Before rooftop bars sprung up all around Perth, I had spent my first couple of years of my university life flitting in and out of the few such retreats that were dotted along St George's Terrace. I have fond memories of Greenhouse in particular; the sun would set and I would find myself atop their roof, listening to their soothing house DJ with the same great group of close friends. They had great bartenders working their rooftop bar; their creativity and knowledge always allowed me to order off the menu...literally off the menu. Instead, I would name ingredients and liquors that I preferred (strawberries, mint, elderflower and something sour - always hit the spot) and minutes later, I'd have a delicious, well crafted drink at the ready. By daybreak, I would roll around in pairs for breakfast and return again and again for their unique dishes and great coffee. I was a massive fan of their breakfast pizzas and the blood orange crepes; their menu was always changing and it was a great place to bring visitors or fellow breakfast enthusiasts out to.
The array of mishmash decor makes for a great form of "I Spy" entertainment whilst waiting for the food to arrive. I spy, recycled wicker chandeliers, boozy ornaments and a fruit bowl fashioned out of the top of a gas cylinder tank. I love the way that they've used their space, and how diners are propped up on elevated seats with a great view of the open kitchen.
If there's one thing that hasn't changed about Greenhouse, it's the fact that I still think that it serves some of the best coffee in the Perth CBD. And honestly, it has to - Greenhouse is located right in the epicentre of St George's Terrace and to do justice to their bustling location, the restaurant is also armed with a convenient takeaway coffee window right next to the enex100 entrance. It was wonderfully strong, warm coffee and a great way to kick off my very late morning.
We had just made it into Greenhouse an hour before the lunch menu was due to roll over, and to be honest - that day I was a little disappointed with the minimalistic, overpriced selection they had on offer. I found myself reluctant to fork over $17 for "Crepes, Lemon, Raw Sugar" or "Brown Rice Pudding, Autumn Fruits" and was tossing up between the Dumplings and the Cured Ocean Trout dish. When placing our order, I asked the waitress for a recommendation and she admitted that she was yet to try either. That was a little disappointing to hear but unfortunately after settling for Cabbage and Shiitake Dumplings, I highly regretted not taking the Ocean Trout route. The serving size was the first blunder, as I thought that 4 dumplings for $17 could be looked to as kindly as daylight robbery.
For $17, I could have definitely gotten two poached eggs and then some from other establishments; at the very least it would have been preferable to have my one poached egg well cooked. The dumplings were also overcooked and collapsing through the fragile wrappers and into a heavily over-seasoned broth. Preference wise, I'm not a massive bean shoot and coriander fan, but the dish could have been redeemed had the broth not been so salty and had the other two main components not been so brutally overcooked.
This was the big ticket item on the menu and if you exclude the side of bacon and mushrooms, it would still look to be an insignificant portion considering that you're paying $19 for an upscaled "pig in a blanket". The pastry was thin and lacked the irresistible flaky, buttery features that are the basis for a good puff. However, the sausage had a good texture and the smeared condiments gave the dish some much needed flavour.
Dish of the day, sadly enough goes to the crispy side of bacon and whilst I was willing the mushrooms to taste as good as they looked, our consolation prize was them being well cooked, whilst being under seasoned. At this point, I can't justify Greenhouse's prices when they produce dishes that are served in such a wonderful environment and conceptually, sound amazing, but yet are so poorly executed.
I recall being so captivated by head chef, Matt Stone's unique and revolutionary cooking and food presentation methods which were clever, exciting and unseen before on the Perth dining scene all those years ago. With a broad selection of fairly priced cafes around Perth that serve high quality and generous breakfast portions; it's easy to overlook Greenhouse in comparison now and dismissing it as being "just a pretty face". It's a disconcerting fall from grace for one of my original favourite brunch spots and after such a disappointing meal, it's likely that I'll be using the takeaway coffee window out of convenience now, rather than dining at Greenhouse again.
Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 7:00am till Late. Wednesday to Saturday from 7:00am to 12:00am .