An exclusively zero-waste restaurant has opened in LondonSilo, the brainchild of zero-waste trailblazer and chef Douglas McMaster, officially moved from its Brighton location to the White Building in the city’s Hackney Wick suburb earlier this month.

BBQed White Asparagus, Fresh Goats Curdd and Elderflower Oil on a white plate.
BBQ white asparagus, fresh goats curd and elderflower oil © Matt Russell

McMaster’s goal to ‘close the loop’ in the food production process colours every aspect of the cutting-edge eatery. Products arrive in reusable crates and containers, and the space’s furniture and fittings favour up-cycling over recycling. Designer Nina Woodcroft even had Silo’s cocktail lounge furniture grown from mycelium, a renewable and raw material praised for its sustainability.

Shitake mushrooms, ricotta and mushroom garum.jpg
Shitake mushrooms, ricotta and mushroom garum © Matt Russell

Most famously, the restaurant doesn’t have a single bin: “Waste is not just a thing that amounts in a bin. It’s not sustainable, and we have no edible future if we don’t consider living a zero-waste lifestyle,” says McMaster. “My great passion is showing the world that this kind of holistic, sustainable, ethical concept does not need compromise, and can be high-end.”

A man in black holds a basket full of vegetables in front of a white background.
Douglas McMaster © Matt Russell

Silo’s strongly plant-based menu promises a selection of ten to fifteen dishes, many of which feature commonly rejected ingredients, like wonky vegetables, Jerusalem artichokes and cephalopods. The menu – projected onto the 30ft dining room wall – evolves continuously according to the products available from one of the restaurant’s ten suppliers. Ingredients are either gathered fresh each morning or made in house. The wine list also unsurprisingly adheres to Silo’s philosophy, with the restaurant sourcing from small, artisanal producers that craft biodynamic, zero-sulphite wines.

Yellow tomato sits on a white plate.
Yellow tomato brined in a bath of Douglas Fir © Matt Russell

Despite a vigorous trend towards sustainable eating, McMaster remains the only chef to succeed at an entirely zero-waste restaurant. His passion took off in his 20’s, when, after a number of stints at Michelin giants noma and The Fat Duck, he met Dutch artist and environmentalist Joost Bakker. The two successfully opened a waste-free cafe in Melbourne before McMaster returned home to England.

Rhubard, fresh spruce and yoghurt on a white plate.
Rhubarb, fresh spruce and yoghurt © Matt Russell

“My plan is to keep Silo as the best version of itself and put a flag deep into the ground to represent the zero waste movement,” shares McMaster. I’m in this for the long haul, it’s a lifetime project for me, not just a trend.” Silo is open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

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