Wonderful surroundings at Etienne’s Kitchen and Yacht Lounge

In a world of information, true hidden gems are hard to come by. RACHEL AGIUS heads to Etienne’s Kitchen and Yacht Lounge to discover the secrets of the Vittoriosa Waterfront. 

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Rachel Agius
24 August 2015, 10:31am
There is something very soothing about the sound of the ocean. Maybe it’s because I was born on an island, surrounded by a vast, tireless expanse of water, or maybe it’s just a welcome break from the thrum of daily life, with its cars and smartphones and every other modern noise. Combine that innate attraction to the sound of water with good food and you have a match made in heaven. 

This is presumably what Etienne’s is going for. It is tucked away in a small cove along the Cottonera waterfront, an area that has undergone drastic regeneration over the recent years, creating a hub of restaurants, gargantuan yachts sitting placidly at their moorings and one of the most desirable addresses on the island. Somehow (and perhaps thankfully) this stretch of quayside has remained something of a hidden gem. While I am certain that all the establishments along the waterside do brisk trade, it comes mainly from those savvy to what the area has to offer. 

Your stroll along the water will take you past luxury yachts, the casino and a few buildings that are still waiting in line for their renovation. Embraced by fortifications on both sides, Etienne’s is a great shelter from the rest of the world, whether you come by land or by sea – you can dock your boat right at his doorstep.

A selection of fresh produce awaits you, from the mozzarella to the shimmering fish of all different sorts. You might find you need a moment to take it all in – a regular menu complements the daily specials. We were started off by an amouse bouche of roast fig, topped with walnuts, caramelized onion and gorgonzola. It came in what looked like a swanky glass egg and the morsel inside was fantastic. The cheese played wonderfully with the onion and the walnuts crunched through the subtle smokiness of the fig.

A deconstructed caprese salad arrived for me next, with slices of tomato topped with rounds of mozzarella and a single basil leaf. When it comes down to it, that’s all you really need for the full caprese experience and being neatly portioned makes for an interesting novelty. 

The selection of meat looked more like a tour of South America than a menu, with Argentinian and Brazilian offerings rubbing shoulders with the classic bistecca Fiorentina and a sorely tempting veal rack. I chose a ribeye of Uruguayan extraction while my guest chose one of those plump, silvery fish from the display, after much deliberation.

Neither of us was disappointed and our attentive waiter offering to clean the fish at the table was a welcome display of skill and attention to detail. The sides – roast potatoes and a mix of grilled veg – were moreish and there was little left on our plates in almost record time. 

Dessert was, in a word, pretty.  My tiramisu was presented in a tall glass, its layers visible and offering a distinctly artistic element to this classic sweet. My guest chose the chocolate fondant, which arrived on an oblong slate with a scoop of ice cream. Cutting into the fondant – the moment of truth – was just as satisfying as we’d hoped. Molten chocolate spewed out of the warm cake, prompting a flurry of action so as not to miss a single, gooey drop.

In all, a trip to Etienne’s is certainly worth your while. The walk along the promenade, the glow of the limestone fortifications in the failing light and the spectacular view are part of the package. Potential diners be warned – you will find you constantly have to split your attention between the wonderful surroundings and the excellent fare on your dinner table.

Etienne’s Kitchen and Yacht Lounge

Fort St Angelo,

Vittoriosa Waterfront,

Vittoriosa.

Tel: 99441390

Facebook: Etiennes-Kitchen-Yacht-Lounge

rachel_agius
Rachel Agius graduated from the University of Malta with a degree in English and Anthropol...