Greenhouse by Joost
If you venture down towards the end of The Rocks in the next few weeks, you might see a bright orange and green building, with one side made out of large shipping containers and the other side covered in strawberry plants. Yes, you've reached Greenhouse by Joost, an eco-friendly pop-up restaurant that has been constructed using recycled materials and aims to be completely waste-free.
Pots of strawberries on the outside wall
The restaurant cuts down on waste by returning the packaging from milk, wheat and fresh produce to the supplier to be re-used and composting organic kitchen waste to be used in the rooftop garden. The building itself is made from recyclable steel framing and magnesium oxide board which actually absorbs carbon, while the restaurant furnishings are made from old aluminium pipes and leather off-cuts.
View from the wall cut-out 'window'
Greenhouse by Joost is located on Campbells Cove which has stunning views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. You can admire these views from the restaurant or from the rooftop bar, which has a herb garden running alongside. The bar serves beer on tap and other drinks out of plastic kegs which can be returned to the supplier, and it is probably no surprise that drinks are served in old jars or glasses made from recycled glass.
Fried spiced cauliflower - $9
After some drinks on the rooftop bar, the five of us head down and join the queue for the restaurant which has a no-bookings policy. Tables are mostly for 2 or 4, so on a Friday night it takes quite a while to be seated. By the time we've ordered from the short but seasonal menu, the natural light is diminishing quickly and though there are tea lights on each table, it's hard to even see what we're eating let alone photograph it. Luckily Suze uses her trusty Iphone 4 to shine some light on each dish. We start with the fried spiced cauliflower which is wrapped in a newspaper cone. It's salty and spicy and reminds me of eating popcorn in a cinema, where you just can't help but reach into the box for more.
Pizza - $15
The pizza has a light and crisp base which is made from flour milled on site. The pizzas are wood fired and have splodges of melty, stretchy cheese.
Chorizo, fried bread, roast peppers and egg - $17
The chorizo, fried bread, roast peppers and egg is served in a jar and since we have limited table space, the jar is passed around the table like pass the parcel. And what a tasty parcel it is - the gooey egg, sweet roasted capsicum, crunchy croutons and salty (but unfortunately not spicy) chorizo is a winning combination, although I find the bread loses its crunch quite quickly.
Wood roasted baby carrots, beetroots, pistachio - $16
One of my favourite dishes of the night is the baby carrots and beets which are sweet and caramelised from roasting. They are arranged a little messily on a plywood board with parsley and some soft cheese on the bottom providing a creamy texture. A sprinkling of crushed pistachios lends crunch and a nutty flavour to the dish.
Wagyu beef gerello, romesco, baby leeks - $25>
The wagyu beef comes pre-sliced and pink but turns out to be quite tough and chewy, so much so that our wooden knives can't cut through it. The romesco is a little bland and lacking in flavour but the single baby leek hidden under the beef is soft and sweet.
Seared mullet, mixed tomato salad - $26
When the seared mullet arrives on the table I'm eager to dig in. The skin is wonderfully crisp and salty while the flesh is moist and succulent. The tomato salad is refreshing and colourful on the plate and is a definite highlight for me.
While it's not a particularly cheap feed, Greenhouse by Joost showcases the viability of a sustainable and waste free restaurant and is definitely proving to be a popular place with the queue still going out the door when we leave. It's well worth checking out before it closes on 28th March.
Greenhouse by Joost
Campbells Cove, Sydney (located at the end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal)
Open Monday to Saturday, 9am - midnight; Sunday, 10am - 10pm
Greenhouse is sometimes closed for private events, check the website for details.
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