Menuwatch: Warehouse at the Conduit, London

12 January 2022 by
Menuwatch: Warehouse at the Conduit, London

Zero-waste ingredients are used in a combination of cuisines on chef Brendan Eades' menu. Caroline Baldwin reports.

Swapping Hackney Wick for Covent Garden has been an important move for Brendan Eades, but not for the reasons you might expect. Opening a restaurant in the heart of London's West End was not for personal exposure, but instead to share an important message with as broad a range of diners as possible.

The 29-year-old was previously working in East London with Douglas McMaster, chef-owner of zero-waste restaurant Silo, who he affectionately refers to as a "genius" after spending a year learning how to develop a sustainable kitchen. Eades is now applying similar zero-waste principles at the 80-cover Warehouse, which opened its doors to the public at private members' club the Conduit in Covent Garden in November last year.

menuwatch trout
menuwatch trout

"It seems more of a challenge than at Silo," he says, praising the like-minded individuals at the Conduit, who want to change the industry for the better in terms of sustainable methods of cooking, as well as promoting a sustainable environment for his team to flourish in.

"I want to apply this on a bigger scale and get the message out to more people about how the industry should work. If someone in my team was to leave, I wouldn't want them to leave because they were overworked, but empowered to take those zero waste or sustainable methods elsewhere in the industry – if we all come together the future can be bright."

Eades says he wants Warehouse to be "the leader in ethical hospitality", which may sound clichéd, but his food is anything but. The menu is thoughtful and what is particularly striking is the lack of the overly-familiar buzzwords, such as ‘local British produce', which you would expect to see repeated from a restaurant with such sustainable credentials. Instead, a closer look shows the ingredients are indeed local and seasonal, yet they are manipulated into dishes with strong influences from south of the equator.

The restaurant's lively decor reinforces this, with bold cobalt walls, rattan lampshades and a stone flooring. Eades is, however, keen not to label the restaurant with one particular cuisine, saying: "I'm inspired by flavours more than anything – I don't want to put myself in one box. For example, one of our suppliers popped this Biber chili in a selection to try and it was so earthy, it reminded me of dates. It was amazing and I thought, that's definitely got to go on a cabbage and black garlic."

This cabbage and black garlic dish became the ever-popular Hispi cabbage main (£15). "The idea was to create a meat dish out of vegetables, but it wasn't just about grilling a cabbage – I wanted to create a vegetable dish that tasted meaty."

Eades went through many flavour combinations before settling on a black garlic sauce with a touch of miso and vinegar alongside different alliums to give it a "real addictiveness". A glaze made from onion trimmings is reduced down to a thick syrup and brushed across the cabbage before grilling. The cabbage is then covered with crispy shallots, chives and spring onions for freshness. Alongside the cabbage are little potatoes with the aforementioned Biber chilli mix and sumac. "Once we got to that point, that was our take on meat and potatoes."

menuwatch pumpkin
menuwatch pumpkin

Meanwhile, his Red Kuri pumpkin with hemp and wild herbs (£4.50), served as a snack, harps back to Eade's passion for zero-waste. Eades cooks down the skin and seeds of the pumpkin before adding to a mixture of tapioca flour, which is then steamed and dried. The mix is then fried until it puffs up into wafers, which he dusts with a mushroom powder and serves with a hemp ricotta and dried yeast flakes. "Our entire snack section is plant-based, so I wanted the dish to be vegan, but I needed the cheesy element which is where the yeast comes in."

When it comes to desserts, chestnut, pear and Oolong tea (£9) joins the likes of chocolate, quince and candied grains (£9), but it is the rice pudding with a damson and yogurt sorbet (£9) that is Eade's personal favourite, created from his memories of rice pudding served with jam, which he ate as a child, but with a sabayon folded through the mixture to lighten the comfort food classic.

"I love putting something delicious on the dessert menu that, at the same time, takes me back in memories," he says.

From the menu

Snacks

Red kuri pumpkin, hemp, wild herbs £4.50

A selection of winter pickles £4

Small plates

Salad of celeriac, pear, hazelnut, lovage £11

Venison tartare, cured egg yolk, sourdough £13

Large plates

Hispi cabbage, alliums, black garlic £15

Whole trout, turnips, trout roe £26

Venison, smoked beetroot, salted liquorice, greens £24

Desserts

Chestnut, pear and oolong tea £9

Rice pudding, damson, yogurt sorbet £9

Chocolate, quince, candied grains £9

6 Langley Street, London WC2H 9JA

www.warehouselondon.com

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