Category Archives: Seafood

Customs House Restaurant and Wine Bar

If I could review this restaurant in one word it would be ‘wow’.

I had dinner at Customs House recently and loved everything about the evening. This restaurant has a menu that has been well-thought through, friendly and well-trained staff and amazing drinks. I recommend flicking to the back of the menu for a look at the cocktail list; there’s definitely something for everybody, including a list of ‘innocents’ or mocktails.

Our table ordered several entrees, mains and desserts and every meal that came to our table was well presented and really tasty. The tasting plate of the sea had four components to it that were all very different but made sense and worked well together. The pork belly with large seared scallops also went down a treat, with both cooked to perfection. Entrees served here are a great size – not too big and not too small, but just right.

Vegetarian and gluten free options are clearly marked on the menu. There were a large number of gluten free options, but only a risotto for the vegetarians on the main menu. There did appear to be some vegetarian options for sides though, such as roasted kipfler potatoes with garlic and green beans with feta. Items ‘from the grill’ come with your choice of sauce and two sides (from a selection of four). I’m told the sides were tasty and the meat was cooked well.

I enjoyed the harpuka fillet with pickled fennel and orange salad. I had been thinking about something sweet all night, so finished my evening off with dessert. I was very tempted by the souffle that came out to the table next to us, but ended up ordering chocolate fondant served with icecream and peanut praline. Good choice, but the souffle will be devoured next visit.

The Customs House Restaurant has another menu advertised on their website for all day dining. We ordered from the restaurant dining menu. I’m not sure if the all day dining menu is for lunch only or if it can be ordered from during dinner service in a different part of the restaurant. Maybe someone else who has been to this restaurant can comment?

Great food, great service and great drinks!

Details:

Customs House Restaurant and Wine Bar

57-59 Brougham St, Geelong (Restaurant faces the waterfront. Enter from waterfront side of Customs House.)

Open: 7 days
Monday – Friday 9am – midnight
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 8am – midnight

Customs House Restaurant & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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Waterfront Seafood

After walking past Waterfront Seafood earlier in the week I decided I had to revisit the waterfront to see what this place was like. Described by one journalist as ‘casual’, this eatery is has managed to go casual while still providing quality food at a reasonable price.

The menu is divided into sections depending on the style of meal you’re after. Seafood options include Tasmanian salmon served on salad nicoise, cured kingfish and pickled octopus served with a watermelon salad, mussels steamed in chilli and tomato and served with fries, seafood stew in a tomato based broth with vongole clams, mussels, fish and vegetables. There are a number of non-seafood mains for those who wish to go in another direction with options such as slow braised lamb shoulder ragout, corned silverside served with steamed potatoes and a creamy sauce, rib eye steak served with fries and greens and spatchcock with creamy mashed potato and asparagus. This is definitely only a small sample of the menu, but if you’re left wanting to find out more then head down to the restaurant and check out the menu on display in the window.

There is one vegetarian main – house rolled spaghetti tossed in pesto sauce, roasted pumpkin and caramalised onion. There are a couple of vegetarian entree options but they don’t go much further than offering a few different types of bread and fries served with aioli and tomato sauce.

After much deliberation we decided on the fish stew and fisherman’s basket which almost scared me off due to the amount of fried food. The basket comes with fries, a small fillet of battered barrumundi, battered tiger prawns, crumbed scallops, salt and pepper calamari and some salad and a couple of sauces on the side. The kitchen had no problems with me choosing to get the prawns grilled, rather than battered when ordering. This dish cost $28, but you can also get a seafood platter for two for $95 that comes with a few more things, such as steamed mussels, but we’re really testing my memory now.

The food was tasty, the fish stew is something that I’d really enjoy on a cold day. It was full of flavour, looked great and didn’t skip on the seafood. The fisherman’s basket went down a treat, and as a whole was presented nicely with a small bowl of salad and dipping sauce on the side, but the dish is dwarfed by the huge basket it’s served in.

I realised just today that I rarely mention dessert, so now’s the time for me to mix things up a little by mentioning all the options for dessert! The classic sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and double cream is offered, as is pavlova. You’ll need to check with your waiter for the day’s pavlova topping. French crepes with icecream are offered, as is a muscat creme brulee with candied pears. We shared a chocolate and cardamom panna cotta with chocolate honeycomb icecream. The icecream was delicious, with plenty of sweet honeycomb, but the panna cotta was very solid, a bit grainy and didn’t have the wobble that a pannacotta should have.

I’d go back to Waterfront Seafood, the food was okay for the price and the service wasn’t too bad. In terms of service, our waitress was very attentive, the only complaint I have is that we had to wait too long for the bill. There was someone who looked like a supervisor standing around most of the night with nothing to do, which I don’t think is a good look for a restaurant. Find something to do! Where we were seated the tables were so close together that you could hear other people’s conversations clearly and the only reason I’m mentioning it is because I realise this may bother some people.

I know it might look like I just had a huge whinge, but they were only small things that made up our evening. The food is good, the service is good and you have great views if you can see outside from where you’re sitting.

Details:

Waterfront Seafood

Shop 3, 6 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong

Open: Monday-Sunday lunch and dinner.

Haruka Japanese Restaurant

I had driven past Haruka a few times, but had never heard anything about it or seen any advertising. After trying all the other Japanese restaurants in Geelong (Hi Sushi, Fujisan and Sushi 8 ) I was still on the look out for authentic Japanese food from a wide range of regions.

The menu at Haruka is huge… this place seriously gives some of the Melbourne Japanese restaurants a run for their money. There is definitely something for everyone. I’ve spoken to various people about Japanese food in the past, and lots of people tend to think it’s sushi, sushi and more sushi. It’s definitely not the case at this restaurant, although they do have some nice looking (and tasting) sushi on their menu. Something I haven’t seen much of in Australia before is the slightly seared sushi. Below is the ‘half broiled’ (as they describe it) kingfish, but there are also a couple of other options in this type of sushi. It was extremely soft and not chewy at all. I’ll be going back to try out more of their sushi.

Half broiled kingfish sushi

Haruka also has other Japanese staples like edamame, agedashi tofu  and seaweed salad, all of which were on par with others I’ve had in Geelong. There is also ramen, soba, tonkatsu, sukiyaki, and many other dishes you wouldn’t normally find on the menu of Japanese restaurants in Geelong. I only really thought two things were missing… tako yaki and okonomiyaki. Two things I tend to eat a lot of when I’m in Japan.

The dish below is an eel dish, with some rice underneath. It was very tasty, and not muddy at all. It had a good texture and wasn’t boney like some eel I’ve had before.

Eel dish

The dish below is similar to a hotpot. This one is salmon and scallop, with mixed vegetables.  It comes really well presented, with a flame underneath to keep the food warm.

Salmon and scallop dish

We also ordered chicken karaage, which was really tender and sweet and was a big hit at our table; baby octopus in a lovely red sauce with plenty of sesame seeds and a Japanese style frittata with eel and burdock root. I can’t remember the exact name for the frittata, but it came to our table sizzling in the pan it was cooked in. The burdock root was a first for me – earthy and firm, but not unpleasant.

You can BYO, but there is also a small selection of Japanese beers (Kirin, Sapporo and Yebisu) and sake. They also have some non-alcoholic Japanese drinks, in addition to the usual Coke, etc.

The dishes seemed fairly well priced, and I felt the sushi was reasonably priced, considering the high quality. The only slight issue any of us had was that the waitress wasn’t very attentive. It took quite a while to get her attention any time we needed anything. I really hope the people of Geelong support this restaurant, as it’s definitely at the top of my list for great restaurants in Geelong. I’m sure I’ll be back soon!

Details:

Haruka Japanese Restaurant

168 Ryrie St, Geelong
(Close to Moorabool St)

Open: Monday Closed
Tuesday-Saturday 11am-10pm
Sunday 11.30am-10pm
Closed everyday between 3pm-5pm

Haruka Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Newtown Farmers’ Market

I am taking the time to mention the Newtown Farmers’ Market that operates every 4th Saturday of the month – rain, hail or shine!

It’s a great opportunity to buy fresh produce straight from the farmer/producer. Products range from fresh fruit and vegetables to cheeses, breads, cakes, wines and more! I’ve been a few times, and while some of the stalls remained the same, I noticed some that weren’t there previously.

The market is great for those looking to support the ‘small guys’. Bring your calico bag down and join in on the old-fashioned way of shopping.

Details:

Newtown Farmers’ Market

Corner Shannon Ave and West Fyans St, Newtown.
(Head down the hill)

4th Saturday of the Month. 8am-1pm.

Note: You may want to double-check that the market is on over the Easter weekend. Market website and contact details are here.

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The Mussel Boat

I’d first heard about The Mussel Boat a few months ago and had been wanting to check it out ever since. At first I was worried it might just be a summer thing, but it appears this little boat is docked in Geelong all year round.  You buy your food from the boat, which is moored behind Fisherman’s Pier, beside La Parisien/The Wharfshed and close to the heli-pad. Just look for the signs.

Mussel Boat sign

Fresh mussel prices and opening times

The Mussel Boat sells fresh mussels for a reasonable price. However, don’t seem to offer any discounted prices for buying in bulk.

Menu

The menu offers a decent variety, considering all the food is cooked on the boat that you make your purchases from. After ordering there was a bit of a wait, not because it was busy, but because everything seemed to be cooked fresh. I didn’t mind though, and decided to go fish spotting from the pier. Although, it would have been nice to have been informed of the rough wait time after ordering.

Today I decided to go for a cup of chips and a serve of the mussels in red wine, tomato and chilli. As you can see from the picture, there also appears to be some onion and parsley thrown in.

Mussels in red wine, tomato and chilli

Excuse the empty shells – I accidentally started eating before taking a picture! I’ve had mussels cooked many ways before, but never with red wine. The mussels were cooked well and the sauce was very tasty, with just the right amount of chilli. The chips that I ordered were fine, but not the best chips I’ve ever eaten. Possibly frozen chips? They came seasoned with salt. I ended up pouring the leftover sauce from the mussels over the chips.

There is an undercover area with some tables and chairs provided – made out of old mussel crates.

Seating

Overall, the food was tasty, however, I’d be raving about this place more if the chips were of a higher quality and the food was a little cheaper. But, I’ll definitely be back to try out the Paella and enjoy the view.

Details:
The Mussel Boat

Geelong Waterfront

Open 7 days a week.
Sunday – Thursday 10.30am-5.30pm
Friday – Saturday 10am – late

(Note: I have put in the address as 1 Yarra St, Geelong. The Mussel Boat is actually located right on the waterfront).