Opened final October, it is the primary restaurant for Kroll and Forteza, who spent a yr renovating this heritage terrace in Fitzroy North. Citrico has a rough-around-the-edges likeability that comes with being put collectively by folks working it out, not model companies ticking packing containers.
The room is not trending. There isn’t any velvet. It is not completely pink. Wicker chairs and mushy lighting meet large beams, crimson bricks and vibrant particulars like desk cacti and a bar wrap that resembles a reasonably Peruvian weave. It is testomony to how private and pleasant the place and individuals are that the bar is getting used for post-workout malbecs by girls in spandex.
The bar aspect of the enterprise has kind. Beers cut up the distinction between Chilean and Mexican numbers and good native juice like La Sirene’s citrus bitter and Temple’s smashable bicycle beer. The wines are both hyper-local heroes (Denton pinot, Jamsheed syrah and a glowing from Oakdene, close to Geelong) or Argentinian and Spanish malbecs, torrontes and tempranillos.
If you happen to like grassy uncooked spirit pisco, they’ve a bunch from Peru, but additionally Chile and two homegrown variations from Australia, which you may get straight up, soured, or in a cocktail whose combine with lemon and Inka Kola is sort of a lengthy island iced tea taken approach south of the border. All the things is meticulously balanced and dressed, proper right down to a watermelon soda filled with mint and lime for a sober journey.
In contrast, the meals is contact extra on the market and rustic. The Nikkei-style ceviche has a properly vibrant tigre de leche (the spicy, citrusy fish marinade, spiked with ponzu on this case) however the messy meeting of huge, chewy cubes of kingfish and a few entire scallops over an iceberg leaf with corn nuts sucks just a little attraction. Our sliced chorizo appears to have met the grill for too quick a time, too.
Much better from that kitchen fireplace is a mountain of salty, citrusy and tender sections of suckered octopus tentacle and extra delicate sheets of calamari. Ignore the wan aspect of pak choy with miso dressing and it is a cracker.
A smoked chilli-marinated spatchcock, in the meantime, is likely one of the greatest restaurant poultry moments I’ve had in an age. Darkish crisp pores and skin meets juicy, tender meat and a contemporary and fiery kapallaq sauce made out of yellow chillies and celery.
There’s an emphasis on catering to vegetarians, too, which is refreshing for a meat-heavy delicacies, however not all the time successful. The pastel de choclo, billed as a corn and eggplant terrine, is definitely a sizzling, sweet-savoury cornbread state of affairs with fudgy layer of eggplant and provolone within the centre and sticky corn puree base. Odd, however fascinating.
Cauliflower, nevertheless, in a grainy, soupy gratin of soy milk, chillies and manchego, topped with walnuts, wants extra time within the workshop.
Finest Chilean round? Not but. But it surely’s an excellent little neighbourhood place to relax. Order properly and drink deeply for the win.
Handle 376 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North, 03 9482 1482, citrico.com.au
Open Thu-Solar noon-11pm; Mon, Wed 5pm-11pm
Vegetarian A lot of choices, together with vegan ceviche, some higher than others
Drinks Nice South American, Spanish and Aussie beer and wine record, specialising in piscos
Value Small dishes $6-$21; massive plates $33-$42
Go-to dish Grilled spatchcock marinated in panca smoky chilli, kapallaq sauce ($35).
Professional tip Come for the drinks, keep for the empanadas and spatchcock.