- HK Island, Tin Hau
- Address: 3/F,68-70 Electric Road,Tin Ahu
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/etna.hk/
- Open Hours: Daily, Lunch & Dinner
- Capacity: 130
- Open Since: December 1st, 2023
- Phone: 3462-2700
- Rating: 3.5
- Ambience: Alfresco, Casual
Italian Lite: Tin Hau isn’t quite what you’d think of as a dining destination in Hong Kong, but newly opened Etna, an Italian-inspired restaurant, is hoping to give Hongkongers a reason to venture here for a meal.
Look & Feel: Tucked away in a brand new commercial building on a sidestreet in Tin Hau, Etna is one of those places you have to know about in order to find. Perched on the buildings third floor, the eatery might seem rather small, but the main dining room offers enough space that you won’t be bumping elbows with the next table over. The main dining room is dressed in soft, earthy tones of browns, greys, and greens, but also features concrete flooring, industrial light features. Diners can also peek into the kitchen through a window that overlooks the dining room, and watch their drinks being made at the bar in the back corner. There is also a small terrace that’s perfect for relaxed after-work drinks, and a bigger terrace that’s great for alfresco dining. If you’re looking for a quiet space for an intimate meal or perhaps somewhere to relax with drinks and nibbles, this is it.
On the Menu: Etna takes its name from Italy’s Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily. Thanks to this, produce is very much the focus here, with ingredients – as far as possible – carefully sourced from the fertile soil around the volcano. However, instead of being a run-of-the-mill Italian restaurant, Etna uses its Italian produce to create dishes that skew more towards general Mediterranean plates with a dose of Asian flavor. Unfortunately, the concept is a bit hit and miss. You get the feeling that the menu doesn’t quite know what it is, though a little refinement here could quickly nix any issues.
Things begin well, with bar snacks of fried mushrooms and calamari washed down with Prosecco promising a solid meal. The Warm Poached Prawns in lemon oil, chili jam and raw zucchini ($158) has potential but comes off somewhat bland. The Grilled Humboldt Giant Squid with pickles and saffron onion ($158), though, is an improvement.
Next, the pasta and risotto certainly looked exciting, but are somewhat lacking. The Soft Shell Crab Fettucini ‘Puttanesca’ ($238) has a promising base of handmade pasta cooked al dente, but it’s not as flavorful as you’d expect, and the addition of a whole soft shell crab seems to have been done for effect rather than for gustatory satisfaction. Conversely, the 24 Carat Gold Saffron Risotto ($198), which features robiola and Reggiano cheese and a topping of edible gold foil, packs a huge flavor punch (one that’s full one cheese, natch), though again, the addition of 24 Carat gold foil seems unnecessary.Don’t get us wrong – none of the dishes are bad, per se, but there is certainly room for improvement if Etna intends to draw in a foodie crowd (though, we have it on good authority that two weeks after opening, the team is exhausted and stretched a bit thin at the moment).
Luckily, the two meat dishes and dessert that follow are a vast improvement. The Grilled Iberico Pork Chop ($288) and Brandt Beef Tri Tip Steak ($398) are both cooked well and don’t need any kind of sauce to make them enjoyable, while the Sicilian Cannoli ($78) and Etna Tiramisu ($98) are a decent way to end the meal. Overall, a meal at Etna probably won’t knock your socks off, but if you’re in the area, it’ll certainly curb your hunger and then some.
Jeng: The service at Etna is attentive though not intrusive, and the food comes out pretty quickly. Plus, the restaurant is pretty quiet, so you won’t have to shout to talk to your dining companions.
Not So Jeng: It has promise for being an under-the-radar destination for those in the know, but sadly, right now, Etna feels like just another blip on the radar of Hong Kong’s incredibly competitive dining scene.
Meet the Chef: The kitchen here is run by Executive Chef Rene Michelena, who worked his way through the top restaurants in Chicago, New York City, and Boston before arriving in Hong Kong to open Lily+BLOOM. Before Etna, he led the kitchen at The Continental in Pacific Place.
Great For: Casual neighborhood dinners.
FYI: Etna offers an extended happy hour called Chil Time Promo that goes from 3pm to 8pm every day. And you can get two bottles of wine for $368.
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This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.