Last weekend, I was lucky enough to find myself in one of the very nicest cities in the UK, Brighton. It has pretty much everything I could want in a city – the sea (with accompanying gorgeous views), market stalls, indie shops selling one-of-a-kind vintage items, enough vegetarian cafes to make it seem like a normal lifestyle, and a great approach to life (they elected the only Green Party MP in the UK, which makes them pretty awesome and progressive in my book).
There is a huge range of places to eat – the wonderful Terre à Terre makes some of the most exciting vegetarian food I’ve ever tried, or the excellently-named Wai Kika Moo Kau (say it out loud), but there was somewhere new that I have wanted to try ever since it opened…
Silo is a restaurant with a rather unique and exciting way of doing things – the zero waste way. It oozes out of the room itself, which is furnished with functional second-hand furniture and repurposed items. All food is delivered in refillable or reusable packaging, and any waste that created is compostable, although Silo’s website says they create so little of it that they also offer their composting services to local business and residential neighbours!
Drinks are all served in jam jars, which are thick enough to hold hot drinks and more durable than regular glassware. And they have straws…made from metal! I have missed drinking out of a straw so much more than I realised…it actually felt like a treat (perhaps I need to get out more?).
The food caters to all kinds of diets, from vegan through to omnivore, but with a strong emphasis on local, natural and minimally-processed. The butter churned in-house and the fresh still-warm bread were gorgeous, and I could have just eaten a whole loaf and been perfectly happy with just that. But we did also have ‘proper’ meals, a plate of delicious Heritage Beetroot, Worksop Blue & Potato Dumplings, with a side of Sussex Tomatoes, Lovage & Hazelnut Butter. All charmingly simple yet interesting, delicious and perfectly prepared.
It’s such a shame that the Silo philosophy isn’t the norm (yet), but it’s clearly being embraced by the people of Brighton, as it was packed throughout our visit. Hopefully it’s a way to introduce more people to the concept of zero waste (and the joy of reusable straws) and little by little, the Silo way will be the way forward!