In the rush to try the latest new dining sensation, it's easy to overlook restaurants that have been around for a while like Citron at Brisbane's Wilston, and that would be a mistake.
Restaurants that have stood the test of time do so because they have a loyal band of regular diners who know exactly what to expect when they sit down and peruse the menu. They produce consistently good food and offer efficient service. While all this doesn't seem that hard to achieve to a customer, restaurateurs will tell you differently.
Citron's owners, Robert Foley and Mark Newman are a well honed team. Robert handles front of house and Mark works on the Asian-flavoured menu in the kitchen.
They call their food modern Asian and its a style that suits the climate and culture of Brisbane extremely well - light, but packed full of layers of flavour.
Other Asian restaurants to try -
I first dined here about six years ago and the betel leaves with sandcrab, shaved fresh coconut, chilli and coriander were a standout. I'm delighted they are still on the menu and I enjoyed them even more this time. David says they will never leave the menu.
It comes with two on the plate and you roll up the betel leaves sideways and pop the lot in your mouth. It's a little messy sometimes but that's part of the fun. The minced prawn, pork and peanuts on wedges of pineapple called mahor were a great contrast to the betel leaves and completed our starters selection. I sampled a similar version of mahor at Nahm in Bangkok but I like the Citron version better as the spice level is much milder.
I couldn't resist another Citron menu stalwart, their twice cooked crispy chicken with chilli caramel and thai herb salad (see top photo). It's another I was told will never leave the menu and it's obvious why this perfect combination of flavours is a long standing favourite.
K2 was equally pleased with with peanut crusted beef cheek, four flavour sauce and pickled vegetables.
The citrus tart that I enjoyed on my first Citron visit is unfortunately not still on the dessert menu so I was tempted by Vietnamese coffee jelly and granita, with condensed milk mousse, coffee bean crumble and four spice sugared doughnuts.
Another great combination of Asian-influenced flavours creating a light but satisfying finish to the meal.
Citron has the formula just right and although the menu is regularly refreshed, never fails to please.
Ed+bK rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars
Recommended for: Those who enjoy Asian flavours and light, but filling food.
Bottom line: Starters $9 - $11, entrees $17 - $19, mains $29 - $39.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK paid for her meal.