Monday, March 21, 2011
Greenhouse by Joost, Sydney
Melbourne-based Dutch artist Joost Bakker is a master at taking recycling and re-purposing to a whole new level. His dream was to create a waste-free restaurant and with his pop-up restaurant in Federation Square in Melbourne, the permanent Greenhouse in Perth and now this latest instalment in Sydney’s Campbells Cove, arguably Sydney’s best real estate, it’s clear that he has succeeded.
Every component in the building is carefully considered, and chosen based on their “practicality, recyclability, life cycle and embodied energy and then for their aesthetics and cost”. The restaurant housed in a shipping container, a mural painted brightly on the side in orange. A vertical garden of strawberry plants runs up the side of the building, similar to Perth’s. The walls are painted with Bio-Char to actually absorb carbon.
The glasses are made from old wine bottles or jars, most dishes are served simply on planks of timber, and even the cutlery is made from plantation timber and are composted after use. I was really looking forward to checking it out since I had absolutely loved the Perth Greenhouse back in January. I think what I most enjoyed about my recent visit to the Sydney one was actually contrasting the two experiences.
We start with a Pipsqueak cider (small $6, large $10). I am absolutely loving ciders this summer! The Pipsqueak is one of my favourites, and well-deserved on a particularly stressful Monday. The menu is based around tapas style share plates, with lots of beautiful and interesting vegetable dishes on offer. We start with the sweetcorn on the cob with cumin and coriander ($10). The corn was bursting with flavour, super fresh and utterly delicious.
We were both intrigued with the wood roasted carrots and beetroots with labne and pistachio ($16) but they were also stunning. Heirloom carrots are absolutely delicious and very good for you. They were stunning, and it’s a great dish that can be easily recreated at home.
My cousin Jess decided on the seared mullet with mixed tomato salad ($26) which looked stunning on the plate (er, board) when it came out. The tomatoes were some of the freshest I’ve ever had, sweet, juicy and absolutely gorgeous. The mullet was also delicious with delicious crispy skin.
After a bit of a wait for my pizza, we checked with the staff to find they hadn’t put the order through at all. By the time it came out, the restaurant was dark with only candles for illumination, so please excuse the shocking photo! The good news is that the pork sausage, tomato and artichoke pizza ($15) was delicious. The flour is ground on-site for the pizzas, pastries and bread. The base just tasted wholesome, and with a simple yet stunning combination of flavours atop it, it was a lovely meal.
I’ve said it before, I really love the concept of Greenhouse and the way that the guys use only the freshest seasonal produce, prepared in a simple, unpretentious way, which is how we all should approach cooking. With rumours that the Greenhouse will return to Sydney in a permanent way later this year, this was a fantastic way to introduce the idea to a willing Sydney audience.
I felt that the Perth Greenhouse had a better ambience, much better service than the pop-up restaurant, and being a permanent structure, I think the idea of a sustainable restaurant and functioning rooftop garden works better as a whole. The Greenhouse is open in Campbells Cove in The Rocks for one more week, until the 31st March, so get in quick if you haven’t checked it out yet!
Greenhouse Sydney - Campbell's Cove, Sydney (near the Overseas Passenger Terminal)
Greenhouse by Joost, Sydney