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Sustainability hero Joost Bakker has turned Silo into a broth shop

So a prostitute shows up at a pensioner's door – a surprise bought by the old man's son for his birthday. "I'm here to give you suuuper sex," she purrs. And the old man says: "I'll take the soup, thanks."

Such confusion may reign now that Joost Bakker has turned Silo – his sustainability café– into a broth shop with a sexy name. The title is actually a play on a quote from nutritionist Weston A Price who called for "a brothal (sic) in every town", due to the health wins of boiled bones.

Brothl is just as green as its forebear – the baskets of fresh produce still line the shelves, and chef Ryan Busser is still kneading malty bread from fresh milled grain. Only now, he’s also working four steaming vats of beef, chicken, vegetable or fish bone broth, all made using the excess bones from restaurants like Attica and Rockpool, who still have surplus after they've made their own stocks. Bakker saw them on his rounds as the restaurants' florist, and in the ultimate 'are you going to finish that?' deal, snagged them for slow cooked broths, which you can now eat in or take away in jars – use theirs for $3 or BYO.

It does actually work a bit like a knock shop, we suppose, in that you start with your straight base for $10 then choose add-ons (thick cut bacon, foraged sea kelp and mussels) for extra.

The beef broth has a rich depth and mellow marrow fattiness, owed to the 24-hour boil rather than to salt, which usually does the flavour amping legwork in quick-cooked stocks. We get ours with bright ruffles of kale and fennel fronds, fresh Swiss mushrooms and iron-rich slips of poached ox heart. The chicken soup gets is gelatinous texture from chicken feet – which you also get as an add-on if you’re a sucker for soft cartilage. Or add miso, Busser's thick buckwheat noodles and Brussels sprout leaves for a robust not-Ramen that could raise the dead – or the deathly hungover.

Need solids? You can still get a mixed grain salad, herb-stuffed falafal pucks, and that dense bread, served with a pale yellow notch of freshly paddled butter. You can also drink your antioxidants in fizzy fermented kombucha tea form. Chalk it up as a double win for the land, and your liver.

Updated on 31 Mar 2015.

By Gemima Cody   |   Photos by Graham Denholm

Brothl details

123 Hardware St, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 03 9600 0588

Nearby Stations: Melbourne Central; Flagstaff; Flinders Street

This venue is closed

Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm

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