The gastronomic hub inside Joburg's award-winning Mad Giant brewery, Urbanologi, has taken a bold step in its voyage to ecosystem sustainability and its strategy for sourcing fresh ingredients. Project 150 is Urbanologi's new culinary mantra that sees all ingredients, except spices, sourced within 150km of the restaurant.
Project 150 was inspired by the desire to contribute to conscious living and sustainable practices around food, and to pursue culinary excellence. Unfortunately, most of the food we consume daily or are served is unsustainable. Urbanologi Chef, Jack Coetzee, says unsustainability has also been a result of the "commercialisation of food", which encourages food to be prepared quickly and cheaply, and as a result the quality of the nutrition is poor.
To solve this problem, Urbanologi suggests that we need to embrace our local produce that makes our corner of the globe interesting. The reason Urbanologi settled on a 150km radius around the restaurant is that the area is close enough for people to relate to and helps get the message across, yet far enough to get a wide range of produce year-round to keep their menu interesting.
Their new menu consists of six categories that align with the slow food idea to build relationships with suppliers:
The menu also includes the distance in kilometres that the food and produce travelled to get to the table, putting a pin on a map of where the produce comes from. It's impact on the menu is wide-ranging. Diners can expect dishes focused on utilising nose-to-tail and root-to-tip.
They're also in pursuit of being zero waste. As an example, they take spent lemon halves left over from squeezing juice and turn them into sumac, which forms a base spice for a wide range of Lebanese spice blends.
The eatery has increased its focus on exceptional produce, with the advantage of sourcing fresh from the "farmer, breeder and vegetable whisperers" on its doorstep. Many might think the choice of ingredients will be limited. To show how diverse and rich the produce around Johannesburg is, Urbanologi is doing a social media campaign, posting a new, locally-sourced ingredient every day for 150 days.
For more information on Urbanologi, visit www.urbanologi.co.za.
You can also contact them on [email protected] or call 011 492 1399.
Urbanologi is open Mondays to Saturdays for lunch and dinner, and lunch only on Sundays.