Silo, Brighton

19:04

When you live somewhere where only chains can survive and you can count the number of vegetarian restaurants on 1 finger, you really, really appreciate somewhere like Brighton. So when Miele invited me to come and try Silo the 'zero waste' restaurant in Brighton I jumped at the chance.



Miele partnered with Silo Brighton's Head Chef, Douglas McMaster, to create a delicious bespoke menu using Miele Combination Steam Ovens. Steam cooking preserves the nutritious value of food whilst maintaining its natural flavours. This allows for delicious, healthy food to be cooked to a professional standard in the home and combines elements of traditional fan ovens with steam technology.

Douglas was absolutely awe inspiring in his approach to cooking and running the restaurant, going above and beyond anything I've seen before in a sustainable business. We walked in and were greeted with a fresh cup of tea with homemade almond milk and left to explore the restaurant which housed a huge composting machine called Bertha, their own flour mill where they make their own flour for the best bread I have ever tasted and some crazy taps in the bath room which clean your hands without soap.


Douglas McMaster said: "I've created this bespoke menu to showcase how versatile Miele Steam Ovens are, and how ordinary everyday ingredients can be made into something delicious and nutritious. The cooking process allows the flavours of local produce to be preserved, whilst the precise nature of the steam combination oven ensures everything is perfectly cooked and nothing is wasted."


On to the most exciting part, the food! My friend Biff has just starter her own blog called Vegan Mess, (which as you can probably guess is a vegan food blog) so she came along too. The event started with canapes and elderflower bubbly, I didn't mange to get a good photo of the beautiful canape that I had, but after Biff said she was vegan and another blogger gluten free, they went to the kitchen and presented her with this vegan version, which was so lovely, I don't know many restaurants who could just whip up a vegan, gluten free canape!


After we sat down the lovely waiting staff brought over some Silo sourdough, made with their own flour milled in the restaurant and served with their home churned butter. The bread was insanely good, Biff and I shared a piece and then realised that was a terrible mistake and ate some more.

To go alongside the bread we had a mushroom broth with coffee mushrooms, which I read are grown on site in the left over coffee grounds. Not only does it look beautiful it was a super savory (/my favourite word umami) treat on my tongue.

Then we had an heirloom tomato salad with smoked curd and wild garlic buds. Douglas explained that the curd was made from left over latte milk, so that it doesn't get wasted. Biff was telling me that she used to work in a coffee shop and the amount of milk they wasted was literally criminal, so I find it amazing that Silo have come up with such an inventive way of reducing milk waste. Every course came with it's own drink and this came with an refreshing lime and ginger tonic which went perfectly with the mixture of fresh tomatoes and salty curd.


Then we had asparagus, egg yolk and seeds, which Douglas explained was made with the flavour of asparagus in mind. He was saying that a lot of the time it's used as a side to something else and that it's kind of lost, so this dish was all about the asparagus, with just an egg yolk cooked in a water bath and topped with a little bit of Silo butter and seeds. I could literally eat asparagus all day every day, so I think this was one of the highlights for me. The asparagus was cooked perfectly, tasted amazing and was just enhanced by the runny yolk, butter and crunchy seeds.


I was really impressed that both of the dishes for every one so far had been vegetarian and so easily adapted to vegan as I obviously view meat consumption as unsustainable on a grand scale. But Douglas was saying that every meal on his menu holds its own weight and is split in to plant, dairy, meat, fish and wild. Which is lovely to see against most restaurants who have a token vegetarian or vegan dish on the menu, usually completely uninspired compared to the meat dishes. The asparagus came with nettle iced tea, which was a perfectly sweet partner to the asparagus and egg yolk.


Then it was on to the main course which for me was brown rice risotto, beetroot and Silos fresh cheese, which came with an extra hit of beetroot in a beetroot and satsuma juice. And biff had a cauliflower steak with hazelnut and red onion, which I didn't manage to take a good photo of, but you can check out on her blog. Both of these dishes were so beautiful, mine was full of flavour, hearty but still light and fresh. Biff let me try some of hers and it was deliciously crunchy and flavourful, I've got my eye on it for the next time I go to Silo.


And then it was desert, I really love savory food, but there is always a special place in my heart and stomach for pudding.


This desert tasted as good as it looked, believe me. And once again it was easily adapted for a vegan diet (no cream) and so simple consisting of just strawberries, lemon skin curd, raw cacao and muscovado chantilly cream. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life, the lemon and strawberries made it fresh and tasty and the cacao and muscovado made it slightly indulgent, it was perfect. The desert was served with perry cider, which was delicious, but as I don't drink so much any more I only tried a little.


To finish off, we had a cold brewed coffee with a tiny little sweet cake, but I didn't get a good picture of it so here's one of Biff's Sea Buckhorn instead.


This is a seriously impressive restaurant and I was really blown away by the food and ethics. Definitely put it on your list on restaurants to try if your in Brighton.

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