Doug McMaster’s Silo moved from Brighton to London about this time last year, opening in a space above Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick. Initially offering a tasting menu format, the coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdown (the first one!) afforded Doug and the team a chance to rejig the concept, re-opening as more of a relaxed wine bar with a menu of small plates. For those that hate missing out / hate decisions there is also an option to go ‘all in’ a-la Top Cuvée and have the whole menu for £35 per person.
Despite being in the loft an old warehouse, it’s a cosy room with a great vibe; grab a seat at the kitchen counter and you can watch the chefs at work and bask in the warmth from the grill. Unless you’re here for a quick bite and a glass of wine, we can definitely recommend going all in, sitting back, and enjoying the ride. The menu changes regularly but you’re always going to start with slices of bread, “the Siloaf”, and aged butter. This being Silo, this just isn’t any old bread of course – any restaurant worth its salt makes its own bread but how many grind their own flour in their very own flour mill using ancient grains, and churn their own butter? It’s this kind of attention to detail that makes Silo stands apart.
A little rainbow of purple, yellow, and regular old orange carrots were up next, served with a bright green fig leaf dip, followed by one of our favourites of the night, the charred white Lisbon onions (a big spring onion essentially) with fish sauce.
Other highlights included a dish of smoked mackerel with sea buckthorn (one of the few non-veggie dishes), the king oyster mushroom with koji, and the amazing smoked potatoes with brown butter hollandaise. Both desserts were ridiculously good – the milk toffee ice cream sandwich being just pipped by the pumpkin treacle tart, which was all the more miraculous for containing no refined sugar.
We’ve come this far without mentioning that Silo is the world’s first zero waste restaurant because it’s important to know that the food is absolutely banging even without this. But what Doug has achieved here really is incredible – the kitchen doesn’t even have a bin! Every single detail has been carefully considered, from the containers food is delivered in (reusable crates only) to making their own oat milk. The zero waste ethos goes for the restaurant design and materials too. Furniture is made from materials that would otherwise have been wasted; plates are formed from plastic bags; crockery made from crushed wine bottles; and tables from reconstituted food packaging.
Silo is incredible achievement both on and off the plate and hopefully an inspiration for more restaurants to follow more of a zero waste approach.
The White Building, Queen’s Yard, Hackney Wick, London E9 5EN