If there was ever such a thing as a perfect marriage on the restaurant/bar scene, it would be combining the zero-waste, “we will recycle everything” attitude of Silo restaurant in Brighton and the completely revolutionary and unique style of White Lyan, where everything on their menu is made in-house. For one week only, April 11-16th 2016, they are joining forces for the Lyan Cellars pop-up at Lantana Cafe in Old Street.
They could not have picked a better location as Lantana cafe is just off the Old Street roundabout. It is a large architectural space with a strong urban feel and their ethos is in keeping with White Lyan and Silo, where they aim to make most things in-house as well. In the evening, they often host pop-up events, hence Lyan Cellars is taking place at this great venue.
White Lyan already make their own vodka, gin, beer etc, but the only thing previously not made in house were the wines. What can one do, when you are a visionary bar owner in Hoxton, but don’t own a multi-million pound operation in Bordeaux? Well, why not make wines without using grapes?
Their tongue-in-cheek approach to making such wines on site is to deconstruct the whole process and use ingredients not typically used in the wine-making process like apricots, hibiscus and strawberries. These are elements you would taste normally when drinking wine, so the guys from White Lyan have fermented these ingredients to create their revolutionary wine. It does come to a very strong 30% ABV.
My personal favourite was the Guilty Pleasures Rosé which had a gentle and delicate notes from hibiscus, peppered watermelon, strawberry. It is the kind of easy drinking, quaffable wine you could easily enjoy all night with friends and it also goes supremely well when paired with food. The Spring break white did taste a little more medicinal, perhaps the apricot notes were coming through rather too strongly. The whirlwind red was elegant and refined thanks undoubtedly to the oaked cherry, lapsang and sage tastes.
Food from Silo was as nutritious and ethical as you can possibly imagine. Spring greens, Judas ear and Alexander was their healthy take on a classic spring roll. It was surprisingly moreish with the Judas ear adding some crunch to the dish. Mussels with leek and lovage was another delight, following their ethos of using nutrient dense foods made from scratch. The broth holding the mussels and greens was subtly aromatic and at no point does any of the food feel artificial.
If you are unfortunate to have read this article after the pop-up has closed, then I would still strongly suggest you visit White Lyan and Silo to have a glimpse of the future of the food and drinks industry.