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Saturday, 17 January 2015

[Media Invite] Hungrygowhere's Eat-lections 2015 / Lunch at Etna Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

This is a media event, a Sneak Preview to Hungrygowhere's Eat-lections 2015. To share a little, Hungrygowhere is running its very own "people's choice" F&B Awards across multiple food categories. The voting period starts from 14 January 2015 and shall last till 4 February 2015.  

I have just cast my vote, and you can do so too, at:
and stand to win attractive prizes such as meals at The Line, Woobar or even a prepaid Hungrygowhere credit card etc.

So, by 12.45pm we gathered in front of the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and were brought to Maxwell Food Centre across the street, where the action would take place. There were representatives from Hungrygowhere together with representatives from the PR firm they'd engaged, as well as media representatives from various corporations / publications.

The Voting Truck and van arrived, carrying the necessary props and the HGW reps did a short cheer before crossing over to the bustling Maxwell Food Centre. We followed suit, so that we could watch them live in action.

The HGW crew did another cheer once they hit the food centre, instantly grabbing the attention of the diners there. Then they went around with their posters, goodie bags and forms to garner votes as they explained what this was all about. 

An exclusive luncheon was arranged for us, at one of HGW's award nominees - Etna Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria.

49 / 50 Duxton Road, Singapore 089513
Tel: 6220 5513

Etna is a semi-fine dining restaurant that serves authentic Italian food with a lovely Sicilian touch  -  food that combines colors and flavors expertly. Besides the wide selection of food items on its gastronomical menu, Etna has an extensive wine list as well, so one can be assured that there is a right wine to go with every course you select. 

Nestled amongst the cool, sleek white interior is a large woodfire blazing in the background, along with a very friendly chef who posed for a shot against the beautiful backdrop.

The table(s) was set for 20, and on each designated seat, one finds a press kit containing information on the Eat-lection 2015 details, as well as profiles of their CEO, Matthew Whittingham as well as Co-founder Wong Hoong An. Tablets were also distributed for voting purposes, and everything was made very user-friendly / fuss-free.

We started with water and a welcome cocktail of a glass of Prosecco, chatting up with everyone sitting around us.  

Then we were served the Greco Di Tufo, a fine, pale gold wine which was very smooth and rich, with notes of fruits.

There, this was Matthew making a short pre-lunch speech, addressing all the attendees.

Followed by an introduction by our host del dia - Ms Anna Borrasi, the only female Italian Executive Chef in Singapore. 

This was our exclusive lunch menu, but while we were waiting for lunch to be served, there were some rather interesting amuse bouche items being offered.

These Stuffed Olives looked fresh and the contrasting colors piqued curiosity. A little on the salty side, but these bite-sized hors d'oeuvres were definitely appetite-whetting. Our attempts at trying to guess what the pinkish stuffing was, failed.

Next, a hors d'oeuvres of very tender stuffed Parma Ham. It was so lovely, many of us had second helpings.

And we had the Pizza Crust filled with Truffle and Mascarpone Cheese - one look at the burnt crust and the crackling texture leaves nothing to one's imagination. The interior was oozing deliciously with melted cheese, with strong musky aroma of the truffle defining the taste of the Schiacciata dish.

The basket of bread with olive oil dip was awesome as well - soft fluffy bread and crispy breadsticks, all fresh and tasty.

For appetisers, we had the Fresh Burrata Cheese from Andria with 36 months S. Daniele Ham, served with Rocket Salad and Pachino Cherry Tomatoes.  And Home Cured Salmon with Asparagus, served with Stracciatella Cheese and Mullet Bottarga in Champagne Dressing.

Burrata, meaning "buttered" in Italian, is fresh cheese made with cream, hence the Burrata Cheese was rich, with sticky texture and a very light flavor to it. The curd was soft, but chewy, subtly creamy and luscious. The ham was succulent and a fine complement its smoother, sweeter counterpart (the cheese).

The Cured Salmon was finely-sliced, and as one could see, it is another dish exploding with colors. The flavors fight between salmon, drizzled lemon juice, roe, cheese and asparagus came together beautifully like a perfectly orchestrated appetiser. 

For mains, we had the Burnt Grain Orecchiette with fresh Pachino Cherry Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Smoked Ricotta Cheese. We also tried the Linguine with Crab meat in Lobster Sauce.

The Orecchiette - a traditional, homemade South Italian pasta resembling the shapes of ears, had a springy texture that was simply lovely to chew on. Further infused with the flavors of tomatoes, pine nuts and cheese, this pasta dish offered bite as well as taste, a unique pasta not found in many Italian restaurants in Singapore.

Linguine with Crab Meat in lobster sauce -  the linguine was suitably moistened and had a definite texture to it. I believe I need not describe the luxurious sweetness of lobster, so imagine its effect on the linguine. They used crab meat and also soft shell crab for the pasta, giving new meaning to the word "palatable". I have no doubt that this would be my choice when I return to the restaurant again.

Finally, time for desserts - Sicilian Lemon Tart with Italian Meringue and Bronte Pistachio Tiramisu.

The Sicilian Lemon Tart was emanated with a lovely zesty, citrusy flavor of the lemon curd, giving a very refreshing wakening to the palate dulled by the delectable savoury dishes of earlier on. The crust was light and crunchy, as was the meringue sitting daintily atop the tart, providing a good balance of sweetness to the sourish flavor.

As for the Bronte Pistachio Tiramisu, it is so special because it does not contain coffee. The dense, moist texture of this soft pastry enables the cake to simply disintegrate in the mouth beautifully. The authentic pistachio paste came all the way from Sicily, Italy, literally - indulgent in its richness with that very slight hint of "grassy" flavor that pistachio contains.  This tiramisu is easy on the eyes and tongue; I can see why it is also easily one of the restaurant's signatures.

Finally, time for Tea and Coffee. I had the tea but regretted not having the coffee instead, since everyone knows Italian roast is fabulous - a fact affirmed by fellow attendees who ordered coffee instead.

Thank you Anna and Etna Italian Restaurant, for taking great care of us gastronomically.

The event concluded at around 3.30pm, and we each took home a goodie bag of snacks, red packets, etc.

Thank you Hoong An / Hungrygowhere for the invite as well.

Again, for those who haven't cast their votes and haven't bumped into a HGW Eat-lection Truck, please do check out the following site now and join the poll for good food:

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