The Courier Mail – October 20, 2007

The army choppers were coming closer as we nibbled on rolled up betel leaves filled with sandcrab, shaved fresh coconut, chilli and coriander. Thwack, thwack, thwack, went the blades. Were we under attack? Was it an APEC training exercise? Then, as our entrees appeared, two F-111s roared over Brisbane’s north in a fiery orgy of fuel-burning extravagance and the sky over the city glowed. It was Riverfire.

Time to concentrate on the pan asian menu at Citron, which was demanding our full attention after the zingy, delicious betel leaf appetiser. My red braised oxtail cakes turned out to be crumbed and deep fried morsels scattered on the plate alternately with seared scallops and pickled green papaya. Like our other entree – golden curls of garlic and pepper calamari – they lived up to the waiter’s enthusiastic spiel.

Given that most of the rest of Brisbane’s population was probably taking in the fireworks, the restaurant remained sparsely populated. But after the F-111s had roared back again, a steady stream of diners began to arrive to take up seats near us on the restaurant’s wide, covered front verandah or in the warmer interior.

By then we were savouring salted beef ribs braised in coconut milk with green curry sauce, and twice cooked crispy chicken in a ginger and chilli caramel sauce. It was all oohs and aahs, although the ribs were begging for more sauce and the chicken was delicious but not exactly crispy.

The wine list has been chosen to match the food and is adequate and reasonably priced, if somewhat limited. However, there is the added attraction that diners can bring their own wine.

Desserts came up trumps, with the caramelised coconut rice pudding and the roast banana pudding with palm sugar and tumeric sauce and almond milk ice cream making the most of traditional ingredients.

Citron, co-owned by Robert Foley and head chef Mark Newman opened in mid 2005. Their deconstruction of Asian ingredients and techniques into a modern interpretation of flavours this year won the pair the accolade of best Brisbane Asian Restaurant at the annual Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence.

Awards are sometimes hotly debated, but what’s not in doubt is the quality of the service which is knowledgeable friendly and consistent, and the venue which is relaxed, spacious and climatically attuned. The verandah tables are the best and, at the edge, there’s a big sky view, usually entirely free of military overtones.

ADDRESS 3 Macgregor St Wilston PH 3856 0066 HOURS Lunch Tues – Sun from noon; Dinner Tues -Sat from 6pm LIQUOR STATUS Licenced, BYO wine $8 corkage per bottle.

PRICES Appetisers $6 – $10,entrees $16 – $18, mains $25 – $34, desserts $12. NEED TO KNOW Air conditioned, off and on street parking, wheelchair access, all major credit cards.

FOOD 16

WINE 14

SERVICE 16

AMBIENCE 15

THE SCORE 15

 

SCORES 1-9 STAY HOME, 10-11 NEEDS HELP, 12 OK, 13 BIT OF ALRIGHT, 14 GOOD, 15 VERY GOOD, 16 CAPABLE OF GREATNESS, 17 RUSHING BACK, 18 VERY FLASH, 19 UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE, 20 AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

– Alison Walsh