Hot on the heels of its change of address and fully revamped offering, the capital’s most exciting new members’ club The Conduit has another exciting launch: Warehouse, their first restaurant open to the public. With Brendan Eades, the former Head Chef at ground-breaking zero-waste restaurant Silo, in the kitchen, the emphasis here is firmly on environmentally-minded dishes, with seasonal and sustainable ingredients taking centre stage. For bold flavours and cocktails made from foraged finds, Warehouse is our London restaurant of the week.
In the course of its move from Mayfair townhouse to Covent Garden warehouse, ethical private members’ club The Conduit has loosened its collar. After two months in its new Langley Street home, it this week opened its first public-facing restaurant (there’s a private one on the fifth floor) in the process admitting a breath of fresh air. It’s a meaningful statement: if the club’s socially-conscious members – famous name ambassadors include Elif Shafak, June Sarpong and Afua Hirsch – want to get their message out, then they’ve also got to let the outside in.
It is obvious from the first that this sustainability-focused restaurant has many stories to tell. Catching up with an old friend over supper, however, we’re probably as interested in each others’ stories as we are in the restaurant’s. Credit to the waiting staff, for communicating the bar’s and kitchen’s values with a few judicious descriptions (the spent coffee grounds that go into the infusion in the wonderful Sloe Sip cocktail; the leftover pumpkin transformed into crisp puffs) before leaving us to relax into their quietly progressive brand of hospitality. The seasonal ingredients speak for themselves.
Chef Brendan Eaves has joined from pioneering zero waste restaurant Silo in Hackney Wick, and brought many techniques, ingredients and suppliers with him. There are some unusual ingredients – how many West End restaurants serve hemp ricotta and einkorn sourdough? – but the dishes themselves are approachable and generous. We can’t resist crisp, golden battered cod’s cheeks, served piping hot with a dollop of tartar sauce, while the papad-like pumpkin wafers with creamy hemp ricotta make very right-on chips and dips. A vegan salad to follow of celeriac, raw and pickled, with sweet pear and hazelnut cream, expresses the beauty of autumnal eating and is probably our dish of the night. Venison is the carnivore’s choice: here it appears twice, once in a starter of boldly seasoned tartare with grated cured egg and, again as a main course, lean and tender with an intense licorice-laced sauce, as dark as night. Rice pudding, with yoghurt sorbet and damson jam is pure pleasure, a compelling mix of hot, cold, sweet, sharp.
Warehouse marks a turning point for The Conduit. Now everybody can enjoy its cool, conscious design (by Russell Sage Studio) that focuses on artisan makers from the Global South and on circularity. The room’s a lively mix of colours and textures, its blue steel girders and raw brick walls set off by hand-painted Delft tiles from South Africa, reclaimed chairs with ticking cushions, and basketwork from Swaziland. Add to that the happy sound of diners meeting friends and family, rubbing shoulders with the great and good of London’s socially conscious businesses world. You never know who’s sitting at the next table.