19 May 2011
Posted in Food Stories
Have you ever stepped into a restaurant that was made with recyclable materials except for the food and drink? We did exactly this during a walk of the Sydney rocks area for a family lunch stop at Greenhouse by Joost. Their menu is based on the availability of local, seasonal ingredients and the menu staples are made on their premises. Prepared grains are milled into flours for the pasta, flat breads and pastries, and the wood fired oven (I would love to own one) runs throughout their opening hours. Butter, yoghurt and mozzarella cheese are also made from scratch to guarantee complete freshness.
How these foods are delivered to Joost has a huge impact to the environment that is achieved through their waste free venue. Suppliers are only able to deliver fresh ingredients in the means of returnable crates, as well as the milk being delivered straight from the farm itself in steel buckets. Local growers deliver their wheat on a weekly basis direct from the farm, and the sacks are cut in a way that they can be recycled for the next delivery. Beer is available on tap, and wines are straight from returnable kegs and barrels.
You don't go to Greenhouse by Joost expecting to eat with silverware or a porcelain plate. The restaurant's cutlery is made from plantation timber and is composted after use, and in the same manner the unbleached baking paper is composed on the premise. It is a set-up of a composter whose grind also maintains the restaurant's rooftop garden. Order a drink and you will have your liquid served in a jar! The jar tops are then used to hold salt and pepper for the tables.
Not only for the freshness of the food; a visit to the restaurant to view its interior creativity is also worth a peek on its own. The chairs are made from old aluminium and irrigation pipes, with leather cut offs from a Victorian saddle maker. The Greenhouse's floor is made from old conveyor belts that were discarded from a mining company. Had these not been recycled, they would have been burnt and buried as landfill. Lighting is in the means of purified beeswax candles, that acts as a natural ioniser for purifying dust, pollen and odours when the candles are burning. The water used from the hand washing sinks above the toilets, has a second usage for the next toilet's flush - how clever! The toilet door is a collapsible, white party table with the toilet roll paper perched neatly over the leg's end. All staff t-shirts are salvaged from the Salvation Army then re-dyed for ready for wear. This whole greenhouse building system has taken on a whole considerate view with its function of food production, energy and water that helps preserves our environment, and, naturally reduces any exploitation!
If you are living in Australia and are disappointed that you may have missed a visit to this temporary waterfront restaurant, a trip to Perth will take you to the permanently set-up Greenhouse by Joost. For those of you living in Europe you can spared of disappointment, as the next restaurant construction will be in Milan, with a possibility of set-ups in Berlin and London.
You may like to take a look at my version of the dish I ordered in the restaurant: baby carrots, beetroot and pistachio recipe.