The pared back interior (bare tables, plain walls and wood floors) harmonises with the pared back Italian fare on Etto’s wonderfully original menu. Don’t come in search of pizzas and pasta staples here – the menu is delightfully devoid of both. Instead arrive ready to embrace rustic regional specialities that sing with authenticity and flavour.
The small space squeezes in 30-odd covers, some perched on stools by a tiny bar, and bookings are hard to come by. Menus are updated daily, with a lunch, dinner and bar menu. The food is conducive to grazing, with nibbles like smoked almonds, charcuterie plates and signature pork belly and eel croquettes perfect to accompany a glass of wine.
You may just come to sip and snack but we’re certain the main menu will tempt you to order food you may not even think you’re hungry for. After all, it’s hard to resist Small Plate dishes like burrata (pillowy mozzarella) with blood orange and red onion or poached duck egg in smoked eel and bacon broth.
Large Plates, perhaps malfatti (delicate spinach and ricotta dumplings) with chanterelles, egg yolk and fried sage leaves or a more robust plate of tender lamb neck, with turnips and sweet onions, promise to be equally delicious and exciting.
The casual set-up may suggest that Etto isn’t a desserts kind of place, but once you taste something like the sticky red wine prunes with vanilla mascarpone or buttermilk blancmange with pears and toasted nuts you’ll know you made a good call.
The wine list is excellent, with a great choice of grapes and affordable prices, although there are only 5 wines by the glass or carafe, which is disappointing. Service is very friendly, and staff are helpful and knowledgeable, even if they could be a little more efficient.
It’s easy to be greedy at Etto and you’ll pay for the privilege of getting carried away. Show restraint and you’ll still be rewarded with a great casual dining experience.
Chefs, restaurateurs and food writers are already making pilgrimages here on their nights off, and it’s easy to see why there’s so much buzz around this genuine foodie mecca.