New restaurant review: Etna in Tin Hau, Hong Kong
A review of a neighbourhood bistro in Tin Hau
With all that’s been going on this year, I’ve found myself being less adventurous. Often I like exploring new neighbourhoods, getting energized by new sights, sounds, tastes. But this year? I’ve mostly stuck with eating around Central, Causeway Bay and TST.
So I was really excited to check out Etna, a cozy new neighbourhood bistro in Tin Hau. It’s a European 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, originally meeting as part of the opening team at Lily & Bloom.
What’s Etna serving up?
Fried portobello and oyster mushrooms ($88)
Fried calamari ($118)
We started with some bar snacks. Both solid.
Grilled Humboldt giant squid with pickles and saffron onion ($158)
Warm poached prawns ($158)
The appetizers were similarly strong. While the presentation of the asparagus (not pictured) and the giant squid was just OK, the flavours were fab. The asparagus were juicy and the lentil goat cheese combination was perfect for these balmy fall 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 Fettucine ‘Putanesca’ with gochujang syrup ($258)
24 carat gold saffron risotto with robiola and reggiano cheeses ($198)
I was looking forward to trying the soft shell crab fettuccine but unfortunately this 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 flavour.
Grilled Iberico 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 the tri tip steak were OK. For the price, I would hope they were slightly more tender. However the accompaniments were great. I especially loved the tangy tomato concasse and the 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 - loved the wafer and the filling. The tiramisu was OK.
Etna shows a lot of promise. There were some interesting combinations all throughout the meal; I enjoy strong flavours and pleasantly surprised by the hit of flavour from the vegetables and fruit 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 to 8pm daily (including weekends), the restaurant is offering a Chill Time Promo where two bottles of wine go for $368. As well, the brunch menu starts at $68 and the lunch set menu starts at $108 for two courses.
3/F, The New Place, 68-70 Electric Road, Tin Hau