Zero waste philosophy
Silo is a restaurant without a bin. This statement has become our guiding principle, forcing us to work backwards in eliminating waste from our food system. We create everything on the menu from ingredients in their whole form, cutting out over-processing and food miles, whilst preserving the integrity of the ingredients we treasure.
We have our own flour mill that turns ancient varieties of wheat into flour the analogue way, opposing industrial bread making processes. We churn our own butter, roll our own oats and support a root to leaf ideology, meaning that if an animal dies or a vegetable is harvested for food we will maximise its entire potential, respectfully.
Zero waste doesn’t exist without a network of suppliers who are just as committed to the cause as we are. To achieve zero waste, all products delivered to the restaurant come in reusable, returnable vessels such as crates, pails and urns. This idea isn’t revolutionary, it’s how businesses used to operate. This is what we mean by a pre-industrial food system.
The minimal waste that remains between produce coming in and dishes going out is natural, and therefore compostable…closing the loop. Working without waste is nothing new - it is a mirror of natural processes. There is no bin in the jungle, after all. Beyond the vessels, our suppliers represent the best processes in terms of regenerative farming and producing with the utmost respect for biodiversity and regenerative agriculture.
Our fermentatrium sits in the bowels of the restaurant. It is a cupboard full of emerging dreams and an anvil cell for diamonds of flavour. Vegetable trim, cheese rinds and excess dairy all hold leading roles in this showcase of what can be created when we reconsider waste as a resource. The input is ‘waste’, salt and time. The output is complex, layered flavour in the form of garums - both the seasoning and the foundation to many of our most successful dishes.
Our dining room furniture and fittings are created from a desire to reuse, choosing up-cycling before recycling. Materials that would have otherwise been wasted have been crafted with innovation to create functional, beautiful designs. Our plates are formed from plastic bags, and tables from reconstituted food packaging. Light shades are mycelium grown on spent brewer’s grains and crockery is forged from crushed wine bottles. The floor and ceiling form the regenerative bread of this upcycled sandwich - cork and sheeps wool respectively.
Even with the best of intentions and tightly closed loop systems, no restaurant can be 100% zero waste. The 0.1% of our output that can’t be fermented, upcycled, composted or recycled is a stream we have dubbed ‘alien waste’. We keep 100% of our alien waste. 18 months worth of it has been condensed into this 4x4 inch block of blue.
We choose to work like this to showcase delicious food, whilst demonstrating that the sustainable food business is financially sustainable too. That way, we hope to inspire the growth of other waste-free businesses through collaboration, but also simply by demonstrating that it is possible, and it works.