Silo – zero waste brunch in Brighton
My resolution in 2017 has been to discover more of England, a country I’ve lived in (albeit off and on) for the past five years, yet have seen surprisingly little of. It’s that London complacency – when you can get Eritrean, Korean, or Peruvian food on your doorstep, why would you ever go anywhere else?
Answer: fresh air.
It was a slightly cold, but beautifully sunny day in Brighton, and I wandered the streets, drinking in the sea air (which is definitely unavailable in London) and admiring the quirky little shops, including one for psychic readings, with the amazing tagline ‘it’s not rocket séance’. I giggled a little and made my way towards Silo, which I’d been wanting to visit ever since my recent interest in the zero waste movement. They had only just opened, so I got a seat by the huge window (oh, the natural light!) with no issues at all. I closed my eyes, soaked up the sunshine, and relaxed. Another exceedingly rare occurrence in London…
Silo’s zero-waste philosophy is second to none I’ve ever experienced, as they churn their own butter, roll their own oats, use only re-suable containers in their supply chain, and even have an on-site composting machine. But as I sipped on my gorgeously roasted coffee in a beautiful cup, with sticky brown sugar served alongside in a small jar, none of this felt overt or arrogant. In fact, apart from a couple of quotes on the wall, if I hadn’t known about how they run their business, I’m not sure I would even have noticed. But perhaps this is the point? Maybe this is how respect for the environment can be normalised?
Of course, all this becomes moot if the food doesn’t measure up to the beliefs, and so I ordered the brandade and pickled fennel on sourdough. I’d never heard of the former, and I usually avoid the latter, but I figured I should just go for it!
The bread was crunchy yet soft, and the toppings were like nothing I’d tasted before (in a good way)! The pickled flavour of the fennel, which I’m normally a bit dubious about, wasn’t too overpowering, and it perfectly complemented the brandade (which I had googled to be a salt cod/potato spread). It was then drizzled with an incredible herb oil, and my only complaint was that the slice just wasn’t enough!
I couldn’t quite discern the flavours in the oil, so I asked the chef, who told me they normally just mix up whatever herbs they have left with some garlic and rapeseed oil. He then looked at me and said ‘we sell slices of sourdough for 50p, and there’s a fresh loaf in the oven, would you like me to bring you some? And I can bring some more oil, too?’ My eyes sparkled.
Silo was a quiet, unassuming, and thoroughly enjoyable brunch. I loved its minimalistic (genuinely upcycled) decor, abundant natural light and incredibly interesting menu, and will definitely come back the next time I want to escape London. I hope that the word about their story will spread even further and normalise the zero waste philosophy beyond its current, slightly hippie status!