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Monday, February 21, 2011

Greenhouse by Joost, Sydney

Greenhouse by Joost has now closed

Greenhouse by Joost is the latest pop-up restaurant to hit Sydney, an eco-friendly vision that doubles as a unique interactive art installation.

The converted shipping container looks right at home in Campbell Cove, its facade painted with butterflies and children. The entrance on the side is covered with miniature strawberry pots.

Melbourned-based Dutch artist Joost Bakker had always dreamed of creating a waste-free restaurant. The Greenhouse Sydney follows on from earlier prototypes in Melbourne and Perth.

The commitment to waste-free commences with suppliers. All fresh produce and milk must be delivered in returnable containers. Wheat bags are opened with care so they can be sent back to the local farmer for re-use. An onsite flour mill is used to grind the wheat into flour for bread and pizza. Every scrap from the kitchen is composted and used on the rooftop herb garden.

The building was completed in just three weeks, using a $300,000 funding grant by the NSW Government.

Inside the Greenhouse by Joost

The chairs - designed by Joost - have been constructed from aluminium irrigation pipes covered in leather offcuts from a saddle-maker in Ballarat, Victoria. Old conveyor belts were recycled to make the floor.

Magnesium oxide board

Sheets of magnesium oxide board have been used for the interior walls, soaked with Bio-Char so carbon is absorbed by the walls themselves. Every surface of the wall has been scrawled over with key words and catchphrases in black paint, a little confronting at first, but deliberately thought-provoking.

The dining room is designed primarily for pairs, so our group of five ended up waiting forty minutes for a table on Friday evening.

Chorizo, fried bread, roasted peppers and egg $17

The food is not cheap but then again, your conscience says, neither is the environment. Young gun Matt Stone, winner of the 2011 Gourmet Traveller Award for Best New Talent, heads the kitchen. His menu is brief and simple, arriving in glass jars or on thin planks of plywood.

Pizza $15

Illuminated only by a frail tealight and the street lights outside, dinner is a romantic affair,  particularly with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House showcased through the open cut walls. It's hard enough to see what we're eating, let alone photograph it. Ahh thank you for the torch setting on iPhone 4.

Clockwise from top left:
Fried spiced cauliflower
$9; Wood roasted baby carrots, beetroots, pistachio $16;
Seared mullet and mixed tomato salad $26; Wagyu beef gerello, romesco and baby leeks $25

The pizza is light and airy, stretchy with molten cheese and liberally dusted with semolina. We find the wagyu disappointingly overcooked and chewy, although the baby leek on the bottom is deliciously sweet and caramelised.

Seared mullet is a surprise highlight, soft and flavoursome with a skin that has been pan-fried until deliciously crisp. We forage through a forest of coriander leaves to find exquisite wood-roasted baby carrots, chunks of beetroot and crunchy pistachio kernels.

Fried spiced cauliflower is deliriously addictive, wrapped in a cone of newspaper and wedged into a jar. As we dig our plantation timber forks into a jar of seared chorizo, croutons and runny egg, I admit I do have a Zoolander flashback to Derelicte.

Plantation timber cutlery that will be composted after use

Roof top bar

Earlier on, we'd climbed the two flights of stairs to the roof top bar, offering one of Sydney's best drinking views of the harbour.

All drinks are delivered in kegs, with beer poured on tap into glasses made from old wine bottles; even the moscato comes in hot pink barrels, served in glass jars that have become de rigeur.

Pipsqueak cider $6 and moscato $9

Rooftop herb garden

A mandatory toilet stop will lead you into the unisex bathrooms. When the toilet is flushed, the water first flows through a tap and sink on top of the cistern, a set-up you'll sometimes find in Japan. The water continues flowing until the cistern is full for the next flush, quite a long length of time that reminds you how much water is used in modern toilets.

View of the Opera House from the Greenhouse rooftop bar

Inspiring, thought-provoking and ingenious, get to the Greenhouse before it closes at the end of March 2011.

Natural Selection Theory live natural wine

Flour grinding mill

The dining room

View of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

View Larger Map
Greenhouse By Joost on Urbanspoon

Campbells Cove, Sydney
(next to Peter Doyle at the Quay)

Opening hours:
Monday to Saturday9am-midnight
Sunday 10am-10pm
Rooftop bar open daily 2pm-midnight
Check Greenhouse by Joost for latest opening times and any closures due to private functions.

Greenhouse by Joost will be open in Sydney until the end of March 2011. It will then be packed up and relocated on an international tour.
30 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/21/2011 02:40:00 am


  • At 2/21/2011 3:48 am, Blogger Olive You said…


  • At 2/21/2011 4:49 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Love the tables and wooden cutlery!

  • At 2/21/2011 7:08 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Wasn't a fan of that cutlery & it's a shame your wagyu was overcooked

  • At 2/21/2011 8:42 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Good to hear the bar's open now! I'm eyeing off a spot already... Love the chorizo presentation :)

  • At 2/21/2011 9:19 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    blue steel!

  • At 2/21/2011 9:20 am, Anonymous Minh said…

    Wasn't that view killer? I still wish I'd stolen my mosato jar for my own nefarious purposes lol

  • At 2/21/2011 9:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Super interesting concept, I guess the pros balance out the cons of the wooden cutlery and overcooked beef. I'd better wait until it's not that packed :)

  • At 2/21/2011 10:49 am, Blogger Mel said…

    Looks like a great concept in a great location. Pity it's not a permanent fixture!

  • At 2/21/2011 11:07 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    very interesting concept! love the view from the roof top bar!

  • At 2/21/2011 11:21 am, Anonymous Min Ai said…

    Thanks for covering this! I've been meaning to take a peek myself. I used to work for the company (Arup) that sponsors this restaurant set up and an ex-colleague had told me about it when they opened up. I'll be referring your blog to the marketing folks for sure! ;)

  • At 2/21/2011 12:01 pm, Anonymous Nobal Glomad said…

    So unexpectedly Sydney to allow this pop-up harbour frontage. I'm thinking it's to do with Jan Gehl's confronting report prepared for City of Sydney Council 2 years ago... finally we're waking up to not only more focus on sustainability, but the fact that our harbour is our focus.

  • At 2/21/2011 12:48 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Being the language lover that I am, I adore the design of this place! And the name "joost". And the jar of chorizo and egg. but that last part has nothing to do with language. :)

  • At 2/21/2011 1:43 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    Looks so cool!! What perfect weather you had too to visit!

  • At 2/21/2011 1:45 pm, Anonymous PlanJapan said…

    Went there last night...Was left with mixed feeling. Save for the novelty of recycled jars and a stunning design, we found the menu quite odd. There was no inexpensive side to order with our lamb special, which was literally a pile of meat, with no vegetable in sight...my husband complained of the lack of potatoes or fries on the menu! Whilst that complaint might have been considered unbecoming of such a forward-thinking place, some dining truths - like being given access to carbs to go with your meat - are there for a reason! We left feeling it was an art experience, rather than dining experience. Which is not a bad thing.

  • At 2/21/2011 3:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I should bring my Joost to visit this place created by the other Joost :p Lovely setting.

  • At 2/21/2011 3:59 pm, Anonymous Melissa said…

    how interesting place to check out!

  • At 2/21/2011 4:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Isn't it great how poor old ordinary working New South Welshman have contributed their taxes so that rich people can have an expensive meal with a great harbour view!!! Great that our taxes are going to such a worthy, sanctimonious cause!!!


  • At 2/21/2011 7:22 pm, Anonymous sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    Loving the whole idea of this and what a view! The roof top, pretty wow, what an incredible location.

  • At 2/21/2011 10:12 pm, Blogger Jacq @ Penguin says Feed Me! said…

    so that's what all the machinery was on the counter top - a flour mill and a giant wine flask! Now that I can see the food properly in the photos I think a lot of it looks very 'derelicte' lol

  • At 2/22/2011 3:26 am, Blogger sugarpuffi said…

    wow we actually designed something pretty similar in our eco design course from 3-years ago @_@

    the timber cutlery is too awesome!

  • At 2/22/2011 10:54 am, Blogger Jen said…

    Wow! Not sure about the timber cutlery but this is so cool.

  • At 2/22/2011 11:52 am, Anonymous Jenny (Figs and Brie) said…

    This is a wonderful post, I've been meaning to visit this place as soon as the rooftop bar opened!

  • At 2/22/2011 5:19 pm, Anonymous Janson said…

    Wow nice post..Looking forward to see this...

  • At 2/22/2011 8:16 pm, Anonymous Honey @ honeyandsoy said…

    Soy and I were just planning to visit Greenhouse when we are in Sydney in a few weeks' time, so your writeup was very helpful! Can't wait to visit!

  • At 2/22/2011 8:47 pm, Blogger Viv said…

    wow...i cant wait to check this place out..never been to a pop up restaurant before! yummy pizza and cool oranges in a cage haha.

  • At 2/22/2011 10:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ahh I would have loved to have a drink on the roof. They were still planting herbs and some drilling or sawing things were going on when I visited. But what a view aye.

  • At 2/22/2011 11:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Isn't it great how poor old ordinary working New South Welshman have contributed their taxes so that rich people can have an expensive meal with a great harbour view!!!"

    Yes Anonymous, I also feel that government funding decisions are something that should be carefully considered. That's why I elect an MP at the ballot box and pay attention to how they use advice on their different areas of expenditure;, rather than going and deciding, for example, that repaving a particular section of highway in northern NSW that I never use is a tremendous waste of taxpayer's money; or that new heart disease research should be canned in favour of stopping people from smoking and drinking which would have a greater impact.

    This restaurant is not my cup of tea by the looks, but I'm glad it exists and if it took a small proportion from the public purse, I'd rather live in that world than one where everyone set themselves up as the police about what should or shouldn't have resources to exist.

    Thanks Helen, love your work and also your commentary without favour!

  • At 2/23/2011 12:41 am, Blogger Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said…

    This looks so awesome, I just love the panoramic views of Sydney Harbour...and the jars of cider and moscato :)

    Demos and I were a bit too enthusiastic when we visited at the start of the month, and were greeted by construction barriers, will attempt a visit again soon, moscato is calling!

  • At 2/23/2011 9:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    djbtak, good point, but surely if we all better scrutinised government waste of tax money, there would be much more money available for the really important things like our underfunded hospitals, schools and transport. Tax dollars are not unlimited. Please be assured that I am not having a crack at Helen, as I also love her work.


  • At 2/23/2011 1:30 pm, Blogger Bianca said…

    Would definitely like to visit this place just for the art and the view. I love the jars and the wooden boards the food is served on!


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