Silo by Joost

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I’ve already outed myself as a card-carrying member of the Joost Bakker fan club, after visiting the Greenhouse in Perth in 2011, and then hanging out daily at its temporary cousin at the Melbourne Food and Wine Fesitval in March this year (see here) so it will come as no surprise that I’ve been waiting eagerly for his latest project ‘Silo by Joost’ to open its doors on Hardware Street. 

Silo is setting the benchmark for a waste-free sustainable cafe model – there are no bins, milk is delivered in bulk, flour is milled on site for all their baking needs, and of course all the suppliers are local, organic and seasonal. 

The kitchen is headed up by Douglas McMaster, who holds the Young British Foodies award for ‘Most Irreverant Chef’, and you can watch him at work as the kitchen and communal table are all part of the same space, giving you an up-close and personal introduction to your meal.   Currently on the breakfast menu are coddled eggs with mushrooms, house-made muesli, porridge, toast, shortbread, and yoghurt, not to mention some sensational chocolate treats (breakfast dessert, anyone?).  Silo are also doing evenings from Thursday to Saturday, with salads, grains and soup, and a nice selection of good local plonk including beer, wine and cider.

Silo is run by the irrepressibly enthusiastic Danny Colls (ex Cafe Racer, Postal Hall, Liaison, Federal Coffee Palace etc). If you happen to catch Danny at Silo he’s more than happy to give you a tour, and the passion he has for this latest venture is infectious.  It was also lovely to see the same staff who worked so happily at the Greenhouse at MFWF this year, serving up breakfast at Silo the morning we visited, every bit as excited about this beautiful new venture as I certainly am.

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Greenhouse by Joost – Part II

The Greenhouse by Joost has been delivered into my lap so to speak – assembled literally outside my building, so that I pass it 3 or 4 times a day. I’ve been delighted to be able to sneak a quick piccolo in each morning before work, and just soak up the green-ness of it all, enjoying the warm welcome of a cheerful team who appear as happy to be there as I am, as well of course as admiring the work of infamous Iron Chef/Perth Greenhouse/Danish master shoulder-rubbing Matt Stone and his killer ink. For a more detailed post on the actual Greenhouse concept see my previous entry here.

Lunch has inspired a second post, just simply because I love it, it’s too pretty not to take pictures of, and I can’t get enough of the place.

We started off with some sublimely refreshing drinks, a house-made lemonade and a ginger ale, served in the ubiquitous jam jars, and decided between us to have the spicy chicken, with quinoa and yoghurt, and the pumpkin, chickpea tagine with green chilli yoghurt.

Both were bursting with flavour, fresh, spicy, healthy and quite perfect in their simplicity. Gorgeous.

Oh, and did I mention you can buy the lovely dishes, coffee cups and glasses at the counter, and take a slice of the green heaven home with you? The philosophy behind the design, according to the man Joost himself, is presenting food in pots and terracotta makes you think back and connect with how your food is grown and where it comes from.

They also have organic cotton t-shirts for sale, emblazoned with ‘green’ messages, including the one I bought which says ‘Imagine buildings that grow food’. Imagine indeed.

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Green Awesomeness at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

If you’ve been anywhere near Queensbridge Square on the Yarra River this week you would have seen a hive of activity as the Greenhouse by Joost was built for this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

Today it is open, and is a magnificent homage to sustainability in its entirety.

From the building materials used, to the food sourcing and production, to its furniture design, it is a lesson in green awesomeness. And the coffee is ACE.

Chef Matt Stone (from the Greenhouse in Perth) will be cooking up a green storm, with a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu using only fresh local ingredients, so local the wheat is being milled on site, and the yoghurt and butter is made from organic milk and cream delivered daily.

There is a gorgeous rooftop garden and bar overlooking the river, full of plants for the kitchen, and herbs line the exterior walls in terracotta pots in a vertical garden. The electricity comes from unrefined canola oil, the walls are formaldehyde-free plywood and the glue is made entirely from soybeans. This place is so sustainable they’re even harvesting human urine to use as crop fertilizer for a farm in Daylesford. I’m probably a little more interested in this than I should be – if you are similarly fascinated, you can read more about this in detail here.

Joost Bakker is the visionary architect of the Greenhouse space, having created the original back in 2008 in Federation Square in Melbourne, and then creating the whole restaurant in Perth.

He is quite simply my HERO, and I’ve never been so proud to be Dutch!!

As anyone who knows me can tell you, my 2 biggest passions are food and sustainability so this has me jumping out of my skin with excitement, much like I did when I first visited the Greenhouse in Perth last year.

The calendar of events for the Greenhouse over the coming weeks is nothing short of senstational, naturally the dinner with great Dane Rene Redzepi is sold out, however there is a veritable smorgasbord of other options to whet your appetite.

I’m booked in for lunch with Rosa Mitchell, for some homestyle Italian cooking on March 14th.

You can view the whole timetable here.

There’s even a free iPhone app for the MFWF which you can download here.

Get involved Melbourne, this one’s going to be HUGE! Much like my waistline after all the eating I’m going to be doing. Buon appetito, y’all!

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