The campaigning restaurant guide for people who want to eat fish – sustainably

In Partnership with Marine Conservation Society

The Custom House

The Old Custom House, Penarth Marina, Penarth, CF64 1TT

02920 705544

Fish2fork Rating
1.5 Red Fish

Last rated: 22/09/2011

What we say

There is a distinct lack of information about the sourcing policies of the two restaurants operating in the Custom House. Simply naming dishes '˜Fish soup' rather than identifying the species is hardly enough for the diner to decide how sustainable it is. There are question marks over the cod served by the restaurant. It is regarded by the Marine Conservation Society as a fish to avoid if caught in waters such as the Western Channel or off the south of Ireland because of depleted stock levels yet if from Icelandic waters the population is much healthier. There is less doubt about swordfish which, if caught in the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, South Atlantic or North West Pacific, is on the MCS fish to avoid list '“ that said, it is possible to get swordfish from healthier stocks but the restaurant does not indicate the origin. A complete absence of any indication, on the website at least, of an awareness of or conscious action supporting sustainable fish sourcing is largely responsible for the slip in the Custom House's Fish2fork rating from 1 red to 1.5 red fish.

What they say

The Custom house is situated in Penarth marina overlooking Cardiff Bay. It is a building with spectacular quality - steeped in history and oozing character. This regal building was the setting for port officials to go about their business for well over a century. This beautiful venue is the home of two quality restaurants. The downstairs restaurant El Puerto is renowned as possibly the best brasserie outside of London and La Marina the upstairs restaurant as one of the top fish restaurants, both offer a collection of fresh fish from local waters as well as further a field. Both restaurants also offer a fantastic display of local Welsh meat. The Custom House is a privately owned family run business with over 40 year's experience in the catering industries with previous restaurants, Champers La Monde and the Brasserie.

About The Custom House

The handsome Victorian Custom House, once home to the Cardiff port officials, now plays host to two family-owned and operated restaurants - El Puerto downstairs and La Marina upstairs. Both have a similar Spanish flavour in outlook and design. El Puerto has a Bodega feel with long bar and wooden floors while La Marina, with stunning views of the Bay, is more formal and sophisticated. Both restaurants are overseen by chef Trefor Jones and share similar menus featuring both fish and meat cooked in a Mediterranean style. There are only sample menus online but the restaurants promise fresh fish from local waters.  Set lunch is £9.95 and a set dinner is £17.95.  No stars on Google.