Silo, Brighton – A Zero Wasteland

Every day, we’re told to stop producing so much waste.

Weekly, we roll out our landfill wheelie bins under cover of darkness so no one will know just how full they really are. Daily, people in offices snatch rubbish from your hands and force it in to the recycling bin while cursing your existence. Hourly, a polar bear commits suicide because you keep buying plastic wrapped leeks instead of the PERFECTLY ADEQUATE LOOSE ONES.

Most of us grown ups grew up in a time of excessive, repeated and unjustified waste. It was pre-recession and we didn’t really care about stuffing plastic bags down a dolphin’s throat because we could just demand that the Government buy more dolphins. But times have changed and the world, thankfully, is more willing to embrace a ‘less is more’ and ‘ignorance isn’t bliss’ attitude when it comes to waste.

Which leads me to the centre of the shrubbery maze that is this blog’s introduction…

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Becky and I were nearing the end of our blogger’s jaunt to Brighton (did you read about it in my last post?), and had spent much of Saturday dodging the rain while exploring the Laines. Read Miscriant’s write up of our shopping and coffee pit stop here.
But there was one venue we were determined to reach – Silothe UK’s first zero waste restaurant.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo markets itself as a restaurant, bakery and coffee house, but its biggest selling point is its commitment to zero waste on site. They mill their own flour for bread, make their own beer, compost all leftovers, flush the toilets with their own grey water waste, trade directly with farmers and producers, and use re-useable delivery containers.
The website mission statement reads: “At Silo, we chose to provide quality through purity, adopting a more primitive diet with techiques both modern and ancient. We choose food sources that respect the natural order, allowing ingredients to be themselves without unnecessary processing. By creating everything on site from its wholest form, we can capture real food, and real food tastes better.”
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

For a full round up of the vast amount of work that goes into Silo, take a look at their blog.

We ventured down an unassuming side street off the North Laines, and soon we stumbled across the looming warehouse doors of Silo.
Inside the foyer was a table resplendent with freshly baked goods and treats, and Becky and I drooled quietly in a corner for a few minutes before realising we should probably try to obtain a table and stop scaring the children.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

During the day, they do not take bookings except for tables of six plus, but the charming hostess assured we would not have more than a 10min wait.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

The restaurant interior echoed the aforementioned meeting of ‘modern and ancient’: tables made from old scaffold boards, box chairs to match, exposed lightbulbs, white-washed brick walls, giant blackboards baring the specials. All the cutlery and crockery is either recycled or upcycled. The kitchen is exposed to the diners, as is the bar and service area. 

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

Nothing is hidden away here, you can see the beer storied in giant plastic tubs, the jam jars that serve as glasses, even the compost machine is a star attraction by the entrance. But this stripped-down chic is paired with modern technological savvy.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

The daily menu is projected on to the walls, and menus are presented to diners on iPads. An extravagance? Well…for a restaurant where the menu must change regularly according to season and stock, imagine the cost of printing and reprinting paper menus? For the cost of three or four mini-iPads, they’ve probably saved a packet in printing costs.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

Earlier than expected, we were seated – space being tight, couples have to share a spacious table of four with others, but this was not a problem for us and in keeping with the restaurant’s ethos; be fussy about having a private table, then you have to reduce your covers, and one must assume that fewer covers means fewer meals and fewer meals means more waste.

It is a noisy, bustling place, for this is no place for staff to laze languidly over your customers while the bread turns mouldy. A water jug and two jars landed on our table within seconds of our being seated, as did our iPad menu, and the staff were attentive and in sparkling form.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

Becky opted for a soft drink, while I could not resist a taste of the Moonface IPA, by Old Tree Brewery (operating from Silo’s basement). It arrived, true to form, in a jam jar and was a punchy little number.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

I opted for the fish – catchbox cod, seaweed mash, steamed alexanders and sea vegetables. As we waited, one of the chefs brought us our complimentary fresh baked sourdough bread and homemade butter, explained the ingredients and wished us a great meal.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
We didn’t go for starters, though I wish we had. The bread was beautiful, and when our mains arrived, we were in a flurry of flavours.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

My fish was perfectly cooked, nestled in a delicate slightly tart sauce and accompanied by silky vegetables with just enough bite. I had never before tried sea alexanders (a forager’s delight), but it is a cross between asparagus and a fragrant chard…I think…never mind, it was delicious.

Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo reviewSilo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

My dish was probably one of the more pious offerings on the menu, as I saw plates of braised venison, caramelised artichokes and brown rice risotto being devoured by other diners.

The mains ranged from £8 to £12, and there was also the promise of sea buckthorn and elderberry fool or treacle sponge with goats milk custard and cacao for dessert. Sadly, we could not partake of the sweet treats.
Our time at Silo was all too short, as we had  train to catch, but I will be sure to return to try a full three course experience.
Silo’s concept may strike some as ‘gimmick’ restaurant, but I have no doubt, based on my experiences, that the quality of its offering will see it stand the test of time. The mission statement was true to its word, as Becky and I ate very well and felt pretty damn good for it.
Venture in to the zero wasteland, tiny darlings, and feast.
Silo brighton, zero waste restaurant, zero waste, the demon gin, silo review

SILO

Upper Gardener Street, North Laine, Brighton

Open Mon to Weds 9am to 5pm, Thurs to Sat 9am to 8.30pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm.
Email contact@silobrighton.com Tel: 01273 674259
Find them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter

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