I'm a freelance writer who lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. I enjoy finding new things to see and do in the beautiful area that I live in.
Published July 27th 2014
If you often flick through architectural magazines, you may have noticed a particular trend made popular over the last few years- spaces originally made for one reason then converted for use as another. Examples include old churches and barns which have been repurposed for use as functional recording studios, and old industrial warehouses which have been made into open-plan living spaces. While the concept is not new, it has meant that a lot of older or more historic buildings (which may have become derelict over time) have gotten a new lease of life.
In Geelong, there are a few old places that could really benefit from this refurbishment plan. One that has is the old Customs House, located on Brougham Street. While the top levels of the building are otherwise occupied, the basement level of the building, which faces the beautiful Geelong waterfront, has been refurbished into a classy and elegant establishment (fittingly called Customs House Restaurant & Wine Bar). Set back from the water and Eastern Beach Road by a large expanse of grass and a long barcode-decorated water stream, the bluestone brick building (which was constructed in the 1850s) has become a popular place for locals and visitors who want to enjoy fabulous food and drink while in a historically-based and picturesque setting.
The restaurant, which is made up of several rooms of varying sizes, is decorated in an overall elegant manner, with bold colours such as maroon and mustard offsetting the natural stone colours of the main dining room. The heavy maroon drapes, matching lamps, soft lighting and jazzy instrumental music add to the sophistication, while the extensive bar area heralds the restaurant as a classy establishment that could cater for either an intimate dinner or a social gathering.
From the lunch menu: Herb & Garlic Bread. Lasagna with salad and chips
Customs House prides itself on its extensive wines list, boasting an impressive selection of local and imported wines. While some of them are available by the glass, most of the wines can only be purchased by the bottle-with prices starting from $38 and reaching up to $980, you'll want to make sure you select your vintage carefully. There are also beers, spirits, cocktails, soft drinks, coffees and teas on the beverages menu, which means that you should be able to find something refreshing to go with your meal.
From the lunch menu: Beer battered flathead (as replacement for gummy shark which was unavailable) with chips and salad.Golden spiced calamari.
The lunch menu (which also caters for vegetarians and those with gluten intolerance) offers a variety of different options, whether you want to eat something light or slightly more substantial. Among the selections on offer are various seafood dishes (including calamari, mussels, salmon and gummy shark), salads (mixed and Asian prawn), lasagna, and a selection of different sandwiches. There is also a sweets menu for those who would prefer to treat their sugar-loving tastebuds.
From the lunch menu: Open eye fillet medallion steak sandwich with chips. Asian prawn salad.
If you appreciate heritage buildings, like to visit classy establishments and enjoy a good drop of wine and a tasty meal, Customs House Restaurant & Wine Bar on Geelong's waterfront is just the place for you. The building is lovely, the staff are attentive and the view is sublime, which pushes this restaurant a step above many others of a similar calibre.