Greenhouse Perth

Tasting plate @ Greenhouse

So if you’ve just finding out about Greenhouse for the first time via my website, you can consider yourself a little slow to the party.
Not that that’s a bad thing of course. I’ve always considered myself 80% tortoise and 20% hare. That you get there in the end is all the really matters, and any restaurant owner will tell you it’s the long term regulars that make the business worth being in, not us fly by nighters who swagger in on opening night, never to be seen again.

So Greenhouse is/was the most interesting place to hit Perth in quite a while. The concept first started in Melbourne as a temporary installation in Federation Square, constructed in 14 days primarily from recyclable materials. I could warble on about the idea of the place for a while, but I’d really only be restating what’s already been said, so here is something directly from the Greenhouse Perth website (which has lots of background info) about what they’re trying to achieve.

The Greenhouse is about designing and operating better places for people. Places that let us touch natural materials, understand where everyday things come from and taste fresh food straight from the garden

All the features of the Greenhouse are carefully considered first for their practicality, recyclability, life cycle and embodied energy and then for their aesthetics and cost. By putting each decision through this rigorous process, it is hoped that the Greenhouse can provide information and examples to builders, designers, restaurateurs and the public, regarding their daily choices of materials, ingredients, and practices.

*Jar SaladThe tasting plateEmilyGreenStrawberry fields forever**Menu @ Greenhouse Perth***Pour @ GreenhouseAndy Mac with the gun show99 bottles of booze on a string...Man loveMatt Stone plates up at GreenhouseEscabeche of Fremantle SardinesSkirt steak, green papaya saladSlow cooked lamb neck, chickpeasWood oven @ GreenhouseFrehs limes at GreenhouseMatt surveys the passMullet on flatbread with avocadoHouse baked breadWinelist @ GreenhouseInterior @ GreenhouseQuealy Pobblebonk

What this means practically is that the insulation is straw, the flooring in places is former milk crates, the tables and chairs are recycled timber, and smart little touches have been made around the place to make the construction simpler, and the overall sustainability of the place high.

Now all of that is nice and interesting, and I think a great approach to take to designing spaces that are environmentally efficient and use less resources. But no matter the concept, if the food is bad, I’ll be leaving it to the hippies to enjoy on their own.

Fortunately for Greenhouse, the food is not bad. In fact it’s very good. The kitchen is headed up by Matt Stone, former sous chef at Star Anise, and briefly at Pata Negra before irreconcilable differences meant he looked elsewhere. The boy knows how to cook. The food at Greenhouse is considered without being pretentious and the back to basics produce driven approach is a lovely natural way to eat that definitely fits the Greenhouse agenda.

Skirt steak, papaya & herb salad

On previous visits I’ve tried the “bits and pieces” board featured cheeses, meat balls, salami, salads, and pickled vegetables, as well as an outstanding skirt steak with green papaya salad, and slow cooked lamb necks. The food is not overworked, it’s simply but beautifully plated and tastes great. Bread is house made using Eden Valley Biodynamic flour from Dumbleyung in the Wheatbelt (who are also members and supporters of Slow Food Perth. I love the focus they have on seasonal ingredients and I think it’s the kind of food more people should be cooking.

Greenhouse Perth is split into two levels, with a restaurant and bar downstairs and a separate bar overlooking St Georges Tce upstairs, surrounded by a fairly extensive garden growing all manner of herbs and vegetables, and the whole place trapped inside walls of strawberry plants. According to Matt, not all the herbs they use come from the garden (simply due to the quantity needed and timing) but where possible as much produce as they can grow themselves is used in the food they serve.

Greenhouse is part owned and managed by Paul Aron. He’s had a background in cocktail making and the wine trade, and that shows when you take a look at the booze selection and the wine list. It’s extensive, interesting, and whilst it’s not parochially West Australian, all the best we have to offer are represented.

For me, Greenhouse is a little view into the future of restaurants and the way things could go. The compromise to comfort and style is minimal and the food, service, and atmosphere are great. I hope it’s not just seen as a novelty venue, because the thing I like the most is that thought has gone into all levels of the design. Where conventional choices of bulding material and design are involved, much of the decisions are made already, but in places like Greenhouse, right down to how the toilets work, there is a considerable amount of time spent thinking about how the right balance of function and efficiency can be achieved.

If this considered approach to design and food can be continued in other venues then you can wrap me up in chicken wire and roll me on down to the next one.

Greenhouse Perth
100 St Georges Terrace, Perth
Phone: (08) 9481 8333


Sayers Food

Sayers Sayers Sayers

I am officially the king of the lazy posts. I keep on meaning to write more, but I always end up writing less. So please consider this offering as a token of my appreciation that people continue to come to my site in search of content, most often to find nothing.

It was recently made aware of a new establishment in Leederville called Sayers Food, by the ever thoughtful Jen of the W.A Barista Academy. Sayers Food has been open for about 4 weeks now, and is located next to Cinnamon Club in Carr Place, Leederville, in the premises that used to be occupied by the most excellent Eminem Modern Turkish (before they got too cool for Leederville and moved to Nedlands).

The fit out of the shop maintains the cool vibe hat Eminem created during it’s brief tenure in Leederville, with a relaxed yet classy atmosphere created with a bench along one side filled with cushions, dark wood grains on the tables, and beautiful textures running through the tableware and wallpapers. But really, who cares about layout (aside from interior decorators), it’s all about the food isn’t it ??

So I strolled in on a lazy afternoon when everyone thought I was somewhere else. I was due to have a meeting in Subiaco later on in the afternoon, and so I justified my brief sojourn into Leederville as a mere pit stop on the path to productivity that is my working life, plus it was already well past midday and I hadn’t had lunch… it was basically a matter of survival… yeh, lets go with that.

Smoked Salmon BrouilladeFlat white

Without much of a chance to look at a menu I opted for whatever looks tasty in the display window. This time round that was a smoked salmon brouillade, which was slightly confusing because I was under the impression that a brouillade was some form of scrambled something or other. So it possibly should have been called a smoked salmon and spinach brouillade being as there was a creamy spinach type mixture wrapped around the salmon. Actually, maybe it was called that… I have a habit of misreading menus and ending up confusing myself with over analysis. The dish itself was great, fresh and light but still filling, with great textures coming through the salmon, spinach, and cream cheese (I think) filling. A lovely little salad of wilted cucumber strands in a light vinaigrette accompanied my “brouillade” just nicely.

The coffee they are using at Sayers Food is 5 Senses, and they’re using a La Marzocco Linea. I asked how they made their coffees and they explained that the shots were pulled quite short. Happy that I wasn’t going to be getting half a cup full of bitter espresso, I ordered a flat white which was great… lovely flavours coming through what is clearly a nice blend, however probably a bit too foamy for my liking. Still, vastly superior to what they are serving in Oxford 130 around the corner as far as I am concerned.

Problem is though, it’s not just me who’s concerned, it’s everyone. Oxford 130 seems to have a strangle hold on the coffee loving community of Perth. It is a much loved hangout and beacon to the trendy masses that flock to Leederville for their fill of trucker caps, aviator glasses, and quirky original t-shirts. So whilst the coffee at Sayers is pretty good, it won’t be knocking 130’s off as the cafe of choice anytime soon. It doesn’t have that same shabby vibe that 130s does… its trendy, but a little too trendy for those types who don’t feel comfortable sitting on anything other than a milk crate, drinking long mac’s and discussing how to make the world a better place.

Still, that’s besides the point. Sayers Food is it’s own cafe. According to the guys at Five Senses, Mark Sayer (owner and namesake of Sayer Food, along with his wife Steph), has 25 years experience as a chef, and prides himself on creating great food with local fresh produce. This really shines through as the food I had was fresh and fantastic, and there is always room in this city for someone with a passion for their food, and a commitment to quality.

Hopefully Sayers Food continues to bring people in and raise the bar for quality food and coffee in Leederville.

Sayers Food
Shop 1/ 224 Carr Place, Leederville
p: 9227 0429


DMBLGIT December 2006 Winners

Does anyone even remember last year ? It suddenly seems like so long ago… but there are still a few loose ends to tie together. That being the announcement of the winners of DMBLGIT for December 2006 ! (Note: All the photos were taken in November 2006, which is why I was initially calling it the November 2006 competition, but have since corrected it, as the competition always runs one month after the photos were taken).

The judges were asked to score each photo submitted on three categories, edibility, originality, and aesthetics. The combination of these categories has been used in the past, and I think it’s a good idea, as there are points in each category to be won for people with less technologically advanced camera setups as others. The scoring was very close in some categories, but I was very happy with the overall results. This means that there is an overall winner, and then a winner of each individual category (who has not already won something else), which means more people coming away with prizes. We had some excellent entries this year, and overall the standard was very very high…

So with no further ado, here are the winners.

Winner of Edibility

Ilva of Lucullian Delights with Balsamic Vinegar and Pistacchio Truffles

Winner of Originality

Jennifer of Fer Food with her beautiful Bacon Flowers

Winner of Aesthetics

This was so close we actually had a three way tie.

Bea of La Tartine Gourmande with her Fall Medley Vegetable Soup — Soupe automnale de légumes variés

Nicole of Pinch My Salt with her Pumpkin Roll

Riana of For the Love of Baking with her Green Tea Pudding

Which leaves us with the overall winner this month being…. drum roll…

Overall Winner

Jules of Stone Soup with her Stuffed Baby Squid

Many thanks to the judges, Celine of Black Salt, Anthony of Spiceblog, Bron of Bron Marshall, Lara of Cook and Eat and Still Life With, for their time and energy, especially over such a time consuming part of the year. Thanks also to Matt of Matt Bites for letting me hack his lovely graphics up for this months prizes, which are available now to be displayed on the winners sites !


Note: despite my attempt at making gold, silver, and bronze coloured prize logos, there is no first, second, or third per se… All winners are winner, and are entitled to show whichever logo they feel best suits the style of their blog.

Thanks again to everyone and congratulation to the winners !

Looking for the next installment of DMBLGIT ? Look no further than Annie’s great site Bon Appageek ! Head on over now and get your entries in.

DMBLGIT November 2006

To those unfamiliar with the funky acronym, it might sound like Mary Poppins has a severe lisp… but what It actually means is:

Does my blog look good in this ?!?! (I added the exclamation marks for dramatic effect)

It’s one of a whole host of memes/competitions that exist for food bloggers to show off their wares (and one of the most prestigious too), namely being the best example of food photography taken in any given month.

So, food bloggers the world over are hereby encouraged to send in their entries, which will be judged on the three categories of aesthetics, edibility, and creativity.

The photos are judged by a panel, currently consisting this time round of Cate from Sweetnicks, Celine of Black Salt, Anthony of Spiceblog, Bron of Bron Marshall, Lara of Cook and Eat and Still Life With, and yours truly.

There are then three winners – those with the top 3 combined scores. There are also three category winners – those with the highest scores in aesthetics, edibility and creativity that have not already won 1st/2nd or 3rd place. So there’s plenty of chances to bag yourself a placing.

Only one entry per person and the photo must have been posted on your blog during November.

Please send all entries to:

along with:
– Your Name, and your blog’s name
– Your photo (in jpg format, preferably under 500kb)
– A link to the post its from
– Some info about the camera it was taken with

Closing date for entries is the 28th of December.

Best of luck and get crackin.

Check back here shortly for updates as the entries start to roll in. As they have now.
A gallery of entries now lives here: DMBLGIT November 2006 gallery

*Update* : I’ve decided to add the gallery into this post as well. Please spread the word and get those entries in ! Full details of all photos submitted can be found on the DMBLGIT November 2006 gallery.

*Update II * : Entries close today !! The 28th December. Get yours in now or you’ll miss out…

*Update III * : Entries are now closed. It’s already way past the 28th in Australia, and this should be enough time for those in other timezones to catch up. Thanks to everyone who has submitted photos, and look out here for the announcement of winners soon.

5 things to eat before you die

Originally raised by Melissa of The Travelers Lunchbox, my first thought was “What a morbid sounding idea for a theme…”. But then who am I to shirk my civic duties by listing as many “must try” foods as I can think of, after being tagged by the lovely (I assume) JenJen (see, anyone with a double name must be lovely) of “I love milk and cookies” fame (and don’t we all really).

So… to the list. Which as far as I’m concerned is not the list of foods I would eat if I were about to die, but more a collection of food experiences I think would be nice for most people to try at least once in their lives.

1) Kiwi hot dogs – Being a former Kiwi, I can think of nothing more quintessential divisive to healthy eating than the Kiwi hot dog. It’s basically a thick sausage on a stick, rolled in flour and dipped in batter, then deep fried til golden and crispy. Not happy with the level of fat and oil already present in the sausage and batter, the inventive Kiwi’s then up the ante by soaking the top half of the dog in tomato sauce (ketchup for recalcitrant Americans). I have fond memories of stuffing down several of these bad boys before collapsing onto the couch in a fat induced stupor. Incidentally they also make the list of “Things to eat that will make you die”.

2) Feijoa – Another New Zealand classic, the Feijoa, also known as Pineapple Guava or Guavasteen, is originally from South America, but has now been adopted as New Zealands own. It’s a bizarre little fruit that I can only describe as being sweet, sour, fruity, and savoury, all at the same time. Inventive Kiwi’s have turned it into smoothies, sorbets, and even vodka. In its most basic form, you can just cut it in half and scoop out the middle with a teaspoon as you would a kiwifruit. Definitely something to try.

3) Freshly Shucked Natural Oysters – This may be a good time to introduce my concept of assessing someones commitment to food. A sort of “how gourmet is gourmet” rating scale. It involves many layers of tests and I wouldn’t be the snob I am with out them. Pronouncing Riesling “Rise-ling” is one of them… as is preferring the taste of instant coffee to properly made espresso. A general aversion to any particular fruits or vegetables for no apparent reason other than “I just don’t like them” is also a big draw breaker. Towards the bottom of the list, this one comes in. Natural oysters, straight from the sea, out of the shell and into the mouth, with or without a little lemon juice or salt… are the ultimate in gourmet appreciation. You either hate them, and can’t abide the idea of a slimey thing like that slivering down your throat. Or you tremble in anticipation of the luscious feeling of freshness filling your mouth and shovel as many down as you can before anyone else gets to them.

For those in the non-oyster or cooked oyster camp… Just give it a go… at least once.

4) Lamb roast with all the trimmings – I’ve blogged previously about my love of a good lamb roast, so I’ll save the in depth explanation. Suffice to say that if you’ve never been bothered to go to the trouble of making a big home cooked meal yourself, with the stuffing, and the mint sauce, and the gravy, and the honeyed carrots, and sparkling grape juice (ok, that’s just my family), then you are really missing out on something.

5) H?ngi – A traditional Maori Hangi is something to be experienced. Common to many Polynesians cultures, but slightly different in each of them, it’s basically the process of cooking food in the earth, by digging a hole and burying the food amongst a pile of hot rocks. The food is typically meat like pork, mutton, and chicken, and vegetables like potato, pumpkin, and the all important kumara. It all gets put into baskets and wrapped in cloths that have been soaked in water, then put into the pit amongst hot rocks and covered for a few hours. There’s something very satisfying and humble about cooking in the earth, so if you ever get the chance, I’d say go for it.

That’s all I can think of for now. I know there are plenty more, but I can’t think of them at the moment. One thing I will add is that where any good food exists, great wine can only serve to highten the experience. So for all those beer drinking, wine haters out there… get off the wagon and give let your tastebuds do some work for once in your life. They’ll thank you for it later.

Perth Food & Wine Festival

I love food and wine festivals. I love food and wine full stop (.) But even more so when all the nicest elements of both are organised into little booths with tooth picks and tasting glasses provided to sample and sip as I see fit.

This year the food and wine festival was held at the Perth Convention Centre (or Hayshed, as it is not particularly affectionately known). The setup was as per normal. Rows and rows of wine, olive oil, gourmet food, beer, magazines, people chopping things, and other random food based and food related products.

After talking to Ben beforehand and finding out that the Synesso Cyncra was going to be set up at the 5 Senses booth, that was our first point of call. The machine is sweet, a work of art in an industrial stainless steel finish, and a testament to engineers actually listening to what people want.

Synesso Cyncra

I was lucky enough to get to have a play on it, and despite over tamping, the shot came out pretty nice. The Synesso has paddles instead of switches, and when you push the paddle a little way across it starts preinfusion. This means that boiler water at line pressure is used to fill the basket. Once the puck is soaked with water and the first drip of coffee comes out, you push the paddle all the way across to full pressure, and watch perfectly balanced espresso flow out. For a novice like me to be able to pull shots like this, was unreal.

My Tamp
Synesso Cyncra
Naked pour on Cyncra
Dippin the tip in.
My pour
I made a rosetta !

Dragging myself away from the coffee machine, we wanted to get some food and then start tackling the different wineries that had their wares on display. Do you know how hard it was to actually get something substantial to eat at a food and wine fair ? Apart from small pieces of bread, cheese, and the odd cracker, actual food was few and far between. Fortunately an Indian place was serving some tasty curries, so we grabbed some of that, got our tasting glasses filled at the nearest wine stall, and lined our stomachs with vital solids.

The next 3 or 4 hours were pretty solid sampling.

We worked our way from one end of the convention centre to the other trying wines from as many places as we could. Stand out would have to be 3 Drops for their Semillon Sauvignon, and also their olive oil (even though we got told off for double dipping), Salitage‘s Pinot Noir, Charles Melton Nine Popes (always a classic), Bowen’s Cabernet Sauvignon, West Cape Howe Shiraz and West Cape Howe Viognier, and the only other I can remember at this stage was the Capel Vale Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. The Capel Vale was really nice actually and we ended up ordering a mixed case of Viognier, Shiraz Viognier, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese… I’m a sucker for a foreign name.

Other highlights for the day were running into Phou, a chef who works at the convention centre, and moonlights at the Pacific International Hotel. He’s originally from Melbourne and has worked all over Australia, and had lots of good things to say about working in the industry, and whether or not its worth it (which it is, as long as you’re willing to put in a lot of work).

We also managed to talk oysters with Jerry Fraser (oyster king of Perth), who gave us a few good tips on where to best ones come from, and how to take them (natural of course, with a little fresh native lime juice).
Jerry Fraser - Oyster King
Oysters - Freshly Shucked

I also picked up my own copy of Spice Magazine from their booth, and had a bit of a chat there.

Spice Mag !

Benny talks to Spice Mag

Then it was back to the 5 Senses booth for a farewall play on the Synesso (and to inadvertently run into the Pseudo Chef herself), before trudging out of the convention centre and merrily heading back home.

All in all a great day filled with lots of tasty morsels and friendly chats with the ever loving food and wine community of Perth (and the greater West Australian region). It’s on for the next coupld of days, so i may just have to go back for more :) I’d encourage anyone else to do the same.