Review: Silo, Brighton

I haven’t heard so much talk of a Brighton restaurant opening, before it actually even opened, since MEATliquor, then Silo came to town. To Upper Gardner Street, in the North Laine, to be precise.

I’m not going to lie, whilst I myself recycle, have a Mother who lives in a house that would still function after the apocalypse and I am interested in sustainability, something about it just didn’t grab me.

When I first read about it- my gut feelings were of it being a bit pretentious and ‘yoghurt weaverish’ for my liking, but I was very curious to see what it’d be like. When I suggested it as the venue for my Birthday meal, my Mum, whilst delighted, did question whether or not I was doing it just to please her- bless.

The blurb on their website

On top of this strong, and incredibly ‘Brighton’ mission statement, silo also:

Roll oats

Churn butter

Season with seaweed

Filter water through reverse osmosis

Cure meat

Create chocolate from bean to bar

Brew vinegar

Compost in house

Forage wild food

Make yoghurt, puff pastry, cake and almond milk

Mill flour

Culture cream

…. phew. After reading this on their website in advance of my visit I was impressed, but just couldn’t shake the feeling of being slightly irritated by it, I don’t know why, I just was.   I’d also heard mixed reviews about the soft launch and service. All of that said, I didn’t want to not like it and went with an entirely open mind.

No hard copy menus

Someone who I follow on Twitter and has a blog, was infuriated by this, on the grounds that the projector was connected to a brand new Macbook pro. I wish I could remember who it was as I’d link to their post. I totally see what she’s driving at, but I think it’s quite a cool idea.  There’s nothing worse than a sticky, dog-eared paper menu either.

Menu concept: one meat, one vege, one vegan, one game and one fish dish- simples.

Hate the jam jars, love the cucumber water

Mum and I both had pressed juice and very nice they were too, I’m just not into the jam jars. I get that they’re in keeping with the sustainable thing but in any other context I feel like they’ve had their day, plus some are totally impractical to drink from.  Surely buying glasses made from recycled glass would be just as ‘green’? and as local blogger Daniel Etheridge pointed out in his review of silo; ‘they do give you knives and forks, not twigs and bits of pipe’.

The cucumber skin in the water was a lovely touch and definitely something I’ll be doing at home to ‘jazz up’ the H2o I’m forcing myself to guzzle, boring, but never ceases to amaze me how much better it makes me feel.

The plate is made of recycled plastic bags

The butter was unsalted (a pet hate of mine) but thankfully the crust of the (delicious) bread was nice and salty which made up for the blandness of the butter.

I believe the guy on the right is Doug, the owner

Doug actually came and had a chat with me and my Mum about the sourcing and the ethos of the place, I was blatantly taking photographs so that may have prompted his coming over, but I did see him speaking to other customers while I was there and he is clearly incredibly focused and passionate about what he does.

Braised ox cheek, turnip, buckwheat and scarlet

This was my Mum’s but she let me have a bit, before devouring the rest herself (I get my metabolism and appetite from her). It was lovely, hearty, meaty and interesting.  The meat collapsed under a knife and fork and the taste was just so concentrated and rich.  Top marks, I loved it.  I want to try the game dish next.  £12 and worth every penny. Plus, you know the ox probably died at an organic farm with a smile on its free range face.

Fish, oyster emulsion, seaweed salsa, pickled cucumber

Shamefully I didn’t make a note of the kind of fish, it didn’t really matter, their ‘catch of the day’ if you like, is determined by their supplier, catchbox; a small, not for profit, fishing cooperative who sell only fresh, local and responsibly caught fish. No targeting specific species and no by catch- superb.

The oyster emulsion blobbed around the plate was creamy and so incredibly flavoursome.  The poached fish was sweet and tender (wish I could remember what it was)  and the tangy pickled cucumber and seaweed salsa added a lovely crunch. £10 and also worth every penny.

Heirloom tomatoes, black quinoa, lettuce, herb sauce

That black quinoa made what could have been a really ordinary dish, come to life. It was crunchy and well seasoned (with seaweed I presume) and made what would usually be considered a side dish, a meal (for a vege).  There could have been a few more tomatoes for my liking, but I really enjoyed it as an accompaniment to my fish dish.

If this was all I’d ordered, I definitely still would’ve been hungry, I wonder if vegetarians condition themselves to be happy with less substantial meals? – that’s a serious question, do comment below! It cost £8.

Clean loo
I’m all for sustainability, but I draw the
line at mooncups…
I love a butler’s sink <3

Thankfully the loos were, as you’d expect for a brand new restaurant, absolutely spotless.  I like the idea of the blackboard walls although it did give me the inexplicable urge to drag my fingernails down them (don’t ask me why, I hate that noise), weird.  All natural hand wash products and some sort of fancy water filtration system too.

We didn’t have desserts but I have heard good things about the cakes, and if the bread is anything to go by, their baker knows what they’re doing.  My Mum paid the bill (Bday treat) but I think it was about £40.

Overall thoughts of silo: I actually really liked it. It’s a lovely space, the staff were very unobtrusive, yet friendly and other than the unsalted butter, I can’t level any sort of criticism at the food either. The limited menu choice may mean it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes something a bit different and likes hearty and wholesome food.

I know I did bang on about my initial scepticism and hatred of jam jar beverages, but I experienced zero irritation during my visit. I really enjoyed it, as did my Mum and I’ll definitely be back. Big thumbs up from me.

Have you been to silo? What did you think? Tweet me or comment below (you don’t need a blogger account to do so).

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8 Comments

  1. November 22, 2014 / 8:56 pm

    As a vegetarian and in answer to your question, no, you don't condition yourself to less substantial meals. There's no reason why a vegetarian dish shouldn't be as filling as a meaty one, and I would probably be a bit annoyed by that quinoa offering and ask where the rest of it was!

    You should give Helmston on Pelham Street a try some time. It's all vegetarian, and there's not a half-arsed salad in sight.

  2. November 22, 2014 / 9:12 pm

    I used to go to college on Pelham Street, it's now on the (ever increasing) list!

    Thanks so much for answering my question re conditioning, and glad to hear that the quinoa dish isn't viewed as a substantial main by you either, I thought it might just be my greed talking! Unless a restaurant is 100% vegetarian then the emphasis tends to me on meat and fish dishes, plenty of choice in Brighton though 🙂

    • November 22, 2014 / 10:16 pm

      A lot of places do treat the vegetarian option as an afterthought, alas. There are some exceptions; the Bill's veggie breakfast is better than the meaty one and most Indian places do excellent vegetable dishes.

    • November 22, 2014 / 11:29 pm

      Chilli Pickle and Curry leaf as well as Planet India (top of my 'to try' list) are great for vege options. And you should try Joe's cafe for vege breakfast- my friend had one today and it looked gorgeous!

    • November 22, 2014 / 11:54 pm

      I've heard wonderful things about Planet India and have been trying to go there for years but every time something comes up. I did manage to go once but it was a bit of a disaster for non-food reasons so I have to make a return visit.

      I will give Joe's a try next time I'm in that part of town. Thank you for the recommendation!

    • November 23, 2014 / 12:30 am

      Please do let me know what you think! It's the winner of my Brighton fry up challenge and there's numerous reviews on my blog too 🙂

  3. David Wicks
    November 27, 2014 / 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the great write up! Also the comments above, it is appreciated. We already have a new Plant dish that I love even more than the first one and it is very filling – Potato Cake, Heirloom Tomatoes, Shallot & Herbs. I left as a 15 stone man full / happy  The Dairy is very popular / filling and the compost salad we've had some requests for it to be served in ½ portions as it is so filling, so do please give us second chance to impress.

    – Silo Brighton. .

    • November 27, 2014 / 11:33 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting, and please also thank Doug for his DM on Twitter, I can't reply cos he doesn't follow me, so please do pass it on.

      I'll definitely be coming back again and my Mum will be too, that oyster emulsion was incredible I really enjoyed it all, so thank YOU 🙂

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