cocoa is fast rising, of which 70% is grown in West Africa —and producers are struggling to keep up with the demand. It can take almost a year for a cocoa tree to produce cocoa for 250 grams of chocolate. Older trees also yield less cocoa, and most of the world’s cocoa plantations are no longer at their optimum production age. This is putting tremendous pressure on land and resources and also leading to massive deforestation and child labour to keep up with the demand.
Vijay and his team have also reconsidered their usage of sugar – they have eliminated the use of cane sugars owing to the fact that sugarcane farms are some of the most unsustainable in the world. According to WWF, “Sugarcane is a water-intensive crop that remains in the soil all year long. As one of the world’s thirstiest crops, sugarcane has a significant impact on many environmentally sensitive regions, like the Mekong Delta and the Atlantic Forest. Historic planting of sugarcane around the world has led to significant impacts on biodiversity”. The Analogue alternative to this has been the low GI Xylitol and coconut sugar among other viable substitutes like vegan honey, using a recipe by none other than Ryan Chetiyawardana.
Throughout the menu, the team has ensured that the suggestion is made clear – there is always a more viable and sustainable option for our choices if one looks hard enough.
Plant based food and ecologically thoughtful drinks are at the core of the concept but that’s not it – special attention has been paid to the design of the bar itself. The iconic oceanic island bar has been exclusively designed and produced by Weijenberg Designers & Manufacturers (Netherlands) using 1600 kilograms of recycled plastic. Apart from this being an inspirational use of what would ordinarily become landfill, recycled plastic is a highly durable, low maintenance, crack and splinter-proof material. The aesthetic design includes a lowered corner for wheelchair accessibility, making this one of the few bar designs we have seen that has paid so much attention to detail. Other design elements include tables and coasters made from recycled plastic and tables that are locally made from mycelium (mushrooms). Introducing living biological systems to create sustainable polymeric materials developed from biological resources has been the subject of much research in an effort to create green materials and reduce the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable resources.
Little details that have taken incredible amounts of research are what make Analogue a bar for the future. The impact of a single bar in the world being able to repurpose 1600 kilograms of recycled plastic makes you think about the possible positive impact the hospitality industry can make on the environment if we put our minds to it. If nothing else, Analogue is a source of inspiration and will hopefully trigger a chain reaction among bars and restaurants to think out of the box.
What is most commendable about the Analogue initiative is that there are no half-measures. Sustainability has never been just a buzzword for Vijay and his team and they spend months researching and developing systems and recipes that help them walk the talk.
In the age of greenwashing, it’s easy to be fooled by establishments claiming sustainability – but a closer look reveals a whole other story. It is refreshing to see more green shoots come out of Asia as far as the conversation about sustainability goes and with more bars like Analogue, Penicillin (HK), Trigona (Kuala Lumpur) pushing the envelope, we can’t wait to see a positive change in the near future.
Analogue is located at 30 Victoria St, #01-31 Chijmes, Singapore 187996
Follow Analogue on Instagram.
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