16 February 2011

Greenhouse by Joost: Eco friendly cafe and bar, The Rocks (15 Feb 2011)

Circular Quay West, Sydney NSW 2000
Monday – Saturday: 7.30 am – Midnight; Sunday: 10 am – Midnight
Ends 28 March 2011

Waste not, want not

The Greenhouse is about lifestyle and the many choices that can be made; from material choices to fashion, food and ultimately waste. This building is productive and alive! The roof-top garden acts as a filter, the soil made from composted organic waste and bio-char.

If you love your food served on plywood mixed with excellent views of famous Sydney harbour landmarks, have eco friendly and recycling tendencies and don't mind your wine coming from a 23 litre demijohn and served in a glass jar then this might be your perfect cup of tea, or jar of natural wine for that matter. Oh, and if you love the Matrix then you'll feel right at home too with all the letters that surround you. It's quite amazing to read about how the restaurant has been designed to be as waste free as possible.

The Greenhouse is both creative and inspiring and the food is pretty good as well. Dishes are served on thin plywood which reminds me of how District Dining serves their dishes on wooden boards. Sydney Rock Oysters ($3.50 each) seem freshly shucked and the Fried spiced cauliflower ($9) is a tasty treat served in newspaper easily shared between 2 or 3 people. Drinks are served in glass jars and the Natural Selection Theory Natural Wine Sangiovese ($10) is pretty quaffable. The pizza base of the Wood fired Fennel and Pork Sausage pizza ($15) is soft and tasty and toppings seem quite fresh. The crisp skinned and flavoursome Seared mullet ($26) apparently comes from a very sustainable source and its mixed tomato salad is full of flavour which I'm suspecting might be of the heirloom variety.

For dessert the glass jars are also used for the refreshing Watermelon jelly with rose labnum [labneh?] and berries ($10) just like District Dining's panncotta and rice pudding. Both the Flat White ($4) and Cappuccino ($4) are well made with nice roasty flavour and little bitterness. I could have easily drunk without sugar although I'm a bit disappointed to see that only processed white sugar is available which seems to be at odds with the whole philosophy of the cafe.

Other visits to Greenhouse by Joost:
24 Feb 2011 - Rooftop bar, Orange juice, Lemonade, Pasta, Pizza, Mullet, Wagu beef
15 Feb 2011 - Oysters, Fried spiced cauliflower, Pizza, Mullet, Watermelon Jelly, Coffee

Other reviews and info of Greenhouse by Joost:

PROS: Promotion of eco friendly, sustainability and waste-free, Well-presented and tasty dishes, Seems reasonably priced for the quality, Service was friendly (but sometimes hard to grab their attention when busy), Water and landmark views
CONS: Watch out for sharp and rough edges around seating, Very dimly lit toilets (not sure if mirrors are available in womens), Plantation timber cutlery feels like running your nails on a blackboard inside your mouth, Drinks are served in glass jars making you feel a bit homeless, Possibly not the most child friendly environment with tea lights all around, No menus so have to ask the waiter for details (a chalkboard menu like Cafe Sopra would be more convenient)
MUST TRY: Visiting again to check out the rooftop garden when open
WORTH TRYING: All the dishes

Glass jar of water, Natural Selection Theory Natural Wine Sangiovese ($10)

Sydney Rock Oysters ($3.50 each)

Fried spiced cauliflower ($9)

Wood fired Fennel and Pork Sausage pizza ($15)

Seared mullet (sustainably farmed) with mixed tomato salad ($26)

Watermelon jelly with rose labnum [labneh?] and berries ($10)

Cappuccino ($4)

Flat White ($4)

Refined white sugar — seems a bit out of place, where's the natural organic raw sugar?

Today's menu

Inside seating

Recycled seating and tables

View of Sydney Harbour Bridge

View of Sydney Opera House

Fruit and barrels of wine

Passageway to toilets

Toilets are Australian made Caroma Dorf, with the sink above the cistern using water from the hand wash to fill the next flush

Toilet doors made from trestle tables

Passageway lighting with glass jars

Kitchen counter

OH&S issue — watch out for sharp finishes around joints under the chairs when moving them

OH&S issue: Watch out for very rough ends of chairs

OH&S issue: Seems to be some leaking from the ceiling above, perhaps from the rooftop garden

Bill dividers

Potted strawberries — although I'm not sure how they'll survive. Perhaps some dry resistant herbs like rosemary might work as well which doesn't need much water.

Side view with Sydney Opera House

Outside view

View from Overseas Passenger Terminal

View Larger Map
Greenhouse By Joost on Urbanspoon


joey@FoodiePop said...

So many OH&S issues doesn't sound good! That pizza looks good and I love the whitewashed walls with graffiti.

Monica ^o^ said...

that is one cool cafe, love the water jar. Must remember to be extra careful when walking around in the cafe :P

john@heneedsfood said...

Looks like a fancy camping trip by the harbour. Nice of you to share your war wounds

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Looks great, Simon. Not sure about the plywood and all the hidden dangers - but looking forward to checking it out anyway.

Anonymous said...

I hope they read your post and work on solving the OH&S issues. Food looks good and prices are very reasonable, especially for the location. I'll have to try it soon!

OohLookBel said...

It's quite distressingly rustic, isn't it? And a bit of a change from your dinner at Claudes's :)

Dumpling Girl said...

Love the concept of this place. Thanks for posting this one and if I get around to this one, I'll know to be super careful now :)

susan said...

that place looks pretty cool and an affordable view.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone also seen www.eatgreendesign.com they have been doing this concept for a couple of years also but with way less impact on the environment...they build their restaurant in existing spaces...a lot greener...when's the next one?
Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Nice idea but I had a really bad experience here Saturday.

Their website says they open 7:30am - at 8:10 their staff were still setting up tables and told us they don't open til 9.

We waited 50 minutes, came back at 9 - long story short it took them 40 minutes to bring us a menu then about 50 minutes to bring us a simple order of ham'n'eggs and muesli. The servings were small and basic given the price.

The idea is nice, the location great and the concept honourable but after having to wait 2 1/2 hours for our meal, and run off twice to feed our hungry parking meter, we won't be back.

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi joey, hope you get to try but watch out for the OH&S issues as mentioned. hopefully they'll double check their furniture.

hi monica, check it out if you get a chance.

hi john, hope no one else gets any war wounds :-)

hi tina, looking forward to hearing about your experience.

hi lateraleating, such an awesome view. i must check out their roof top bar if open next time.

hi bel, i don't mind rustic as long as it's safe ;-) very different to Claude's indeed.

hi dumpling girl, not quite sure how long it's still on for but i'm planning to visit again when i get a chance.

hi susan, probably one of the most affordable views while eating in the area besides buying an ice cream and walking along the waterfront.

hi Anonymous, thanks so much for the link. i hope they do one in Sydney :-)

hi Anonymous, thanks for letting me know about the morning disaster. that's really bad. personally i'm not a morning person but if they say they're opening at 7.30 am then they should be open. i think they should invite you back for free to make up for the terrible experience you had to go through.

thanh7580 said...

I love your reviews Simon, always pointing out small things that matter like the toilets and OH&S issues. It separates your posts about the same place from all the others. I must try to incorporate some of these elements into my posts too.

Madam Wu said...

I think you ordered really well as all of those dishes sounded delicious, especially the unusual dessert. I'm heading here for sure!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi thanh, i always try and provide some attention to detail if i think it's important. thanks for supporting my pickiness hehe

hi madam wu, hope you get to try some of the dishes soon before it all ends :-)

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