Despite non-stop grazing on samples at Fine Food Western Australia, Juji and I were ready for lunch.
I must've been the only Perth food blogger who hadn't been to Greenhouse Perth yet, and since we were in the city, Juji suggested we go there for lunch.
Greenhouse is located on the St Georges Terrace side of the Enex 100 building. Its appearance is striking and once seen, never forgotten; its exterior walls are completely covered by ivy and strawberry plants in 4000 terracotta pots. I bet passers-by can't resist helping themselves to strawberries when they are ripe.
The design, construction and operations of Greenhouse are all about sustainability. Inside, the colours of Greenhouse reminds me of eco-friendly brown paper bags and cardboard boxes. It's certainly one of the more interesting restaurant fit-outs I've seen, with the use of timber and other recycled materials, golden straw bales on the walls, light shades made of wire - it's rustic but trendy. I've read that straw bales in the ceiling provide the building's insulation; the bar top and walls are made from recycled plywood; and a rooftop garden using sustainable growing methods supplies the restaurant kitchen with seasonal vegetables and fresh herbs. You can read more about the Greenhouse concept at the restaurant's website.
The only table not already taken or reserved for lunch was a fold-out one at the bar. We didn't mind. I had a good view of the wood oven in the kitchen (a lot of people order pizza for lunch at Greenhouse, it seems) as well as the main dining area and of course, the bar itself. The alcohol bottles hanging overhead by blue rope was an eye-catching feature at the bar. I wanted to play them with a spoon, like a musical instrument.
For drinks, we ordered the pressed orange juice, which came served in recycled old-fashioned ginger beer glass bottles.
The menus were printed on single sheets of brown paper. I ordered the ocean trout with jewelled cauliflower cous cous and lemon (AU$23). The trout was cooked to perfection, with crispy salted skin and moist flaky flesh.
The cauliflower had been diced finely so it resembled cous cous. Through the crunchy cauliflower was a mixture of chopped fresh parsley, julienned carrot, dried goji berries that were sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste, and pomegranate seeds that popped juicily under my teeth. A squeeze of the wedge of lemon and I had a perfect plate of food.
Juji enjoyed her grilled haloumi, beetroot and poached wheat salad (AU$18). The slab of haloumi had a nice brown crust and the chunks of beetroot were pickled, tumbled with mixed greens and wheat all shiny with balsamic vinegar dressing.
We didn't stick around for dessert; the Linley Valley pork, Whoopie Pie and garlic chicken ball had caught up with Juji and she was feeling pretty full by now. I had the Koko Black media preview event (already blogged) to attend at 2pm - I wanted to reserve tummy space for chocolatey goodies.
Of course, for most of the punters (including me), food and service are most important elements of any restaurant, including an environmentally friendly one. We knew we were in a sustainable restaurant, but it didn't feel like we had sacrificed pleasure or deliciousness or that we were eating for a cause. From what I've observed reading other blog posts, recycled jam jars are used to serve condiments, but thankfully, not as drinking glasses. I'm not a snob about glassware, but most jam jars aren't particularly user-friendly as drinking glasses - an exception being the rimless Allowrie jam jars designed to be re-used as glasses, which we used in our household for many years. Our food and drinks were fresh and tasty, and service was friendly and fast.
By the time we left, both inside and outside dining areas were full, with more people streaming in and others buying takeaway coffee at the front window. Pretty impressive for a Monday lunch time.
Greenhouse opened in December 2009 and clearly I fail as a food blogger in checking out the hot new eateries! I hope to return sometime soon for breakfast.
100 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9481 8333
Web: www.greenhouseperth.com Monday and Tuesday 7am to late
Wednesday to Saturday 7am to 12am
Closed on Sundays
Breakfast is available from 7am to 11.30am
Greenhouse's menu changes regularly
Other interesting info
Award-winning Greenhouse Head Chef Matt Stone was the challenger on the first episode of Iron Chef Australia. His brother Jake Stone, who appeared on Iron Chef Australia assisting Matt, created the spectacular dessert "coconut on the beach", which I was lucky enough to eat as part of the recent Amusé Project dinner.
The first Greenhouse appeared in Melbourne as a temporary installation, operating for three months in Federation Square in early 2009. In Sydney from February to March this year there was a popup Greenhouse restaurant at The Rocks.