Silo by Joost is a great café but also a revolution ignited by well known Melbourne identities, eco-advocate and artist Joost Bakker and hospitality legend Danny Colls. It’s an amazing hub of ideas and innovation and is changing the landscape of cafes in relation to sustainability. It is a café with no waste. That’s right. Seems impossible but Silo is making the dream a reality.
Silo by Joost is strong on hospitality and sustainability. After all this is the hospitality industry says Danny Colls. Silo is bringing hospitality back. Customers are embraced and engaged. The menu list is short but quality. Breakfast choices include eggs, yoghurt (also made on site), toast (with jam) and muesli.
Coming here on day 4 since opening there is a buzz and an excitement. We hear that Joost has given a keynote lecture in Copenhagen already. This is the first café in the world where a commercial business can operate without waste.
No bins. No waste. Amazing.
Silo by Joost is educating people about sustainability practices. Interesting for this blogger having worked in local government in an Environment department – to see a café taking the lead in this city.
Silo by Joost deals direct with farmers – so farmers pull up straight outside the café for delivery. Direct trade. No packaging. Silo uses large 20L stainless steel containers for the milk – no 2L plastic cartons. I understand this is also a first for a café in this country.
The mineral water also comes in eco-kegs from local sources. As Danny remarks, “Why do we need to always get mineral water from Italy?”
Resusable milk crates slide into fridges. Wine bottles are reused. An E-Water system of hospital grade cleans dishes – it salts and sanitises and kills bacteria on contact. No need for chemicals.
The material along the counter is cosset – a mix of recycled plastic with sawdust added. It’s funky and it’s sustainable.
The fit out is about recyclable materials. The use of space here is also revolutionary. I couldn’t work out where the dining area ended and the kitchen started – it merges with customers and staff embracing in one big communal festival. No concept of them and us.
Danny goes out the back to the Waste Dehydrator and brings me a sample of what can be produced. The rubbish from the day before is transformed into a concentrated pile of nutrients. There is no smell. I’m told this is 8 times more nutrient concentrate than normal fertiliser. Then its taken to be used as fertiliser in the field.
The coffee is great here but the taste is slightly different. This is unhomogenised milk. This is milk produced by Schulz (organic farm) that comes from cows that overlook the 12 Apostles (or what’s left of the 12 Apostles).
A Wega Greenline concept is a mother of a coffee machine. It powers up and powers down and is energy efficient. The Wega Concept has the ability to memorize the workload of the machine, thus adjusting the work and standby functions. It also makes a great coffee.
Coffee comes from 3 sources – Panama, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea – from smaller farms where there is no spray. And the coffee is served in Bendigo terracotta cups. And at the end of the day the coffee is excellent and full of flavour.
The bread here is unbelievable. A humble serving of toast turned out to get me high. The bread is made on site. The flour is from the Grampians and is ground on site. The oats here are also rolled on site (I was able to roll my own during my visit).
In a real coup, Silo by Joost has engaged notable chef Douglas McMaster who has worked in 9 of the world’s top 50 restaurants including Noma in Copenhagen.
Silo by Joost also has a few tables in Hardware Street which has a great ambience.
One can’t help but be inspired by this ground breaking cafe. This is the real deal. Danny and his wife enjoy sitting on the steps of the cafe on this iconic Melbourne street.
Silo by Joost, 123 Hardware St, Melbourne