Huitaca is a South American goddess of happiness, pleasure and drunkenness in the religion of the Muisca (indigenous to Colombia). And she’s the inspiration behind Citrico’s fiery, citrusy, Chilean-inspired menu.
Citrico (“citrus” in Spanish) offers a menu that spans ceviche, barbequed (asado) meat and piqueos, or snacks. Small plates include grilled scallops with pisco-chilli butter; pollo chifa (chicken with tomatillo-jalapeno sauce) and salsa pebre (coriander, onion, garlic and ground aji peppers); and three types of empanada – beef, potato or pork shoulder braised in orange.
A selection of ceviche includes ceviche clasico, fish cured in tiger milk (lime, chilli, raw onion and fish juice) with sweet potato. And choros a la chalaca, New Zealand green mussels with tomato, red onion, sweet corn, coriander and jalapeno.
A 300-gram porterhouse, chicken marinated in smoked chilli, octopus and squid are all prepared over the charcoal and wood grill.
A dedicated list of pisco cocktails includes the classic Sour with a choice of pisco, and the Sandicoco, which is pisco mistral, charred watermelon, strawberry, coconut liqueur and lime. Local and imported wines, beers and spirits from Chile, Peru and Argentina, and Inca Kola (a Peruvian soft drink created in 1935 with a flavour similar to creamy soda or bubblegum) also feature.
The building dates back to 1904. The interior has copper throughout, exposed-brick walls, hand-blown-glass light fittings and timber joinery.
The bar-front decal was inspired by Peruvian tapestry – its vibrant colours echoed in artwork by Melbourne painter Greg Irvine. Multicoloured furniture and cacti dress the outdoor courtyard.