The Glasshouse is Northcote's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new café found just a few minutes away from the Northcote SH1 exit.
The industrial space is heavily Scandinavian influenced — slick, beech wood populates the space in the form of chairs, tables and room dividers, the ratio of hanging plants to customers is high, and the selective teal tiles and black structural framing do nothing but enhance the soothing, crisp vibe. The massive sun roof — the café name's inspiration — makes sure that the space never feels dreary or cold.
Glasshouse's menu has an Asian-fusion slant with offers including pork bao, red curry fish cakes as well as the more garden-variety Kiwi café options such as the eggs benedict, avocado smash and a delicious looking house waffle served with Kapiti ice cream, pear au vin rouge, blueberries and chocolate.
I settled on the black sesame tofu ($17) served with broccolini, green beans, carrots, broad beans, cashew nuts and Vietnamese dressing, which ended up being a very oily bath for all the greens served with some pretty boring, non-committal squares of tofu on top. To be fair, tofu is an incredibly hard substance to nail, it can easily teeter into the bland, cardboard-like taste territory. The greens themselves were good quality but just suffocated by the heavy oiliness. What was missing from the plate was just a little bit of fine tuning, a little bit of restraint but also a little bit of bravery in terms of flavour.
The chocolate milk (cacao, dates, banana, yoghurt, almond milk and a shot of coffee) ($9) was a decent side beverage with a strong coffee hit. Other interesting drinks options include kombucha with ginger and honey, and the interesting-looking matcha, turmeric and beetroot lattes.
The fresh and beautifully done up Glasshouse has a lot of potential to be one of the North Shore's standout cafés, but some of its plates just need another few tweaks. It's still worth stopping in if you're in the area and hankering after an interesting latte or just a nice place to while away a few hours.