We go behind the scenes at the latest F&B openings to check out the highlights and challenges faced.
Those who have been to Germany would have had these delicious gourmet burgers, ranging from juicy beef to vegan patties, at Hans Im Glück. The brand marks their 50th store, as well as the first in Asia, right along the bustling streets of Orchard Road, Singapore. Director and co-founder, Gunilla Hirschberger sits down with us to tell us how it all began, and the hard work that goes into the menu in this month’s Hot Seat Openings.
How did the concept of Hans Im Glück come about?
Travelling as a vegan can be challenging. I visited specialty restaurants in London and Istanbul where vegan dishes were not an afterthought but were presented as delectable mainstays. As an avid cook the use of spices also sparked my urge to recreate the dishes. These bubbling ideas ultimately transformed into Hans Im Glück, a gourmet burger joint with 49 branches in Germany and Austria.
What inspired Hans Im Glück’s beautiful, fairy tale-like forest design?
The namesake of the restaurant comes from a Brothers Grimm fairytale. Translating into “Hans in luck”, it tells a story of German man who went on a journey to shed his worldly possessions. My husband, Thomas, and I, adored the story and wanted to emulate his carefree personality in our restaurant. We used birch trees, log tables and soft, warm lighting to create an inviting, forest concept that will have diners feeling relaxed from the moment they walk in.
Part of your vision for the menu comes from your own vegan journey. How did it all begin?
My allergies to milk and dairy products pushed me towards a clean, vegan diet. Options were scarce. I travelled across Europe to taste over 50 types of vegan products before finding a chef specialising in vegan and vegetarian food.
What challenges did you face while coming up with such a well-rounded menu?
Without question, it’s the quality. Just the bread alone was a tricky endeavour. Only one traditional German bakery made the cut, and supplies us with a highly nutritious and low sugar multi-grain bread. Even now, after 30 years in the F&B industry, I am still learning. The best place is always at the restaurant where diners give candid feedback.
How does the beverage programme (beers, wines and cocktails) keep up with the wholesome menu?
As someone who enjoys a cocktail after work, it was only natural to include them in the menu. Rather than the classics, our mojito is infused in-house with wild raspberries and blackberries from German forests. The wines come from a winery I co-own with other F&B owners under Der Leaders’ club, allowing me to have control over the quality and flavour. Of course, it must all go well with the burgers served here.
What’s next for the brand?
We are looking to open another two branches in Singapore, in Boat Quay and Raffles Place, mid-2018. In the meantime, we will be focused on opening our first branch in Switzerland and expanding into Italy and the rest of Asia.
362 Orchard Rd. Tel: 97501488