Silo – By Joost
I can still remember the first time I laid eyes on a Greenhouse By Joost installation. I was sitting at the Opera House Bar in Sydney, and I looked over at the Overseas Passenger Terminal to be confronted by an enormous mass of graffitied shipping crates and plywood boarding. I was fixated by. I didn’t know what it was, but I had to get closer; I didn’t want to be a curious bystander. Marg and I rushed back around to the terminal, to find that the exquisite mishmash of crates housed a restaurant, and more importantly a bar, that had unblemished views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour. Not being close enough to dinner, we headed up to the bar to enjoy some homemade lemonade and some on tap Little Creatures (naturally). As we settled down on our little box seats and enjoyed our view, the thing that really struck me was the complete lack of hipsters for such a cool pop-up bar. If this was Melbourne after 5pm on a Friday, you’d be beating the undergrounders back with a broomstick.
Since my first encounter, we’ve enjoyed the lovely Greenhouse By Joost back in Melbourne, I was lucky enough to check it out on its first day during this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (http://www.twomunch.com/2012/03/04/its-getting-hot-in-here/). My closing comment in that review, in case you’re not going to read it, was this: “The Greenhouse is here for only twenty days. Even if the menu isn’t necessarily your thing, the build and the design aesthetic are well worth the visit.”. So what happens, if in some twisted Peter Pan Neverland-like word, you don’t have to grow up, and you can go to the Greenhouse whenever you want? Well now you can. Read on, and stop checking out Tinkerbell.
So the enviro-geniuses at Joost (by Joost?), have opened up a permanent café dubbed Silo, strategically located opposite Hardware Society in Hardware Lane. They’ve translated their environmental approach to the permanent location, creating a ‘zero-waste’ café. The fit-out is mainly recycled, and you sit on kegs, used by the café, in the middle of a large communal table; the zero-waste philosophy is evident in every aspect of this café.
As Marg is currently being crushed to death under an exponentially increasing amount of work, I decided to visit Silo with a bunch of friends from work. The six of us were lucky enough to grab a seat at the big communal table, where you can watch your lovely lunch being assembled. I loved sitting on the kegs, but one of my friends who is getting a little pregnant, found it difficult. Not baby friendly.
So to start with, we ordered a round of Jason Chan’s Lemonade ($6). It came out in a beautiful brown jar, with a candy stripper straw. From the first sip, I loved the lemonade. The sweet, homely taste, with a hint of honey. It was delicious. But it was also $6, which is a little on the high side for a CBD lunch.
I had the 4 grains, beetroot and avocado ($10) salad for my main. It came out in a little jam jar, making it a bit of challenge getting out the bits at the bottom, but other than the physical challenges it was delicious. I loved the combination of the different grains, but it needed more avocado. Actually, I think it needed a bit more of everything. This seemed to be common consensus amongst my colleagues, that it just wasn’t quite where it needed to be price-vs-size wise. I assume they’re trying to make a statement about over consumption, but I’m not sure if taking it out on my salad is the best way of making it.
The standout dish, which 4 of the others had, was the Brown rice with wild mushrooms ($14). It came out in a little pot, which made it even more adorable. Again, size was a bit of an issue.
Finally, there was also the Coddled hen egg with wild mushroom ($14).
A great café continuing the “By Joost” tradition, in a more permanent setting. Definitely worth a look, but just keep an open minded about the portion sizes. It’s as much about the experience as it is the food.