Page 39 - Yeovil Feast Magazine
P. 39

The Custom House
The Custom House is an 1813 landmark eatery on Poole Quay. The historic building makes up more than the sum of its parts; the ground  oor CH Bar is a great starting point for aperitifs (CH Bar has a robust menu of its own, based on a more informal dining experience) and upstairs is accessed via either the outside double staircase or inside stairs to the  rst  oor Dining Room, which serves some of the best, most honest dishes on this stretch of coast. Finally, to the second  oor and a unique function room for larger parties and celebrations.
Feast dined on the  rst  oor in the Dining Room, an impressive area that in days gone by used to be the Long Room where public business was conducted. Today, business is strictly of a culinary nature and after being seated at a perfectly linen-dressed window table looking out over the quay, we are welcomed and taken through the menu and we are delighted to see a hat-trick of Custom House signature dishes: moules mariniere, 28-day aged sirloin steak, and lamb, (today a glazed loin and faggot). Service is always charming at the Custom House, something that is no surprise as owner Mark He er is infectiously engaging and inevitably makes an appearance during the evening for a chat, as he has done over the past 20 years that he has owned the restaurant.
A bottle of Lo Lo, Albarino, Rias Baixas at a tad over £22 is both good value and a perfect accompaniment to the classic moules mariniere and pan-seared scallops. A generous breadboard with dips and oils backs up both starters.
The atmosphere is pleasing in the Dining Room – high ceilings, space between tables and a separate area called ‘the Orange Room’, which is ideal for those looking for a slightly
larger table of between 12 and 16 covers, with some privacy.
There’s an intuitive pause between courses, which allows for more fun, wine and on some evenings celebratory  reworks too!
The very location of the Custom House of course gives clues to the quality of the fresh  sh on the menu and there is always a choice, hake, brill, salmon, lemon sole and turbot, which keeps the menu changing, and as regulars that is a huge asset.
The sirloin steak is, as they describe, ‘a crowning jewel’. At £19 it is again good value, is cooked to perfection, melts in the mouth, and tastes quite exceptional alongside a glass or two of peppery and plummy San Felipe, Malbec. Garnishes are generous as are the side orders (if you are really hungry) and the  llet of brill with crushed new potatoes is lavish and full of quayside  avour and life.
There are usually  ve or so desserts to choose from, the cheese board is memorable in variety and after the zingy, fresh, attractive and cleverly deconstructed lemon ‘pie’ and raspberry sorbet, and the bitter chocolate ganache, both beautifully presented, the evening comes to a close, no  rework display this time – but it sets o  a spark of an idea for our next outing...
01202 676767
Poole Quay, Dorset, BH15 1HP. 39

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