Silo — London, UK
When we first profiled chef Douglas McMaster in our Next Generation issue four years ago, things were just kicking off for Silo, which was making waves as the world’s first zero waste restaurant.
Since then, McMaster has moved operations from Brighton to London, where he continues his mission to innovate the food scene, this time, teaming up with Crate Brewery and setting up shop in The White Building, a former sweet factory turned creative laboratory in Hackney Wick.
Like its food concept, the restaurant’s interiors also aim to close the loop. Here, Nina Woodcroft of Nina+Co has warmed the building’s original industrial features – like the large steel-framed windows, exposed steel trusses and double-height white-washed brick walls – with a design using ‘waste or thoughtfully sourced natural materials, that will either biodegrade or easily disassemble for repurposing in the future’.
The pendant light at the entrance, for example, is moulded from foraged seaweed, while the natural cork flooring is carbon negative, meaning five times more CO2 is captured by the cork oak forests than in the product’s manufacturing process.
Elsewhere, the sustainably sourced English ash dining tables and sideboard are by local craftsman Jan Hendzel; the cocktail lounge furniture has been grown to order from a fungus called mycelium; bespoke wall lights are made from crushed wine bottles; and natural, biodegradable woollen fabrics upholster the furnishings.
The best seats in the house, though, are around the dining bar, which is wrapped in recycled leather and topped with a counter made from reconstituted food packaging. Here, watch the action as McMaster and his team whip up a series of dishes that combines a strict ethical and sustainable approach with a strong dose of culinary creativity- all served on tableware made from plastic bags.
And while the menu changes often, expect dishes like the smokey charred artichokes drizzled with creamy, tangy Stichelton sauce; cuttlefish served with juicy Tokyo turnips and white kimchi; or refreshing pumpkin ice cream- all made with local ingredients, which are delivered in reusable containers. Wash this down with natural fermented drinks from the on-site brewery or a glass of biodynamic, low sulphate wine and it’s clear that a waste-free restaurant is not only possible, but it works.§