|Parsnip soup with caramelised onions|
All the eco-credentials which Joost advocated at his previous venues are here but in a permanent form, down the far end of Hardware Lane. The slim cafe is pretty simple and pared back. It’s dominated by a long, high communal bench made from a dark, hard wood. The fit out is made entirely from recycled and recyclable materials and black crates hang from the ceiling while produce is stored in reusable crates or containers on the shelves. Food is served in white glazed pot plants and all drinks are on tap and decanted to glasses made out of old beer bottles.
|Perched up at the long communal bench in the middle of Silo by Joost|
The chef is Brit Douglas McMaster who is turning out some pretty interesting food. The menu is very limited and doesn’t provide many clues to what’s on offer with descriptions like “four seeds” or “leek, egg yolk and seeds”.
The leek, egg yolk and seeds ($12) turns out to be soft and sweet leeks and two vibrant yellow egg yolks which have been slow poached at 62 degrees until they are fudgy and rich and then topped with a sprinkling of seeds for texture. It’s surprisingly delicious especially mopping up the egg yolk with a piece of the whole wheat bread.
|Laneway seating outside Silo by Joost|
The bread is milled on site and reminds me of Irish soda bread but it is very dry and really needs some egg yolk or butter to add a little moisture to it. On another visit I had the parsnip soup ($12) and while I loved the flavours and the caramalised onion topping, I thought the serving size was pretty small for $12.
|Latte at Silo by Joost|
Coffee is brewed in a Wega machine which sits proudly at the front of the cafe. Served in mini plant pots it’s a silky smooth brew and made in the most environmentally efficient coffee machine on the market as the Wega calculates the way a cafe uses its coffee and adapts to those patterns. Danny Collis who runs the cafe told me the only problem was that the machine is incredibly ugly so “we ripped the shit out of it” and stripped back the exterior to replace it with perspex panels which reveal the inner workings of the coffee machine.
|The revamped Wega at Silo by Joost|
It’s all a bit pretentious and earnest at times but you can’t fault the intentions behind Melbourne’s newest cafe. Silo by Joost is a thought provoking place to eat and the whole concept is intriguing from the principles behind the venture to the adventurous food on offer.