If we were to put money on where the world’s first zero waste restaurant would be, we’d feel pretty confident placing our bets on Hackney Wick. It’s long been a space for up and coming chefs, restaurants that veer away from tradition, and price tags that tend to be more modest than most - and Silo certainly ticks all the boxes.
Chef and owner Douglas McMaster is the mastermind behind it all, who with his team goes above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to practising sustainability. From reusing food waste in new and exciting dishes to fermenting surplus produce to create its unique sauces - no stone is left unturned in its commitment to looking after the planet.
The restaurant itself is set in a stunning loft location with a pared-back dining room, a menu projected onto the wall and a few well-spaced tables dotted throughout. Diners can also opt for a prime seat at the counter, which offers excellent views into the kitchen and its open-fire oven.
Any concerns that Silo offers style over substance are quickly squashed with our first dish; a Quaver, no less. Koji is dried into sheets before being deep fried to create a crisp base layer, then doused with vegetable treacle (made from boiled and reduced veg peelings), and finally coated in shavings of frozen goat’s cheese. A flurry of unique, clever and quite frankly astounding dishes follow, but it’s the wild rabbit tortellini that has us licking the plate clean (literally). The braised rabbit pasta comes in a pool of vegetarian XO sauce - although you’ll have a hard time believing it's meat free - and achieves a level of depth and richness far beyond what we thought possible.
Dessert is an equally emotionally evocative plate of food, with pumpkin seed ice cream rolled in furikake and topped with fig leaf oil. It's truly one of the best things we’ve ever eaten.
The wine list is explained by a sommelier who is clearly an expert in her field - informative without being overbearing or pretentious. All in all, Silo is a gastronomic triumph, both for the planet and our appetite.