A NEW bistro restaurant has opened at Poole Quay’s historic Custom House – just over a year after the previous restaurant closed.

Called Custom House Café, the new eatery contains three rooms – The Quayside, The Snug, and The Paradise Room – which provide seating for up to 50 people. There is also outdoor seating.

Owner Fabrizio Cerreta Mandriano, who comes from a family of Milanese restauranteurs, says the restaurant’s weekly menu will offer customers dishes inspired from different parts of the world, “all made from scratch on the premises”.

Leading the restaurant team is head chef Nick Ryan, who has worked at several fine-dining restaurants including Auberge du Lac at Brocket Hall and Wentworth Golf Club.

To complement the food, Custom House Cafe has a wide choice of drinks including a selection of draught and bottled craft beers, wines, fine spirits, cocktails and, to accompany its homemade cakes, a single origin coffee from Sumatra - part of a project to protect endangered orangutans.

Fabrizio said: “My father Angelo arrived in Milan in 1964 and opened a bakery and several restaurants which are still popular today – hospitality is in my blood.

“It’s with great excitement that I am opening my first restaurant in the stunning and historic location of Poole Quay. I look forward to serving up some incredible, handmade fare to customers and being part of the thriving business community.”

Plans to convert the upper two floors of the Grade II listed Custom House into offices and two flats are awaiting permission from the Poole council.

As reported previously in the Daily Echo, the work would be mainly internal, with only a few, minor external alternations including the installation of two CCTV cameras, which would be painted to match the brickwork.

The first floor office would be open plan, while the one-bedroom flats would feature open-plan kitchens, dining rooms and living room areas.

The previous restaurant owner of Custom House, Mark Heffer, closed the premises in February 2017, after 21 years of trading, to concentrate on other business interests.