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 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's echoes of Embla and The Town Mouse in all this, especially when you consider the considered wine list, which features plenty of new-school producers.
More: Flinders Island lamb is marinated in a cumin and fennel seed dry rub and cooked on a Japanese-style binchotan charcoal grill. For dessert, the team makes “coconut snow” (coconut-flavoured shaved ice) served with peaches, verjus and “coconut fromage” (mascarpone, crème fraîche and coconut).
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.