A suburban eatery with the zest for longevity.
The average life of a restaurant in Australia is estimated to be just 18 months but, of course, some just keep on going. Food, too, comes and goes in fashion but many foods, like denim jeans, survive for generations. Restaurants change their menus regularly to maintain variety and to keep up with contemporary changes…and guests come in and see that there are new things on the menu, but then they order what they always ordered!! We are creatures of habit and we like things to stay the same. Some products, often referred to as “signature” products have to stay!
Citron, in Wilston, is a restaurant that has survived for a long while and has several signature dishes. The owners, Robert and Mark, have worked together for more than 14 years. Robert comes from California, Mark from England – but together they produce some of the best Asian-inspired cuisine in Brisbane.
We started with the mixed entrée tasting plate ($9) which includes one of all of the entrées – “ma hor” (prawn, pork and peanut balls on pineapple), crispy fish and the fabulous betel leaves with sandcrab, coconut, chilli and coriander. The flavours are vibrant, distinct and evoke memories of Asian street food at its best.
Mains include a signature tea-smoked ocean trout, gently cooked in a smoky wok to order and served with pork crackle, finger limes and a sweet sauce ($36). A Thai-style dry red curry ($32), a Chinese-style twice cooked crispy chicken ($32) and an aromatic duck curry with kipfler potatoes ($36) are just a few of the sumptuous dishes that can be eaten as a single main or shared with rice and wombok salad.
Don’t expect sweet and sour pork or a tikka masala – the food is inventive, authentic and simply delicious. Mark has shown that East can mix with West successfully with a stunning range of dishes inspired by Asia. The menu changes regularly and includes some spectacular desserts (mostly $14). The deep-fried chocolate chilli spring rolls served with cherry ice cream were sublime – a modern take on a cherry ripe. Although the more traditional caramelised coconut rice pudding, or the peanut butter and jam sandwich were tempting – yum!
There is an excellent wine list to choose from and the service, run by Robert, is professional, attentive and friendly. Restaurants – and food – may go in and out of fashion but some places survive simply because they are good. Citron is good.