Hunter Gatherer: Waste not want not: Carli Ratcliff visits Sydney’s newest (and greenest) restaurant

By Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Permalink 0
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by Carli Ratcliff

A Pop-up restaurant: Greenhouse by Joost in Sydney, Australia

Our Australian correspondent Carli Ratcliff visits Sydney’s newest (and greenest) restaurant

Joost Bakker is a designer with abhorrence for waste. The son of Dutch flower growers he grew up surrounded by plants and nature and has long held the view that we must touch lightly on the earth. His own home is a straw bale construction, a technique he has also adopted in the construction of his pop-up restaurants.

The Dutch-born designer (his family migrated to Melbourne when he was nine years old) unveiled his first pop-up restaurant in Melbourne’s Federation Square in 2008 and he has another permanent greenhouse in Perth, Western Australia, which was named Perth’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in 2010.

His harbourside pop-up, which sits prominently on the point between The Sydney Opera House and The Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened to the public on Monday.

Constructed of shipping containers and the aforementioned straw bales, the interior walls are clad in magnesium oxide boards, impregnated with Bio-Char (a type of charcoal that captures and stores carbon). The exterior of the restaurant is covered in thousands of terracotta pots holding wild strawberry plants.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner the menu is based on local, seasonal ingredients, with an emphasis on wholefoods. Local oysters and sustainable fish, including grilled mackerel, are on offer, so too a grass-fed Waygu beef and papaya salad and handmade pappardelle with beef ragù and gremolata (the parsley comes from the roof). All arrive on slabs of plantation timber, which serve as plates, with compostable timber cutlery.

The wheat for pizzas is ground on site; the Perth restaurant currently grinds nearly a tonne of local wheat each week. Butter and yoghurt are made here, as is tonic water, the pasta, bread and pastries. Fresh juices are hand-squeezed to order and natural wines are poured straight from the barrel, both are served in jam jars.

Herbs and leaves are grown on the roof, fed regularly with compost made from the restaurant’s waste, while the oil from the deep fryer is converted into diesel which fuels the restaurant’s electricity.

In six short weeks the restaurant will be packed up. Next stop Milan.

For more information, contact Carli at carliratcliff@theramblingepicure.com

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1 Comment
  • Rebecca @InsideCuisine.com
    February 17, 2011

    Just love what Joost Bakker is doing in Australia and so pleased he is then taking it to the world. Great article thanks Carli!