Sustainability is one of those words thrown around quite a bit in this day and age. Save water, recycle, shut off your lights are just a few terms that come to mind. So when the opportunity came along to go and check out Greenhouse by Joost; a sustainable pop-up restaurant, it was too good an opportunity to pass up. We were so excited to go; one Friday night early in February, we took a drive to The Rocks. After half an hour of looking for parking in Campbells Cove, we were faced with a half-finished Greenhouse. Yes - someone forgot to check if it was open already. Oops. So a few weeks after on one sunny Sunday afternoon we returned - it was Joost Juice time.
Without a doubt Greenhouse by Joost occupies some of the most prestigious real estate in Sydney. With awe inspiring views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge it is well worth the trip. You would be hard pressed to find a better place to come wine & dine or just chill with a few friends. Either way everyone should come and visit and see but hurry because at the end of March it's all over.
Before delving into the food and booze its important to take a step back and talk about the admirable ideas behind Greenhouse by Joost. At the heart of the project is sustainability and creating a functional restaurant structure with positive impact on the environment. Sustainability is one of the areas I am passionate about; partly due to my work and being green star certified but because I share the belief that we are responsible in ensuring that future generations get the chance to enjoy what many of us take for granted - our environment.
Cocktail of the Day $16 and Pip Squeak Cider $10
Greenhouse by Joost has zero waste. One of the key aspects of the project. Everything in the premises is recycled. From the t-shirts worn by the staff, conveyor belt flooring, glassware comprised of recycled jam jars and beveled glass bottles. Even the cooking oil is reused to power a generator onsite. A lot of the design elements centre around the ability to be reused. The building itself is designed to be dismantled and packed into shipping containers to be built elsewhere around the world. An example of eco-friendly architecture that can have multiple applications. As well as being the best spot in the house, the rooftop garden is used to grow some of ingredients in the food served downstairs. Also all organic waste is composted and used in the garden. It's simply an awesome concept that has come to fruition and such a shame that its temporary.
So now onto some of the booze. We ordered the cocktail of the day and a cider. Served in the cool recycled jars and bevelled glass bottles, we sat on the roof admiring the view while sipping away at our drinks. Cocktail in a jar is definitely the best way to drink, especially when getting up and walking around you just screw the lid on to avoid spillage. Just hold onto your drinks when people walk past because the roof bounces up and down, no doubt a testimony to the raw feel of the greenhouse.
Chilling out with a few drinks and soaking up some of the best views in Sydney. Would be nice if they could tap the kegs and serve them too you.
So getting a little peckish we ordered a pizza to accompany our drinks. Another fact about the greenhouse is that all food that isn't grown on the premises is sourced from local farmers. Food is delivered in whole to the greenhouse where it is processed on site. The flour for our pizza was milled that very morning. Topped with artichoke, mushroom and rocket the pizza was a tad on the 'green' side but very delicious. It had that homemade doughy feel to it and it was nice to know that it was cooked in that little makeshift pizza oven running downstairs.
After dreaming about tapping kegs and downing a cider or two it was time for the little boys room. The sustainability theme runs throughout; the toilets being no exception with doors made from recycled tables. Minimal water is used for flushing as well as using water collected from the roof. The design of the entire Greenhouse is impressive as it is evident that a lot of thought goes into the little details. The lights in the bathroom are recycled jam jars over LED lights, a nice idea that really suits the space they are in.
So finishing up our drinks upstairs we decided that it would be a good idea to stay and have a bite to eat in the restaurant downstairs. Immediately upon entry your eyes are drawn to the ceiling covered in sprawling black text. Various catch words, thank you's and bits and pieces telling the story behind the Greenhouse. It's quite fun sitting down trying to read but your head will need to be able to rotate 360 degrees to be able to do so. Just beware people might be a bit put off while watching you perform the exorcist-esque feat.
Foster e roco Sangiovesse $10 and Innocent Bystander Moscato $9
Once seated and settled we ordered some wine that was served in jars. The jars might just catch on at home I think. The moscato was sweet and refreshing and the sangiovese was very pleasant as well. So now onto some of the food we ordered.
Sweet corn on the cob with cumin butter $9 (served with corriander, but they omitted this upon our request - Gianna would be of no use to anyone if she was to suffer coriander induced anaphalaxis). It was very juicy.
Cacciatore sausage, red wine and parsley $17 - served on the most interesting of plates, well kind of a plate but not really. This snack was tasty and had a lot of nice textures. Always a big fan of anything salami related it was a winner for Gianna who only left me with one piece.
Five spice school prawns $12 - served in a recycled tin can with rounded edges to prevent any nasty cuts to busy little fingers trying to snatch them away. This would have to be my favourite dish. Perfectly seasoned prawns that were cooked to a crisp; complete with the satisfying sound of "crunch" as you bit into them.
Fried Spiced Cauliflower $9 - very simple yet very tasty. I really think this would make for an awesome bar snack given that it is a lot healthier than other alternatives and the spiciness really makes it a good complement for beer. I know beer and cauliflower sounds odd but somehow I think it will work.
Wooden Utensils - plenty of them as you would hear the odd snapping of wood here and there as people just applied a bit too much force when eating. I read on the Greenhouse website something about the natural materials used in the design of the Greenhouse helps to tie in that feeling that everything is there to help create an understanding of where everyday things come from. From the food we eat to the utensils we use, it all comes from somewhere.
After coming to the Greenhouse to have a few drinks and something to eat I can honestly say that we felt really happy. Maybe it has something to do with the healthy food or the knowledge that our impact on the environment was positive if not minimal. Or maybe it's the fact that we were a part of a piece of art; a trend or movement for things to come. Looking back at the strawberry planters littering the outside of the Greenhouse I couldn't help but feel sad that this noble idea will be gone by the end of March, but I hope that people feel inspired and understand that the little things we do count in the end.
Campbells Cove, Sydney CBD