It was the final curtain at Greenhouse by Joost. The temporary sustainable restaurant in Sydney’s Campbell Cove that captured the hearts and imagination of the city was about to close its converted shipping containers and embark on the first leg of its European journey.
Greenhouse by Joost at sunset
Occupying a vantage location, the temporary structure adorned with strawberry pots was to bid farewell to its neighbouring landmarks, the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. In a befitting finale on the evening of 28 March 2011, the prestigious Stix Catering, headed by David ‘Six’ Allison, presented their Showcase Canapé Menu to invited guests.
Stix Catering @ Greenhouse by Joost
We had the pleasure of attending this special event as guests of Champagne Jayne whom we had met at the Ultimo Wine Centre Annual Champagne Tasting in 2010. An advocate of fine bubbles, a promoter of the knowledge and enjoyment of Champagne, the multi-talented Jayne Powell (aka Champagne Jayne) is a wealth of information with a soon to be published book , Champagnes – Behind the Bubbles. With a passion for all things French and a love of Bond movies (Sean Connery, of course), it came as no surprise that we shared a few things in common.
Cocktails in jam jars – Kilikanoon Vouvray 2008
Stepping through the entrance of the building, guests were greeted with a selection of beverages. There was a choice of Kilikanoon Vouvray Brut 2008 from France, Little Creatures Bright Ale from Freemantle, San Pellegrino Mineral Water and in true Greenhouse by Joost style, a cocktail in jam jars. Made with Young Coconut, Pineapple, Lime and Thai Basil, the sweetness from the pineapple was well balanced with the lime. The Thai basil delivered an almost mint-like freshness which lingered on the palate.
Bubbles and glasses in waiting
Greenhouse by Joost bathed in orange and green lights
Under green and orange lights, the painted messages on the walls took on an ethereal glow against the backdrop of a moody sky with the sun setting behind advancing cloud.
Light jazz and soft rock tunes provided an elegant and relaxed ambience with quiet chatter and guests mingling on the recycled conveyor belt floor.
Introducing David ‘Stix’ Allison, Owner and Executive Chef of Stix Catering
The only formality of the evening was the introduction of David ‘Stix’ Allison, the owner and Executive Chef of Stix Catering. David’s culinary career began when he worked as a jackeroo/stockman in far North Queensland and later became camp cook. After formally training as a chef, he worked at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Double Bay before establishing Stix Catering in 1999.
With a repertoire ranging from large scale and intimate formal dinners to cocktail functions, Stix’s clientele includes Qantas, David Jones and Macquarie Bank as well cooking for VIPs such as John Howard MP and the APEC World Leaders Conference.
Stix Catering’s Showcase Canapé Menu took the guests on a journey across 14 delicious morsels, with hot and cold canapés and a mini dessert to round off the palate.
Caviar, crème fraîche on woodfired bread
Caviar was served with crème fraîche on woodfired bread was the perfect start with the glass of Vouvray that was regularly topped up by the wait staff who inconspicuously circulated the room.
Duck proscuitto, celeriac remoulade, dried teardrop tomato on tortilla wafer
The duck proscuiotto on a tortilla wafer with celeriac remoulade was moreish, delicate in flavour and wafer-thin.
Tartare of beef, horseradish cream, crisp pastry tuille
Served on pastry tuille fingers, the tartare of beef had a freshness accentuated by the dollop of horseradish cream; the flaky pastry providing a contrasting texture to the raw beef.
Sashimi of tuna, ceviche of calamari, white onion salad
The clever mingling of the sliced onion salad with the ceviche of calamari lifted the flavour of the tuna sashimi canapé,
Artichoke cream, sauteed enoki mushrooms, fresh herbs on French toast
while the artichoke cream with enoki mushrooms had subtle flavours.
White sesame cone, green papaya salad, salt and pepper squid
The next canapés seduced the eye with their presentation and played on the anticipation one gets from picking up a mini cone and putting it in the mouth.
Black sesame cone, olive tapenade, tomato, whitebean, fetta
The sesame rimmed mini cones were colour-coded. The white sesame cones were filled with a green papaya salad and topped with salt and pepper squid. The black sesame cone was a vegetarian alternative with olive tapenade, tomato, whitebean and fetta.
The team in the kitchen
Meanwhile, the team of experts in the Joost kitchen were busy preparing more dishes.
Confit potato, roast balsamic mushroom, romesco, bernaise
An elegant canapé yet simple when stripped down to basics. The soft, caramelised potato and mushroom with bernaise sauce was a delight to eat,
either as one mouthful or as separate components, as I had the opportunity to do both.
Seared Canadian scallop, candied cashew nut, Ponzu dressing
Plump and juicy, with just the right amount of suppleness on the inside, the seared Canadian scallop with candied cashew nut and Ponzu dressing was the favourite of the evening.
The next hot canapé to be served was met with a sense of curiosity.
Kataifi prawn, Nam Prik dipping sauce
How does one eat the kataifi wrapped prawns while maintaining cocktail party decorum? One doesn’t. Some canapés are meant to be enjoyed in a child-like fashion.
BBQ pork, Asian herb salad, hoisin, white sesame brioche bun
Next, was the BBQ pork in mini brioche buns. The presentation looked too cute to be eaten.
Another favourite, the buns were light and soft while the pork was tender and moist.
The remaining hot canapé was the Mirrool Creek lamb, Serrano ham, green pea, mint, pinenut, fried shallot (not shown) which we did not have the opportunity to try.
Confit ocean trout, fennel, pink grapefruit, snow pea, hazelnut dressing
Listed on the menu under ‘substantial’, the confit of ocean trout was a generous serving with crunchy fennel, pink grapefruit, snow peas and a light hazelnut dressing. It took a little effort to eat with biodegradable forks. As environmentally friendly as they may be, their woody texture is difficult to get used to and turns eating into a shovelling exercise. But this is no reflection on the dish, which had a good balance of textures and flavours.
Mini Black Forest Gateau
To finish off, the mini Black Forest Gateaux were too difficult to resist. Light, airy and not overly sweet, one could easily pick up a few and pop them in the mouth for an instant feel good sensation.
Dessert canapé gift boxes
Dessert canapé gift boxes were handed out on departure to enjoy at home. Each box had 8 mini desserts with Petite Raspberry Marshmallow, Petite Passionfruit Marshmallow, Mini Raspberry and Passionfruit Curd Tart, Mini Chocolate Hazelnut Friand, Mini Date Pudding with Toffee Frosting, Sicilian Flourless Orange Cake, Mini Blueberry Cheesecake and a Mini Tiger Butter Slice that melted in the mouth.
As well as enjoying the food and drink in unparalleled settings, the enjoyment of the evening was punctuated by the people we met, the conversations that flowed into the night and the personal connections one makes on such events.
Champagne Jayne and David Allison of Stix Catering
Nicola and Hilda
Nancy Georges, Champagne Jayne and David Allison
Guests enjoying the Stix Catering hospitality at Greenhouse by Joost
The evening was also a sad reminder that Greenhouse by Joost in Sydney would soon be no more, a sentiment echoed by many who were present on the night.
Farewell toast to Greenhouse by Joost
From the rooftop bar with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge lights twinkling in the night, we bid Greenhouse by Joost arrivederci as it begins its European sojourn in Milan.
Greenhouse by Joost
Photography by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – (c) All rights reserved.
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