For Giorgina Venzin, opening Citron is a coming home.
The restaurateur and owner of Melrose, Darvella and Pawpaw grew up on Brisbane Bay. As a teenager, she would travel by train to Camp Hill to work at Mons Ban Sabai Thai – then owned by her father, and now her brother – and from there began a career developing cafes and restaurants in central east Brisbane. But Citron, which will open in Wellington Point in the spring, will be Venzin’s first home venue.
“I’m excited,” Venzin said. “A lot of people on this side of town know my story and have been really supportive of us opening something here. It has the ultimate community feel, that you don’t get so close to the city.”
Not that Venzin was looking to open a new venue. But the Redlands have been a bit slow to keep up with the city’s rapidly changing food scene. And a persistent landlord eventually convinced Venzin to take a rental on the corner of Main Road and Christina Street that previously operated as Refueled Cafe.
“I’m a little surprised there hasn’t been more development here,” she says. “Because it’s so beautiful. I always said it was a nice place to live, and it would be great if you could pick it up and bring it closer to the city. A lot of people my age have moved to town and are now coming back here.
Citron will be an all-day venue focused on coastal Mediterranean cuisine – fresh seafood and salads, dips and breads – depending on Wellington Point’s location. For breakfast, there will be dishes brought from Pawpaw, homemade pastries from Darvella Patisserie and espresso coffee. Lindsay Krahenbring will lead the kitchen, and Darvella’s executive pastry chef is also a partner in the new venture.
“Lindsay is a perfectionist,” says Venzin. “We want a simple, warm, minimalist menu with lots of fresh ingredients, and she’s expert at executing those kinds of flavors.”
For drinks, there will be a short selection of Australian-only wines that change regularly, as well as a list of spritz-based cocktails.
The 70-seat open-air Citron will feature textured walls and be rendered in rich creams and whites to reflect its Mediterranean coastal vibe. A covered dining patio will extend to the huge poinciana that sits at the corner of the room.
“I’ve seen the success of places in Manly, often in places I didn’t take, maybe because it was bad timing,” Venzin says. “I think Wellington Point is the next Bayside neighborhood. It’s a five minute drive from the point so it’s that similar experience of taking the dogs or the pram out, coming in for breakfast, lunch or dinner and then getting off at the point and making this day a day.
Citron will open in Wellington Point next spring.