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Monday, February 22, 2010

People in green houses...

...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
Website: http://www.greenhouseperth.com/
Opening hours: Mon & Tues 7am -late; Wed to Sat 7am -12am

Greenhouse on Urbanspoon


Belle@Ooh, Look February 22, 2010 at 7:18 PM  

It's always good to find a nice brekky place, especially if they have toast soldiers :) And I wonder if places notice if you nick their cute juice bottles (I wouldn't know either!)

Mark @ Cafe Campana February 22, 2010 at 7:46 PM  

Belated Happy Birthday. What a quirky place to eat. They have obviously but a lot of thought and effort into the presentation. I like how they have also created some interesting breakfast dishes instead of simply reproducing the usual fare. The poached trout dish does look good.

Panamahat February 22, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

yum. cute.

Annette @ Wellness WA February 22, 2010 at 9:20 PM  

Oh yummmmmmy. Organic free range eggs on toast, YES!

Something concerning though... I noted on their website that they serve this particular number:

"pig head & trotter terrine, mustard pear puree"


i don't see how this is a) environmentally friendly, b) in keeping with the kind of vibe they have going (HEY WE GROW STRAWBERRIES BUT ALSO SERVE PIGS HEAD AND FEET...)

c) good. at all. blah :( i might email them having a whinge, haha!

Simply Life February 22, 2010 at 9:56 PM  

wow! i love how creative all the serving dishes are! great meal!

Emma @CakeMistress February 22, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

Darn, just as I move from Perth to Melbourne, Greenhouse moves the other way :( Looks like a delicious place for breakfast, and maybe an extended brunch stay judging by the doughnuts :D

Pam February 23, 2010 at 12:01 AM  

The poached eggs with tomatoes and mushrooms is making me drool - that is my idea of the perfect breakfast.

Nancy February 23, 2010 at 1:55 AM  

What a lovely birthday breakfast! I can't decide whether the poached eggs with tomato and wild mushrooms or the trout is my favorite. Happy belated!

Anonymous February 23, 2010 at 2:24 AM  

Sounds like a wonderful breakfast overall despite the inconsistencies with the menu. The ocean trout and the poached eggs look especially good.

Tasty Eats At Home February 23, 2010 at 2:44 AM  

I always browse menus online for restaurants I'm considering - as long as I have advance notice that we're going to that restaurant! Partially, it's due to dietary restrictions, but also, I just am nosey and want to know what I can dream about until we get there! This place definitely sounds amazing.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella February 23, 2010 at 6:48 AM  

I love the muesli presentation on that scoop! :o How very chic. Nothing like a good breakfast place is there! Hope you recovered well from your pirate party! ;)

Steph February 23, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

Will have to give the place a try (I'm also behind the times).

On the pig head/trotter comment: Actually, it's very environmentally friendly as it's means that none of the pig (where "icky" parts may be thrown away) is wasted. As a person of Chinese heritage we use that part as well (no waste!)

Iron Chef Shellie February 23, 2010 at 9:26 AM  

I hate when things are the menu at the restaurant are not the same as the menu online!!! rahhh I say :P

Looks good though, I think I will have to have a trip there on my next Perth holiday =)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 23, 2010 at 10:02 AM  

Belle@Ooh, Look - Yes, I am getting a nice little list of go-to brekky places. I suspect my list may suffer if they start to catch me pilfering their glassware ;)

Mark @ Cafe Campana - thank you! Yes, this is clear but it also has a feeling that they're not trying too hard, which I think is a hard line to walk. They're doing well :)

Panamahat - yes. yes.

Annette @ Wellness WA - oh yes, I am definitely going back for some of those eggs! Possibly on one of their brekky pizzas :) Actually, I think the whole 'nose to tail' approach to cooking is actually really much more environmentally friendly than the more common practice of just cutting out the bits people like and selling those. Growing animals to eat can be so environmentally taxing that I figure if we use as much of each animal as we can then this is a good thing! Thanks for picking up on it though, and letting me have a little rant too ;)

Simply Life - Yes, I'll be heading back soon!

Emma @CakeMistress - hehe, don't worry, I'm sure you can console yourself with the myriad of other awesome places. I have no sympathy for you. No sympathy!

Pam - I have to say they smelt pretty good too.

Nancy - You'll just have to order both then! Thank you!

5 Star Foodie - Yes, was still a great breakfast overall :)

Tasty Eats At Home - I'm nosey too, I'll admit it. It's also a nice break from work to have a stickybeak online at the menus :)

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella - Thank you! Yes, loved the presentation. Might need to buy some boards and scoops for home ;)

Steph - Glad to see I'm not the only one. We're both obviously too busy leading exciting lives. I agree with you on the pig head issue, as you can see in my reply to Annette, though I may be a little biased as I've enjoyed a delicious 'pied au cochon' or two in my time :) I really need to get myself to a Chinese wedding one of these days... I need some suckling pig action!

Iron Chef Shellie - It's beyond rude! It's..it's... unforgivable! Yay! Perth holiday!

boroca February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

Good to see that you are still falling for anything that has smoked fish :)
I am likewise a fan of Greenhouse, and now I am jealous because I didn't know they did breakfast, and won't be able to try it out until I come back and visit Perth!

Evelynehttp://www.cheapethniceatz February 23, 2010 at 12:44 PM  

Did those mean greenies screw you over with fake mango...hmm...very bad of them. But looks like a cool place.

Absinthe free for 7 days lol

Annette @ Wellness WA February 23, 2010 at 6:45 PM  

You guys are right! That is environmentally friendly, I was wrong, haha.

I think it's the feisty vegetarian in me getting angsty over it.

Trissa February 23, 2010 at 7:41 PM  

AM going to Perth in May! I will definitely ask you for restaurant recommendations before I go - should this be top of the breakfast list?

Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 23, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

boroca - it is surely one of my many weaknesses. I'd be a terrible boss in a computer game, you could foil my plans in seconds if you could only find the hidden smoked fish to lure me away with.

Evelyne - damn hippies and their damn fake mango! Haha, you absinthe hound! Keep it up, stay strong!

Annette @ Wellness WA - glad you're on board :D keep up the feistiness, sister!

Trissa - Awesome!!! I'll be very happy to recommend some places, and perhaps meet up for a meal if you have time?

Natasha (Perth Food Engineers) February 23, 2010 at 11:23 PM  

Happy Belated Birthday!
Love your post on the Greenhouse..the poached eggs with wild mushroom looked fabulous! I wonder whether I can wake up early enough next time to have breakkie there before work!
Might give that a go!

ozbloggers February 24, 2010 at 9:58 AM  

wow I am reading this in the morning and my tummy grumbling now!


anyway do join www.ozbloggers.com to share your blog with others please

ozbloggers February 24, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

anyway do join www.ozbloggers.com to share your blog with others please

The Perth Breakfast Bitch February 24, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

Hey Conor - great review! It looks like you sat at the same table I did!

The greenhouse is defo one of my top places for breakky!

Cakelaw February 24, 2010 at 10:50 AM  

A great review - and happy bebirthday.

Devan February 24, 2010 at 1:03 PM  

Wow, the prices do seem a lot more reasonable for breakfast. I will definitely have go to there for breakfast next time. The Greenhouse may be up there with Sayers or even surpass it.
Very detailed write up. Good stuff!

Hannah February 24, 2010 at 6:20 PM  

I've never seen toast soldiers on a menu before - how gorgeous! Though, in fact, everything you chose here is giving my tummy grumbles (even though I just had a lovely breakfast at a B&B in London). Please pass the salmon and watercress... stat!

Cajun Chef Ryan February 25, 2010 at 2:44 AM  

Unique presentations indeed! Thanks for sharing this restaurant with us.

erin February 25, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

Okay that's WEIRD. I haven't even checked my reader this week, and as I clicked to read your new post, I thought "I bet it's a post about the Greenhouse". Either I'm a psychic, or something weird is going on.

Or you mentioned it in an earlier post? Oh I don't know. Hehe. I'm sticking with the psychic theory.

penny aka jeroxie February 25, 2010 at 5:09 PM  

The presentation look really cute! Now where is my garden scoop?
Happy birthday!!!! xoxo

3 hungry tummies February 26, 2010 at 6:32 AM  

Seems like an interesting place, especially love the sound of the wall covered in wild strawberry plants!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 26, 2010 at 11:31 AM  

Natasha - thanks mate! It's definitely worth setting the alarm a bit earlier for. You can always have a nap under your desk in the afternoon, right? :)

ozbloggers - :) sorry to your tummy! Will go check it out, thanks for letting me know about it.

The Perth Breakfast Bitch - thanks! It must be their special table for awesome people.

Cakelaw - thanks, and thanks!

Devan - yes I was really pleasantly surprised with the breakfast prices. I love Sayers, but you really do pay for the privilege of eating their food, so I think you might possibly be onto something there! Thanks :)

Hannah - Toast soldiers put a smile on anyone's face :) Passing, passing, I promise! Right after I have a little nibble or two...

Cajun Chef Ryan - thanks, my pleasure!

erin - that IS weird. You have a psychic link with my belly? It is a sociable belly, so I'm not surprised it has been out meeting and greeting without my knowledge.

penny aka jeroxie - I gotta get me some scoops for my kitchen. And some nice wooden blocks. And a water recycling toilet :D thank you!!

3 hungry tummies - it's a great wall... can't wait til it comes into fruit! I wonder how crazy the birds will go for it..?

Anita February 26, 2010 at 1:36 PM  

That breakfast looks like a perfect birthday breakfast!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite February 26, 2010 at 8:00 PM  

I love the neat presentations of all the food - especially the muesli in the scoop and the OJ in a bottle. Looks like a fun place!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 13, 2010 at 12:47 PM  

Anita - it surely was! Perfect start to a wonderful day.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite - I really have to get myself some fancy pants interesting food presentation tools! My mismatched hand me down plates and bowls are a little sad..

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