THE UK’S ONLY TRULY ZERO-WASTE RESTAURANT
Douglas McMaster isn’t just on a mission to reduce waste in his kitchen—he wants to get rid of it entirely. Originally founded in Brighton in 2014, Silo is his so-called ‘restaurant without a bin’. The project, which has since relocated to London’s Hackney Wick, is a complete ecosystem: McMaster buys goods package-free from local farmers and uses the on-site aerobic digester to compost any leftovers (it can create up to 60kgs in just 24 hours). The set menu changes daily and, despite the impressive eco-credentials, the plates are lavish and creative. Supper starts with the signature Siloaf, using flour milled on site, and a slab of raw butter. That isn’t the last you’ll see of the bread: the sourdough may be reincarnated, for example, as a rich miso sauce paired with sweet golden beetroot and salty ricotta. Other delicious pairings include Jerusalem artichokes with Stichelton blue-cheese sauce and treacle made from vegetable peelings; pink-fir potatoes with caramelised whey (an umami taste revelation); and tart sea-buckthorn snow with crème fraîche. It’s not only the food that’s sustainable, of course. The biodynamic wine list leans into producers that do refills; any bottles that can’t be reused are turned into ceramic glass for light fittings in the restaurant. Even the plates are recycled—you’d never know you were eating off old plastic bags. McMaster was ahead of his time in 2014 but is still the only chef in the UK cooking with no waste at all. SONYA BARBER silolondon.com
CLOSED-LOOP DINING IN THE THAI CAPITAL
After stints in hotel kitchens and a roving food truck, Indian-born chef Deepanker Khosla turned his home on a leafy Bangkok backstreet into a restaurant that’s a modern ode to the flavours of his motherland. Feasts start with a tasting tour of the back garden, which is filled with large, spacious seafood tanks—home to main courses in the making—that feed nutrient-rich freshwater into reclaimed-wood planters and vertical hydroponic farms growing herbs, edible flowers and vegetables. Kitchen scraps return here, too, either as fish food or fertiliser, while rainwater is collected for later use. What doesn’t come from these grounds Khosla sources from his organic farm in Chiang Mai and carefully vetted suppliers around Thailand—but not without having personally inspected and tested their soil first. The signature nine- and 13-course menus cover a pan-Indian potpourri of curries, dals and chutneys—deconstructed, infused, compressed or jellied, and served on seashells, coral or tree trunks. Keep an eye out for the aptly named Haoma in a Bite, a fishy roll-up of which every single component, from the Nile tilapia to the dashi and herbs, has come from the garden. With Southeast Asia’s growing waste problem, it’s brazen chefs such as Khosla who are taking action and ushering in serious change in a city that needs it. CHRIS SCHALKX haoma.dk
NOMA’S FORMER HEAD CHEF IS LEADING THE LOCAVORE CHARGE
For California-born Matt Orlando, the main appeal of the site for his restaurant, founded in 2013 in a bleak industrial zone on the outskirts of Copenhagen, was that there was space out front for him to grow his own produce. Refshaleøen has since become one of the city’s coolest and most interesting quarters, and Orlando’s inventive, outward-looking take on the New Nordic tenets of local, seasonal and sustainable is at the heart of this shift. A true pioneer, he was reducing food miles to zero from the off, has worked hard to minimise water usage and turns any organic waste into mulch. He also really understands hospitality; how to welcome guests and make them feel relaxed and happy. But, above all, he knows about deliciousness,blending Nordic game, seafood and plants with an iconoclastic American approach to token further-flung ingredients. Orlando is a whizz with herb-infused oils and potato peels, and has a drinks list to spin the head of the nerdiest natural-wine freak. Who else would think to weave together duck, smoked almonds and shishito peppers? Or come up with habanero dulce, a mild chilli with a tang of mango and caramel, and then pair it with brill and preserved-cucumber juice? The fish is always excellent here, certified sustainable, and every part of it is used. And, as diners learned during the restaurant’s post-lockdown pivot, the man can make very good fried chicken, too. MICHAEL BOOTH amassrestaurant.com
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