OK I’ll admit it – I’m a bit (lot) of a Joost fangirl. Spend five minutes talking to the man and you’ll have a head buzzing full of information, ideas, new stuff to find out more about … it just tumbles out. His passion is thoroughly contagious!
I’m so pleased that we have another Greenhouse pop-restaurant here in Melbourne on the banks of the Yarra at Queensbridge Square during the Melbourne Food and Wine festival. I want folks to be inspired by what is being achieved here, and the values on show.
The Greenhouse has a corner of shipping containers which hold a prefab kitchen, toilets and a bio-generator. I understand these units are going to be re-used in the next Greenhouse project, maybe in Queensland. There’s a fascinating time-lapse video of the construction process on Joost’s website.
You can also see a feature on Joost and how the CSIRO tried to burn down on of his GreenHouses on the
7:30 Report here
Tables are made from ply wood on top of some metal pipe legs and bases. Chairs are similar, but with leather (offcuts from Victoria’s last tannery) to provide a back, or stools. The tables aren’t all stable, the chairs aren’t really comfortable for a long sit, but that’s part of the charm. Inside is cool, with the doors and windows catching breezes along the Yarra River, and with a high ceiling, it feels light and airy even though it’s boxy and chunky in design. It’s an engaging space.
Once again, the outside walls are covered with strawberries in pots, they’re growing herbs on the roof and this time they are siphoning urine from the toilets to use as a fertiliser in nearby Daylesford to grow the mustard to make the oil that will be used to power next year’s Greenhouse.
If you’ve been to some of our Fringe Food Festival events you’ll probably know that I am a huge fan of Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs water, and particularly their 50 litre eco kegs; reusable and recyclable. They are starting to appear around town after launching at Greenhouse in Sydney last year.
This year the Greenhouse is going one step further – sourcing Custard Cider from The Real River Company in kegs as well, beer is only available on tap, wine is transported in large glass bottles, kegs or barrels. Custard Cider is new to me; some of you will know of my well documented love of proper cider. I really enjoyed this fresh, “scrumpy” cider, served ice cold with a slice of lemon. Hailing form WA this could be dangerous on a hot afternoon. Wonder if I can order the kegs direct?
Soft drinks are made from a base of mineral water mixed with various flavoured syrups made on site.
The end result is a pile of “empties” that looks a bit like this … my kind of rubbish.
There are some familiar faces (or rather ink) at the pass, not only Matt Stone, but Daniel Dobra who most recently worked at The Brix and was at Greenhouse Perth beforehand.
The lunch menu was short and sweet, eggplant dip served on a ply board ($8) , some salads featuring ox hearts, squid, vegies (around $15) , a tagine, up to a rib eye steak to share (I presume) for $75. We shared cabbage and radish salad ($15) (served in a flowerpot); grilled zucchini, mint, lemon and dill ($14) and a plate of Glenloth chicken served with quinoa and labne ($25) served in the bottom of an old gas cylinder.
I expected fresh flavours, and that’s what we got. The chicken was nicely cooked and was lovely with the grains and yogurt, the cabbage and radish salad was a hit, crunchy, fresh and a bit bitey from the radish. The zucchini salad could do with a bit more love, like thinner slices so they were less ”watery” and it would benefit from the addition of something like a goats cheese . Small quibbles, the food is only part of the story. The table next door had the ox heart salad which looked delicious.
And yes the drinks are once again served in jam jars, and some terracotta mugs for some of the hot drinks. Go for Breakfast, lunch or dinner – or for some of the special events that are being held on site over the festival. It will be a sad day when they pack it all up and take it roaming again.
The Greenhouse by Joost, March 2-21, 8am-10pm, Queensbridge Square, Southbank.
Walk in, no bookings.