Silo by Joost , 123 Hardware Street, Melbourne 3000, is the permanent project of Joost Bakker, eco-entrepreneur, who is a champion for sustainable design and local sourcing of food and foraging movement. This restaurant does not just talk about “zero waste” they are ‘zero waste”.

We were lead to Silo, by Kate Archdeacon project director for VEIL (Victorian Eco Innovation Lab at the University of Melbourne). The restaurant (a smaller space than most Athens, GA restaurants, with the kitchen and eating area combined) gave a feeling of stopping off at a friends kitchen for a quick but delicious lunch. The waitstaff were charming and full of helpful information  and you could tell that they, like the owner, totally embrace local sourcing and foraging movement. Blending the customer and kitchen space dilutes the artifical feeling of a restaurant and brings the food to life. Arrive for breakfast and you will hand mill your own oats.

Joost and British chef Douglas McMaster have designed a zero-waste seasonal menu that is small but full of flavors and color. The food and setting appeal to both the eye and the palate: Breads baked daily, yogurt made there on site, communal tables that encourage conversation between the customers and the staff, artwork on the wall featuring recycled and up cycled materials, white walls and plastic packing crates on the ceiling, reclaimed wood for the shelves and bench style stools made of repurposed materials.

We enjoyed: Beet and Horseradish soup with sprouted grain bread, Brown Rice with foraged Pine Mushrooms with Quark (a fresh curd cheese) and a Greek Sandwich. Everyone loved the fresh juice spritzer, too. The food along was great, but the atmosphere and the sense of camaraderie polish off the experience with warmth that makes it well worth the walk. Visit when you can!

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