People in green houses…

February 22, 2010 · 36 comments

…shouldn’t umm.. waste carbon?

When people asked me how I was going to spend my birthday last week, I’m sure it surprised noone that my plans included going out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After recovering from my pirate party, I put a little more thought into this and decided to try the breakfast menu at Greenhouse in the CBD after hearing good things about it, and falling for one of the items after looking at the menu on their website.

I love being able to look at restaurant menus ahead of time and weigh up your options, but this is sometimes fraught with danger. Some restaurants fail to keep their websites properly updated, and you can find that the dish you’ve been swooning over all day is no longer on the menu, or they may have sold out of it by the time you arrive. Better to have loved and lost though, I say, so I throw caution to the wind and remain an online menu peruser.

I had been to Greenhouse a few times already since it opened in December 2009 to sample their booze and nibblies, and was quite taken by their approach to using the space. I won’t go through all of the environmentally sound aspects of the building, as you can read all about this in detail on their website, but essentially they have sought to minimise their ecological footprint.

This is expressed visually in many ways, from the 4000 wild strawberry plants covering the entire external walls and the productive rooftop garden to the somewhat stark exposed concrete interior and uncomfortable looking outdoor chairs made from recycled roadsigns (I didn’t see any “wide load” signs being used). It is also expressed in many hidden ways such as the straw bales filling with roof and wall cavities, and semi-hidden ways in the toilets that reuse the water from hand wishing to flush themselves.

Greenhouse was designed by Joost Bakker, who was responsible for Greenhouse by Joost that had a temporary tenure (29 October 2008 until 29 January 2009) in Federation Square, Melbourne. Joost has teamed up with Paul Aron (who used to manage Perth restaurant Eminem before the owners did what everyone else seems to be doing and left sunny Perth for tasty Melbourne, opening up Gigibaba in Collingwood) and Jason Chan (co-owner of Seamstress, Melbourne and runs Batch Espresso Cafe, Balaclava) to create Greenhouse in Perth, and they seem to have struck a chord with the locals if the crowds are anything to go by.

They also seem to be doing quite well if blog reviews are anything to go by, as breakfast has been enjoyed by the good people of our breakfast club, poached, Breakfast in Perth and Cafe Grendel, Bowl of Honey and Perth Food Engineers have had lunch there, and it has been discussed on tannic teeth, The 6050 and SixThousand.

So, clearly I’m a little behind the times but life on the high seas has kept me from trying all these sexy new places, me hearties!

Greenhouse interior: notice the spirits suspended by string from the ceiling, tables made from the plywood floor of Greenhouse by Joost in Melbourne, and lightshades made from reclaimed fencing wire

After reading the reviews of those who have eaten before me, I thought it best to book a table for breakfast, as standing around in the wind tunnel of St Georges terrace waiting for a spot doesn’t strike me as an ideal way to spend one’s birthday morning. We got a nice round table near the front window where we could watch the city workers walking by in their nice suits and shiny shoes, and were soon given water to sip while we decided on what to order (those of us who hadn’t been taken in by the come hither eyes of a particular dish already).

Three of us ordered coffees while my non-coffee-drinking housemate went for a fresh orange juice that was served in an nice old glass bottle. The coffees were nice, nothing spectacular but a good temperature and quite pleasant to drink. They were also quite popular as evidenced by the constant stream of people at the takeaway window.

Fresh orange juice in a cute glass bottle

Between the four of us we ordered the “toasted muesli, mango and yoghurt” ($11), “eggs and soldiers” ($9) with a side of bacon ($4.50), poached eggs on toast ($10) with sides of wood roast tomato ($3.50) and wild mushrooms ($4.50) and “poached ocean trout, potatoes, capers and watercress” ($18).

Toasted muesli, mango (cunningly disguised as nectarine) and yoghurt

We all oohed when the muesli was brought to the table in the large metal scoop, with yoghurt sitting in a recycled glass jar. Reports of the muesli were very favourable, and the yoghurt was particularly good. According to the menu they make their yoghurt in house with milk from Caprino Farm, where apparently all the goats have names. It was disappointing however that the mango that was meant to accompany the muesli was replaced with nectarine, which I think should have been told to Ms Muesli Eater when she ordered.

Eggs and soldiers, with a side of bacon

This dish was also beautifully presented, on a wooden board with little salt filled hollows for the googy eggs, and the thick buttery soldiers stacked atop one another (which somehow conjures up risque images of soldiers in compromising positions, or is that just me?). The nice thick soldiers did prove a bit of a challenge to dunk into the eggs though, and we agreed that the army may need to implement an exercise regime to trim them down.

Poached eggs on toast with wood roast tomato and wild mushrooms

Many good things have been said about the poached eggs at Greenhouse, as they seem to be on the money. The eggs come from the chickens at Margaret River Organic Free Range, and are poached in their shells to give quite a creamy consistency.

Poached ocean trout, potatoes, capers and watercress

The poached ocean trout is what I fell head over heels for on the menu on their website, although I did also fancy a fling with the “crushed peas and basil, poached eggs and toast” ($15). This dish was everything I was hoping for, with a generous amount of beautifully tender flakes of trout, soft chunks of potato, tangy capers and a creamy yet not overbearing sauce. My only complaint was that I didn’t seem to be able to find any watercress amongst the various greens on the plate, but I enjoyed the rest so much that I was able to look past this.

In general, the food is excellent – uncomplicated food cooked with skill using top notch ingredients. Our only complaints in this area were that some dish elements were not as stated on the menu, which I think should be communicated to the customer when ordering. The prices are also very fair for Perth, and the service was good – friendly, attentive and efficient but not hanging around like a sticky fly. I’ll definitely be heading back to Greenhouse for breakfast again, and would like to try their lunch and dinner menus too.

Oh and uh, their freshly made donuts that they have sitting on the counter to entice you as you go up to pay may also be tasty. I wouldn’t know..

100 St. Georges Terrace, Perth (terrace side of enex100)
Phone: (08) 9481 8333
Opening hours: Mon & Tues 7am -late; Wed to Sat 7am -12am

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