Bianca: With the warmer weather ramping up, there is nothing better than catching up with friends and family with a bevvy and some good food. Pubs and bars nowadays are no longer relegated to the old fish n chips, parmies and greasy snack foods. ‘Customs House Bar’ is situated just off the leafy Macquarie Place Park and offers a generous covered beer garden, perfect for dwindling the long summer hours away.
Alex and I arrived for lunch at 1:30pm on a Friday, filled out with a mixture of folks in business attire, tourists and the general throng starting their weekend early, not that we could talk of course. Chatting with bar manager Mirza we started our lunch with a few beverages, wanting to check out a few of their extensive beers served (exclusive to Customs House) we opted for a ‘tasting’, with Mirza bringing out three of their popular beers. The first was the ‘Founders – Dark Ale’ which we found a little too strong, it was quite a thick beer and left a lasting bitter note at the end. Next was a ‘Weihenstephaner’ a German brew and a favourite out of the three, it was the sweetest and the smoothest to drink. The last of the trio was the ‘Beez Kneez’ by Australian brewer ‘Matilda Bay’, we detected some light honey notes but similarly to the Founders it left a bit of a bitter note which we weren’t so keen on. Being on a cider kick, we shared the ‘Koppaberg Strawberry & Lime Cider’ which REALLY hits the spot on a hot day, between us, we were drinking that like water.
Moving away from the alcohol, Mirza suggested a sort of ‘grazing’ menu, whereby we could try a few dishes in smaller incarnations. First up were the ‘Braised Galangal Beef Short Ribs’ – slow cooked, seasonal market salad, pine nut salt’ $21 (For the full size). If every place was to be known for one dish and one dish only, Customs House Bar would want it to be this one. I would recommend it to everyone that goes. The meat was so tender it yielded at the slightest touch, the galangal itself was not strong or overpowering. I’d go back for those short ribs alone, no joke.
We then sampled the ‘Cajun Quail Skewers’ – w/ shaved cucumber & radish. $19. I would never think to put quail on a skewer, no idea why because it really does work, very well in this case. I had my first bite without the cucumber and I wasn’t blown away but then I tried it with the cucumber and for some reason that made all the difference. It almost tasted completely different.
Executive Chef Hemant Dadlani came out to check on us and we couldn’t help but gush about the short ribs, his favourite dish as well. We then tried the ‘Warm Heirloom Tomato & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad’ – w/ baby greens and preserved lemon dressing. $17. I really enjoyed the salad and I’m not the greatest tomato lover, it was nice to see a range of tomato’s used, with varying colours. It surely made for a pretty picture. Alex wasn’t as taken with the salad as I was, there really is nothing better than creamy buffalo mozzarella and I also enjoyed the acidic hit of the dressing.
Lastly, I just couldn’t help myself… we shared the ‘Tajima Wagyu Burger’ – Brioche Bun, Swiss Cheese, Heirloom tomato salad. $20 and ‘Parmesan Fries’ with Truffle Mayonnaise. $9. Everything was delicious up until this point sadly, yes – I’m super picky and judgemental with my burgers, I didn’t enjoy this one at all I’m afraid. Alex didn’t mind it but on the whole it wasn’t to my taste, with the main downfall being the patty, it needs work. The chips on the other hand, bang on, some of the best parmesan fries I’ve ever had. Really great with the mayo.
To finish up our lovely laid back lunch we shared the ‘Raspberry Collins’ $17. Warning for the wise, this was strong, so in that respect great value for money, we were buzzing after a few sips.
All in all a really enjoyable meal at Customs House Bar, I’d be running not walking for those short ribs.
Photos by Alex
*For Foods Sake were invited to dine at Customs House Bar onbehalf of 6DC Lifestyle PR, all opinions however are our own and independent. A big thank you to Natasha for organising our visit and to Mirza for looking after us.