From the tables and chairs, the plywood, hay bale and concrete walls, and the recycled decor, it is clear that Greenhouse maintains its efforts to continue on the sustainable path that it adopted when set up by Matt Stone.
The menu on the day we dropped by for lunch had a relatively small number of simple, but interesting dishes, designed to be shared. There is a Asian Australian theme about the food – dishes include oysters with hot sauce; Afghan bread with sumac; chicken wings with five spice salt and black vinegar; chicken salad with Chinese cabbage, sesame oil, soy and Szechuan pepper; and snapper with black miso and daikon – you get the picture. For our meal we chose beef tagine and eggplant cooked with coconut masala.
Initially, we plumped for a dish of mixed olives to take the edge off Lady FWO’s hunger – the dieting for our daughter’s wedding is starting to fray her normal calm demeanour – but in the end the mains we ordered came so quickly we shouldn’t have bothered. However, they were tasty – a lot of different olives in a fruity oil.
The drinks list demonstrates just how a small list can be designed to provide plenty of interesting options, a lesson that some other places around town should note – a lot of spots seem to turn their list over to a wine rep with other intentions in mind.
The whites included the excellent Harewood Estate Riesling from the Great Southern, Willoughby Park chardonnay from Denmark, and Scott Wines Fiano from the Adelaide Hills with reds such as Alkoomi Grenache/Shiraz, Trentham pinot noir from the Riverina and Twin Cellars Malbec from Margaret River.
We were after something light and fruity so chose the Bella Ridge rosé from the Swan Valley. Made from tempranillo this is a lovely food wine. It has savoury and spicy aromas on the nose, with dry cherry notes on the palate, and an underlying hint of cloves. It is medium bodied with a long, smooth finish.
The beef tagine came out in a large earthenware dish, packed full of meltingly soft beef, cooked in a rich and spicy sauce with saffron, flaked almonds, white beans and preserved lemon. The ras el hanout spice mix – this has no specific ingredients but usually includes cumin, coriander, chilli, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and pepper – provided a refreshing heat to the dish as well as a complexity of flavours which really lifted the dish out of the ordinary.
The other dish, also in a (smaller) earthenware dish, was a stew of eggplant and green peppers, cooked in a coconut based masala, flavoured with panch phoron (a Bengali spice mix – fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard and fennel seed – which is one of the main ingredients of my own potato curry) and chilli. Served with rice, the dish had a mildly nutty taste from the fenugreek, and a nice tangy burn from the chilli. It was very enjoyable.
Greenhouse continues to turn out interesting and well cooked food, using natural and fresh ingredients, and in an environment designed to showcase sustainable food production. It has a buzz about it, pleasant and friendly service and a good range of drinks. Greenhouse is well worth a visit. The rooftop bar is a highlight as well. It is just a pity that the pot plants which once graced the outside of the building with a green and cool serenity, have succumbed to the Perth heat and are now dry and brown…