Silo, Hackney: restaurant review

Sustainability is the name of the game at this zero-waste restaurant from Douglas McMaster, moved from Brighton to CRATE Brewery in Hackney Wick

What's the draw?

Having jumped ship from Brighton, Silo – the innovative zero-waste restaurant concept from Douglas McMaster – has found itself above CRATE Brewery in Hackney Wick. You can expect sustainability to be the focal point of the menu: any production of waste has been eliminated by McMaster via the decisions to trade directly with farmers, use reusable delivery vessels and always choose local ingredients. But that's not to say the venue feels all Bohemia and burlap sacks – far from it: Silo occupies a chic space and serves sophisticated plates of food without any unnecessary archness. The staff are wide-eyed, endearing and eager to tell you about their weekends spent foraging. Leave your cynicism at home, because sincerity is what you can expect from Silo.

What to drink?

In case you didn't catch on by now, Silo likes to do things a little differently. Low-ABV cocktails, made in collaboration with Copenhagen-based Empirical Spirits, come served in wine glasses and make for an excellent way to start the night. With an average ABV of around 10%, they'll ensure you won't spend the next morning desperately trying to remember the specifics of your fourth course. The Onyx is a fig leaf-based cocktail which was tropical, bright and big on coconut, a bit like drinking a Bounty in a glass; while the Fallen Pony, a pine-based number, was slightly more bitter and savoury, boasting notes of popcorn and ever-so-slightly burnt toast. Natural wines on the list similarly thrum with excitement: a 2018 garnacha blanca from Azul y Garanza was redolent with orange and grapefruit but offered enough salinity on the follow-through to cut through the citrus noise.

In case you didn't catch on by now, Silo likes to do things a little differently

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What to eat?

The daily tasting menu gets you six courses of McMaster's cerebral cooking and as many slices of the restaurant's superlative siloaf bread (and freshly churned butter) as you can handle. We begin with blood radish cannelloni, a small and dainty fuchsia roll of radish siphoned with a hemp cheese filling. Golden beetroots glazed in beetroot molasses follow and, free from the clodded-earth taste that sometimes attaches itself to that particular root vegetable, prove to be one of the standout dishes. Vegetables are given the proper care and attention they deserve at Silo: white artichokes are served blackened and charred over a pool of stichelton blue sauce and bright ruby kraut; carrots are barbecued in burnt Christmas trees (no, really) and dotted around an egg-yolk fudge. That being said, the meat and fish is treated just as tenderly: cuttlefish with Tokyo turnips and kimchi? A cephalopod sensation. The braised friesian cow with buttermilk garum? One of the beefiest bits of beef we've eaten. Sticky, mature and almost pillow-soft, if it turned out that cow had been fed an all-Bovril diet since birth, we honestly wouldn't be surprised. Goat's milk ice cream with sourdough miso caramel and pine snow is a cheeseboard in miniature and a more than satisfying end to a sustainable dinner.

Empirical cocktails from £7, daily 6-course tasting menu £45. The White Building, Queen's Yard, E9 5EN;