After countless takeaway meals on the couch during lockdown, it feels luxurious to eat in a booth, under the muted glow of art deco hanging lights, with chatter and music humming in the background – even if you are eating a pizza you could’ve had delivered to your house.
Dining in is encouraged at Green Acre, Brunswick’s new vegan-friendly pizza bar by Phil Gijsbers (who’s also behind Small Print Pizza in Windsor) and Rob McKenzie – not just because it’s fun, but because it’s environmentally friendly.
“We were meant to open the week of the shutdown,” Gijsbers says. But because of restrictions on dine-in customers, the opening was delayed from April 1 to June 1 (and then again during lockdown 2.0).
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Green Acre shares an owner, a sustainable ethos and a pizza focus with its Windsor sibling, but it has its own feel and menu (roughly 80 per cent of which can be made vegan).
“There are three things you can do for the environment that are the greatest,” says Gijsbers. “Don’t fly, don’t have kids and don’t eat meat.”
That’s not to say there’s no meat on the menu – all the classics are there, including ham and pineapple, and pepperoni – but there are plant-based alternatives and pizzas that champion veggies. The Grass Is Greener, for example, is topped with roast zucchini, smashed peas, spinach, chilli and vegan mozzarella and feta.
Other standouts include the Pumpkin (with vegan feta, caramelised onions, sage and pistachio) and the Eggplant (with cherry tomatoes and chilli jam).
Green Acre’s ethos is reflected in its fit-out, too. The space, which was formerly a cafe, has been decked out with mostly recycled and upcycled fixtures, from the lighting to the stereo system. The walls are forest green, and there’s a marble bar that’s well-stocked with local wines (Jamsheed included), craft beer and what McKenzie calls “a cheeky little selection of Australian rums”. Currently, it’s open till 9pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends, but there’s a 1am licence for when restrictions ease further.
The beer selection will rotate, but currently includes brews from Burnley Brewing (which is also run by Gijsbers and Small Print co-owner Neil Mills) as well as nearby breweries Inner North Brewing Co, The Foreigner Brewing Company and CoConspirators Brewing Co.
For those not yet ready to eat out, the team will hand-deliver pizzas (in recycled-cardboard boxes lined with “sacrificial” squares of paper so they can be recycled again) to the inner north and eventually to bars in the area.
They’ve even restored an old Malvern Star pushbike to do it.
Green Acre Pizza
328 Victoria Street, Brunswick
(03) 9381 5763
Sun to Thu 4pm– 9pm
Fri & Sat 4pm–11pm
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on June 10, 2020. Menu items may have changed since publication.