In light of COVID-19, we encourage diners to take precautions when going out. You can also support your favourite restaurants by getting takeaway and delivery.
With all that’s been going on this year, I’ve found myself being less adventurous when it comes to dining out. Usually I like exploring new neighbourhoods, getting energised by new sights, sounds and tastes. But this year? I’ve stuck mostly with eating around Central, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui.
So I was really excited to check out Etna, a cosy neighbourhood bistro in Tin Hau. It’s an Italian restaurant (with the name taken from Mount Etna, the highest active peak in Europe) with some Asian twists by restaurateur Kong Wai Sing and Executive Chef Rene Michelena. The duo have worked together for a decade, meeting originally as part of the opening team at now-closed Lily & Bloom.
What’s Etna serving up?
Fried portobello and oyster mushrooms ($88)
Fried calamari ($118)
We started with some fried bar snacks. Both the mushrooms and calamari were solid.
Grilled Humboldt giant squid with pickles and saffron onion ($158)
Warm poached prawns ($158)
The starters were similarly strong. While the presentation of the asparagus (not pictured) and the giant squid was just okay, the flavours were fab. The asparagus was juicy, and the lentil-goat’s cheese combination was perfect for these relatively balmy autumn evenings. The squid had an addictive smokiness that drew a few “that’s so good” comments from our table. And the warm poached prawns had great ingredients (flavourful olive oil, bright lemon) – a more standard pick than the other two, but still a fine choice.
Soft-shell crab fettuccine puttanesca with gochujang syrup ($258)
24-carat-gold saffron risotto with robiola and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses ($198)
I was looking forward to trying the soft-shell crab fettuccine, but unfortunately, this dish was a bit of a let- down. The pasta was overcooked and the sauce was bland. However, it could just be a teething issue as the vegetables in the dish were packed with flavour. Hopefully, the issues are worked out soon as the dish has promise.
The risotto fared much better, with the rice cooked just right and the sauce full of salty, fatty, creamy flavours.
Grilled Ibérico pork chop with grapes, farro, honey and balsamic ($288)
Brandt Beef tri-tip steak with oregano and tomato concasse and dates ($398)
Both the pork chop and tri-tip steak were okay. For the prices, I had hoped that they would have been slightly more tender. However, the accompaniments were great. I especially loved the tangy tomato concasse and candied dates against the beef.
Sicilian cannoli with pistachio ricotta, candied lemon and dry sherry ($78)
We ended our meal with two desserts. The cannoli was really interesting – I loved the wafer and the filling. The tiramisu was just okay.
Etna shows a lot of promise. There were some interesting combinations throughout the meal. I enjoy strong flavours and was pleasantly surprised by the hit of flavour from the fruit and veg accompaniments. For a neighbourhood restaurant, some of the prices are on the high side, but there are also many deals to be had. From 3–8pm daily, the restaurant is offering a “chill time” promotion where two bottles of wine are priced at $368. In addition, the brunch menu starts at $68 and the lunch set menu starts at $108 for two courses.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
For more reviews like this, like Foodie on Facebook