Etta is made up of a bar and an 80-seat dining room separated by an open kitchen, which is overseen by New Zealand-born chef Hayden McMillan (formerly of The Roving Marrow). He runs the restaurant with wife Dominique Fourie McMillan and their friend Hannah Green.
Both rooms revolve around large and expensive-looking Australian stone benches, crafted from marble from a quarry in Chillagoe, northern Queensland. The restaurant’s concrete walls are cut a few inches from the ground, exposing some of the building’s raw brick.
More than half of the menu is vegetarian. Dishes include tamari and brown-sugar-roasted buttercup pumpkin served with a dairy-free sunflower cream, and eggplant schnitzel fried in Panko breadcrumbs, much like a vegetarian tonkatsu. There are echoes of Embla and The Town Mouse in all this, especially when you consider the thoughtful wine list, which features plenty of new-school producers.
The space used to be a fish-and-chip shop, and some of its past remains, including the stone floor in the front section and hardwood floorboards in the back. Outside of the impressive rock collection and a playful forest mural by local artist Rob Bowers, the place is fairly unadorned.
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