I continued checking F&B places around my office in the Duxton area.. This time two of my colleagues and I decided to pay a visit to this (quite new, we understood) Italian place in Duxton Rd. We were expecting quite a good dining experience from what we read about it, but what we got exceeded our expectations. Maybe we were lucky because we were the second group of people to be there at 6:30pm, thus avoiding the crowd that came later on. And certainly we were lucky because one of the owners, Mr. Gianlucca, got to serve us and explained us a lot of things about Sicily, the Etna volcano and how it influences the quality of the ingredients.
Athmosphere was quite relaxing and cosy (but later on became too crowded for my taste), decoration is quite simple but very authentic.
We were welcomed very friendly by one of the staff, Ms. Michelle. Then the owner Mr. Gianlucca came to our table and gave.us an intro to Sicily and what he and his Sicilain partner are trying to do at Etna.
Foodwise, we followed his suggestions almost to the letter. Lucky us :) But maybe we ended up eating too much...
We took a really big Italian appetizer (mixed cold cuts and cheese), a typical Sicilain hot appetizer called parmigeana (hope it is spelled correctly) and two soups.
Everything was nice, maybe the mushroom soup could be thicker but the tomato soup was great.
We shared a pizza (the signature Etna pizza) and three pastes among the ones suggested by Mr. Gianlucca: 1) some stuffed pasta with pistacchio cream, 2) linguini with scallops and lobster sauce, and 3) rice with prawn and oranges. Absolutely delicious! To my taste, i particularly appreciated the stuffed past with pistachio, as i have never tasted something similar around....
And then dessert came...pistachio tiramisu', panna cotta and pistachio mousse.
Honestly, among the best desserts that i have ever eaten around, even superior to those of some very fine dining restaurants that I have been visiting. Maybe desserts lack in presentation, but the taste was more-than-fine dining.
We complemented the food with a nice Etna red wine, bottled in 2000 and aged in special barrels, as Mr. Gianlucca (who apparently is an Italian sommelier) explained us. In the end he was so nice to offer us some flavourful liquor (for digestion) and coffee...
The service given by Ms. Michelle and all the friendly discussions we had with Mr. Gianlucca were an adequate complement to the great food.
Overall a superb dining experience. No doubt that we will return.