When you think of Customs House it’s perhaps as a wedding or function venue. But a brand new refurbishment hopes to challenge those perceptions. The Customs House restaurant closed on the weekend and will be replaced by Patina, a modern paddock-to-plate-driven eatery scheduled to open in the space on August 23.
“A lot of people think of Customs House as a functions [place] even though we’ve had a restaurant,” says the venue’s executive chef, John Offenhauser. “[We want] to make [the restaurant] its own entity.”
The old restaurant space is getting a makeover involving a $40,000 light installation and a moody black, gold and copper colour scheme. The refurbishment will also further capitalise on Customs House’s views over the river so the restaurant can compete with neighbouring eateries along Eagle Street.
“There’s a lot of competition out there, like there’s always been in hospitality,” Offenhauser says. “[The refurbishment] is about brightening the place up and keeping in touch with current trends.”
Offenhauser says the menu will become more share-friendly. Dishes include pan-fried gnocchi with roasted pine nuts, smoked raisins, kale and ricotta, and a one-kilogram OP rib from the Darling Downs served with chimichurri sauce.
The name will immediately make sense to anyone who knows Customs House’s copper dome and the green patina it’s accumulated over the years.
Patina will open in Customs House Thursday August 23.