As it so often happens with the youngest in a family, Ijen —our zero-waste seafood restaurant inside Potato Head Beach Club—was born with a nonconformist side. But while a rebel it may be, it is indeed one with a cause: to show that modern design and world-class cuisine do not have to be sacrificed at the altar of sustainability. But also, that good times and doing good in the world are not mutually exclusive.
Created by bartender Tom Egerton, the “conscious cocktails” found on the menu at Ijen (and now across all of Potato Head) shake up the conventional approach to mixology. Proving that sustainable practices belong within the spirits industry as well, the fully circular operation involves a highly considered and continued inquiry into the origin of ingredients, their mode of production and the disposal process for things like seeds, skins, pulp and rinds.
Reduce, reuse and recycle—the holy trinity of environmental conservation—is the mantra this program internalises. “We’ve tried to source as many of our green produce ingredients from organic farmers in Bali and broader Indonesia to minimise carbon output and chemical use,” says Tom. “That means using fruit that is not only the freshest at all times of the year, but also finding alternatives to fruits and vegetables we can’t source locally. We showcase fruits, herbs and spices that are unique to the archipelago and combine them with premium local arak to create something uniquely Potato Head.”
So what happens to all the scraps? Culinary creativity goes hand-in-hand with the ways in which unused elements can be utilised. Traditional citrus acids are replaced with alternative brewed acids like locally produced raw cider vinegar and plant acids like rosella. Additionally, husks and leftover pulp from juicing are made into in-house liqueurs and syrup to maximise the use of produce.
Waste disposal is as big a priority as conscious sourcing and anything remaining is turned into compost, which is sent to local farms to serve as animal feed or fertilizer. This ensures no nutrients are lost to landfill and that everything goes back to its source—nature—which, from an ocean-facing bar seat at Ijen, is exactly what we’re here to enjoy.