Customs House Bar may be well-known as a watering hole for suits around the Quay, but their lesser known food menu is surprisingly solid for a bar and features some generously sized share plates.
We started off with their Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast from their sharing menu which were lightly crumbed and fried to perfection, pairing well with the addictive Customs House relish it was served with. I’m not usually a fan of chicken breast because its generally dry, but I had no complaints at all here – they managed to keep the chicken juicy even with the frying.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken, $20 (3 pieces)
My favourite dish of the night was actually their Pork Neck Croquette Bites which were misleadingly named – they were much larger than your average bar “bites” with a crumbed exterior and a flavoursome, soft pork neck filling inside that kept us coming back for more, especially with their tasty chipotle aioli.
Pork Neck Croquette Bites, $15
The only dish we had from their mains menu was the Slow Braised Beef Short Rib which came served in a sticky sauce, with the tender meat falling right off the bone. This was the boy’s favourite dish of the meal – carnivores will be very satisfied.
Slow Braised Beef Short Rib, $22
We also sampled their Customs Charcuterie board which was a generous serving of all sorts of cured meats – ranging from their mini chorizo, slivers of prosciutto di parma and some chewy South African boerewor sausage. I wasn’t a huge fan of the boerewor and needed to cut through the meatiness of that sausage with some of their house made pickles. The selection on the charcuterie board would make a great grazing plate for a group over a couple of rounds of drinks, but was just too much meat for the two of us as part of our dinner.
Customs Charcuterie, $25
Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying a couple of their cocktails – the Cafe Sombrero was their strong take on an espresso martini and really packed a caffeine punch, while their Orange Spiced Old Fashioned was a heady blend of bourbon with some aromatic bitters cut through with zesty citrus notes.
Cafe Sombrero, $15 and Orange Spiced Old Fashioned, $20
Despite being located down on the tourist end of the CBD and being part of the Marriott Hotel, Customs House Bar delivers some good value dishes that punch well above their billing as share plates on a bar menu. If you can manage to grab yourself a table for a sit-down dinner, you may be pleasantly surprised that their food offering is as good as any proper mid-range restaurant in the city.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Customs House Bar