The Wednesday night is usually girl’s night out. On one such Wednesday couple of weeks ago, we girls were walking down the pretty Duxton Road, in Singapore, when we came across this intimate Italian restaurant called Etna Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria. Named after the live Etna volcano in Sicily, the restaurant remains true to its Sicilian roots, serving the refined and traditional Italian food.
Set in one of the old heritage buildings on Duxton Road, the restaurant has a warm, cozy feel about it. Classily furnished, with large tables covered with crisp white table cloths, the place offers an almost homey ambience. A perfect setting for quite evening.
The restaurant offers, a limited, yet interesting choice of alcohol mix. You will be pleasantly surprised to see a choice of Grappa, Rosolio, Campari and Amaro, to name a few traditional alcoholic beverages, often not that easily available. The restaurant also offer a small range of not-so-common cocktails. The most curious ones being Rossini orange, which is a mixture of Prosecco (a traditional Italian white wine) and orange juice. It’s a delightfully refreshing cocktail, a definite must try, especially for the ladies. For the gentlemen, Godfather is an interesting choice. It is a mixture of Whiskey and Amaretto Di Sarrono. In the few Italian restaurants I have visited, I have rarely seen any offer Amaretto Di Sarrono, the traditional Italian almond flavoured liquor. In fact, the last time I saw the liquor was at a small café just outside Termini station in Rome.
If I thought their drinks options were interesting, I soon found out that their food menu is quite a little shocker. For the first time in my life, I have come across an Italian restaurant that does not serve chicken! And yet, it has a surprisingly nuff menu. Adequately covering both the vegetarians and the non-vegetarians. The non-vegetarians get a good choice of ham dishes (both pork and beef), and some choicest fish. Vegetarians have their usual selection of zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes and of course, the fresh herbs!
Here are a few dishes you should try, especially if you are the adventurous foodie who loves traditional, authentic meals!
Prosciutto di San Daniele con Melone Cantalupo: While most of their antipasti menu is unique, the one that caught my eye was S. Daniele Raw Ham with Cantalupe Melon. One of the most famous ham in the world, served with the melon brings out a unique flavor that is gastronomical delight.
They have a unique way of serving the Bruschetta, with four slices of bread, each with a different topping, accompanied by fresh herbs. You can each pick a bread with a different topping, or mix the toppings and have a blend, the choice is yours!
Spaghetti con Vongole Veraci
Etna offers limited, but exciting variety of pastas and risottos. Their Spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce is delectable. Delicately cooked clams in the finely flavourful wine white sauce is a must try for seafood lovers.
Other distinctive options are Risotto in delicate foie gras sauce, Languine with crab meat in a lobster cream sauce (this is a real gourmet dish, albeit little heavy for one person) and the traditional Bolognese ragout lasagna. The dishes are as exotic to taste as they sound.
They divide their pizza menu into two types. White pizzas and Red pizzas. The white pizza have the mozzarella cheese base, while the red ones are a mix of mozzarella and tomatoes. Compared to the rest of the menu, the pizzas are quite a let down. Though immaculate to taste, with the just the right amount of herbs and cheese, the choice is quite simple compared to their exotic menu. All the same, my pick:
Sicilia Bella: With just the right amount of pesto sauce delicately placed over the eggplants makes the pizza decilately flavoured. It’s not too heavy, and a perfect for a table of 2.
Calzone: With pork ham cooked to perfection, even simple ingredients like tomatoes and mushroom work magic.
The restaurant offers six distinctly traditional desserts. My pick:
The Panna Cotta: The traditional Italian dessert is often portrayed as an easy recipe to cook at home. However, despite the fact that it is supposedly easy, finding a perfect panna cotta is hard to find. I personally prefer desserts that are not excessively sweet, as it takes away the taste and flavour of the other ingredients. Etna served a deliciously light and creamy panna cotta, with just the right amount of sweet. The serving size was slightly large making it a perfect dessert for two.
Banana Crème Brule: Crème Brule is my favourite dessert, and usually I prefer it in the traditional vanilla flavour. In fact, I haven’t come across too many restaurants that serve Banana Crème Brule. Reluctant to try it, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the banana complimented with the overall crème brule flavour. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is quite an interesting dessert to end a traditional meal!
How much will it cost me?
A dinner for two at Etna can cost anywhere between S$50 to S$120, depending upon how exotic your choices are and how adventurous can you get about food and drinks alike!
Most Italian restaurants offer you the typical choices of pizzas and pasta. Etna is a great choice if you are a meat or seafood lover. However, with absolutely no chicken on the menu, it can at times feel restrictive for those who prefer not to indulge in the calorie heavy red meat. But for the adventurous food lover, Etna has a lot to offer.