Opened in August 2018, Patina is located on the river level of the Customs House in what was once part of the Queen’s warehouse. Customs House, one of Brisbane’s heritage icons, is located on the river in the CBD. The beautifully restored building is operated by The University of Queensland as a cultural, educational and heritage facility.
Meet the Chef
At the helm of Patina is Executive Chef, John Offenhauser, previously Chef de Cuisine and Sous Chef at Marco Polo at the Treasury Hotel.
Chef John Offenhauser’s menu is classic contemporary Australian, suited to the venue and showcasing the best of Queensland’s local produce. The menu may be relatively small, but there’s something for everyone
Mushroom Tarte Tatin | Onion Caramel | Soft Herbs | Crème Fraiche
Oyster mushrooms from the cellar baked into a tarte tatin (a bit like moussaka) and served with caramelised onion and a heavy cream. Too many elements and too complex for my liking because it totally covered the woody nature of mushrooms, which is supposed to be the highlight of this course.
Roasted Cauliflower | Black Garlic | Za’atar | Pomegranate
I think this was the best of the four starters we ordered. The cauliflower has been browned and spiced with a thyme-oregano-hyssop spice mix (called Za’atar) that is often used in Middle Eastern cooking and sprinkled with toasted sesame and salt . I have a bottle of Za’atar at home bought from my last trip to Tel Aviv, now I know what I can do with it.
Octopus | House XO | Pickled Broccoli
The octopus has been properly tenderised and flavoured with an in-house liqueur sauce. The fried shallot was a good touch, but it was still the lightly burnt tentacles of the octopus that made the dish superb.
Heirloom Tomatoes | Stracciatella | Olive | Lemon Balm | Basil
This soft, fresh cheese may be best known as the delicious center of burrata. Stracciatella means “rag,” from the Italian word “strattore” (to stretch), and describes the action to make the cheese as well as the way it looks. The super combination of soft milk cheese with tomatoes and basil forms the classic Insalata Caprese. Two types of tomatoes were used – the sweet and juicy plum tomatoes, and the beefy Brandywine. Heirlooms have a more intense flavour that made a huge difference in this salad.
The Custom House grows its own mushrooms in its cellar, where the thick sandstone walls provided an ideally stable, dark and humid environment for mushrooms to flourish. The mushrooms were handpicked daily for the kitchen.
Barramundi | Smoked Belly | Onions | Brussels Sprouts | Oyster Mushrooms
When I told my lunch mates that barramundi is just a fancy name for sea bass, they could not believe it. Nevertheless, the sea bass was a bit too overdone for my liking. The fish skin was nicely crisped but the fish meat was a bit too dry. It could do with a sauce because the side dish of toasted vegetables and tubers was also dry.
Braised Beef Cheeks | Desiree Mash | Grilled Oyster Mushrooms | Reggiano | Jus
Pear Crumble | Caramel Cream | Spiced Syrup | Candied Walnuts
It looked delicious, but I had none of it. I trusted that my lunch mate thoroughly enjoyed it as he scoped up every last bit.
Malt Custard Brûlée | Blueberry Compote | Almond Biscotti
It tasted like Horlicks creme brûlée. Very rich, I could finish it all. Not because it was no good, just watching my sugar intake.
I wished the espresso came with dark chocolate. Instead it came with a flavoured on that interrupted with the taste of the coffee.
Patina provides inside dining in heritage surroundings as well as outside dining overlooking the river and the Story Bridge. The name Patina is a reference to the iconic copper dome on top of Customs House; it’s the name given to that distinct green colour that occurs through oxidisation.
The glorious Customs House has proudly stood overlooking the Brisbane River since it was built in the late 1880s, and is today a city icon in its own right. Behind those grand Corinthian columns are a number of private dining spaces, all catered for by Patina.
This is a quiet, elegant restaurant. The service is relaxed but attentive and knowledgeable. There is a comprehensive wine list, including some from Queensland, as well as many by the glass. Would consider for my next corporate event in Brisbane.
Patina At Customs House
399 Queen Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
Tel : 07 3365 8921
Date Visited : May 2019