An exclusively zero-waste restaurant has opened in London. Silo, 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.