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Greenhouse, Sydney: A Recyclable Pop-up Bar & Restaurant by Joost Bakker

Submitted by Adrian on February 16, 2011 – 4:12 pm34 Comments

Shot Gun Bang -  “What up with that thang?!” With my footsteps firmly stomping the exit grounds of The Rock’s iconic markets in Sydney over the weekend, I came to a sudden halt as I stood there gawking at what I thought was a large piece of environmentally focused street art surrounded by stacked up shipping containers. Intrigued, we stepped closer as if we were approaching some sort of alien life form. As I peered inside, there were dining tables then to the right,  a kitchen and a coffee machine. Phew…there was food.

Don’t you just love accidental finds?! It’s like fate only my love turns out to be food.

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About the creator… DUN DUN DUN…

Joost Bakker, the creator of this amazing monument, is an artist, designer, major recycler, holds a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and is known for his signature take on floral designs and nature inspired installations (see below herb wall). His previous works include the Greenhouse in Federation Square Melbourne, pieces for Stokehouse, GPO Melbourne, Cafe Creco Crown Casino, penning the theme for the Sarti Christmas Party not too mention taking part in an abundance of exhibitions over the years.

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How was this project built in under 2 months?

According to Joost Bakker’s website, the Greenhouse is built from light gauge steel making it 100% recyclable and termite proof. Insulated by straw bales taking up residence in the walls, floors and the ceilings. Incredibly, the whole Greenhouse arrives in five 12 meter containers each one with a specific room.

The furniture follows in the same vain in terms of sustainability. The tables for example are made with reconstituted timber and scraps of steel to the lights made from old plants and fencing wire. *slaps face* My friends were joking around the fact that it seemed like a restaurant set up  after an apocalyptic event with everything in sight being recyclable/reusable.  There was no need for airconditioning as there is no glass covering the large windows- just open air gushes  from the breezy harbour.

The place oozes a sense of rawness and sensibility without losing any aesthetic appeal.

I don’t mean to sound biased, but it felt like a place that belonged in the streets of South Melbourne or Richmond as opposed to the city of Sydney. Although, you can’t beat the location with the stunning backdrop of the Opera House and Darling Harbour. The staff tell me that they’re next project will be in Milan.

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Here comes the food

The concept here is clear: back to basics. Even the very kitschy cutlery. The food is locally sourced and is seasonal. Juices freshly squeezed and the butter made daily. Yes, they make their own butter sista! The coffee machine just arrived not more than a day prior and is filled with Vittoria beans. Yay! My second favourite bean.

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One thing to note is that there is no hand held menu as it is written in massive capital letters along the perimeter of the walls. It was so funny watching people’s heads doing a 180 over and over again. They looked like those air fresheners that you can get for your car, usually in a form of a dog bopping it’s head around as the car moves- widely available in Chinatown if you really want one. I know you do…

Everything sounded good but as soon as I heard the staff call out my favourite ingredient – tamarind- I didn’t hesitate to order whatever that was in.

My oh my, when the Wagyu Beef Papaya Salad with Tamarind dressing rolled on out on that wooden board, the whimsical display of colour and the incredible presentation was unexpected. Already finishing off the plate with my eyes, I was having a hard time trying to contain myself for a decent camera shot. A heavy dose of Thai and Vietnamese influences blended so spectacularly well together.

I swear this would have to be the best papaya based salad I’ve ever had. No doubt. Hands filled with Sadaharu Aoki macarons down even- you know how much I heart them.

The flurry of greens like the fresh coriander and cucumber all grown on the roof (O.M.G) tasted like they were just picked. The slivers of unripined papaya were aplenty but the queen of the crop was the perfectly cooked slices of wagyu. I’m not a big fan of an array of nuts in salad, especially when they’re not crushed, but the peanuts didn’t seem to get in the way here. It’s as if they were pre-softened/soaked?! With each juicy piece, I toppled the rest of the inhabitants of this endangered island for they did not have long to live as I wanted to soak up all the sweet but slightly tart tamarind dressing.

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I tell you what. Later that night, my friends took me to Spice I Am for my birthday. Their salads had nothing on this dish and of course had much higher price tags. The homemade orange juice and lemonade served in a screw top jar was nicely done – refreshingly tart and cool for the humid day.

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The Cap Off

Greenhouse definitely sent me to Food Rehab. If you haven’t already made it down to experience “The Greenhouse Effect” - Hurry, this temporary monument is only open for shop until March 28 as they prepare to take this concept to Milan. Countdown starts now!

Zee Details: Campbells Cove, The Rocks Sydney (next to the Quay)

Opening hours are Mon 12PM – 12AM, Sunday 10.00am – 12AM, all other days from 7.30am – 12AM.

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