Brighton has to be the place to be if you have sustainability in mind. I’m not sure which of Silo or that trend came first, but I sense there’s a bit of a chicken and egg sort of thing going on there. Even from the outside, you can see the “no-waste” concept runs deep. It shows in the uneven wooden facade and the repurposed metal bins turned planters. In the display menu and the rugged, rustic feel of the whole thing. Once you pass the door, it is everywhere: not just on your plate, but also in the material chosen, in the art, in the loyalty system, even in the loos. A concept pushed to its very limits.The waste-avoiding initiatives at Silo are varied and (almost) exaustive. But the most impressive of them has to be the massive recycler-composter standing in the corridor.The dining room also had that rugged feeling about it. Mainly places have tried (and failed) to create just that atmosphere. But here, the rustic-hipster style is very much in alignment with the concept. It has been push to the very smallest of details and it just works.The menu is predictably short and cooked from whatever seasonal ingredients had been delivered that day by Silo’s carefully chosen local suppliers. Not food-milage to see there. The team still manages to keep things interesting by focusing on classics with a bit of a twist, which happen to be my favourite kind of dish. Unsurprisingly, I wanted to try everything.From the drinks menu, we got pretty much everything that seemed even remotely interesting. My favourite was definitely the Gin & Earl Grey cocktail with cracked black pepper (not only did it look pretty, but I really enjoyed the spiciness of the pepper against the acidity of the cocktail), but the Kombucha iced tea truly is worth a try as well (it’s both subtle and fresh, which makes it a winner in my book). We ordered two of the three starters available that day. The Beetroot & Fennel Soup was absolutely delicious as the earthiness from the beetroot perfectly balanced the anis-seed flavour of the fennel. I don’t usually like beetroot that much, but this was a cracking dish! The accompanying homemade Sourdough Bread was so good I’m not even sure there is words to describe it. I’ll just tell you that: it’s basically what foodie dreams are made of. And I’m French, trust me, when it comes to bread, I know what I’m talking about!The other starter, Asparagus with slow poached egg yolk and Silo butter, was a very safe bet as it’s pretty much one of my favourite ingredient combination. The addition of garlic flower and a generous sprinkle of linen seeds was an interesting one as it brought strong flavours as well as crunch to what could have easily been too simple a dish otherwise.
The “Plant” dish was Cauliflower steak with lentil salad and caramelised red onion. I loved the dressing of the lentil salad, which was very mustardy and punchy. Altogether, the flavour profile of this dish was interesting but the textural aspect of it was a bit less successful due to too many crucnhy elements. The “Dairy” dish was this stunning Beetroot risotto with fresh curd. On paper, it was the least likely to appeal to me as the two main components (beetroot and cheese) are things I don’t enjoy eating, but it was truly brilliant. I think it’s once again the garlic flowers that made that dish for me as their pungent flavour balanced the earthy sweetness of the beetroot perfectly.When we came in, they had run out of beef shortribs and were serving Pork Belly instead. The “Meat” dish was good and well executed, with tender meat and celeriac pieces, smooth puree and melty leaves but didn’t have any kind of unperishable impact on me. Mackerel is such a pretty fish, and that was no exception! I especially enjoyed the crunchy raw cauliflower & quinoa salad, which had a very interesting texture, as well as the addition of sea vegetable which re-inforced the saline flavour of the dish.By the end of the meal, we were pretty full, so we settled on sharing just one pudding between all of us. We went for hat might have seemed like the simplest of the three available options, but strawberry & lemon curd are things I simply can’t resist. Unsurprinsingly, they were the two elements on that plate I enjoyed most, the tanginess of the curd enhancing the sweet, yet still subtle flavours of the season’s first English strawberries. The cocoa nibs brought an interesting element of texture, but I’m not sure it was the case for the chantilly or the pine oil.
They say the devil is in the details, and it most definitely is true when it comes to sustainability. Silo went very deep into this whole detail business and what they built is very inspiring indeed. It delivers resourceful cooking and I defy anyone not to be impressed with the level of service and dedication each member of staff brings to the cause.
Where: 39 Upper Gardner Street, North Laine, Brighton BN1 4AN