2 minutes with Hannah Green
Occupation: restaurateur and sommelier
You have opened Etta this week, with partners Hayden McMillan and Dominique Fourie McMillan, tell us what the restaurant is all about?
We ultimately wanted to create a place for the neighbourhood to use as they saw fit. You can come in, have a really beautiful glass of wine at the bar, or you can have a beer from the tap, or you can come and experience dinner in the dining room.
The way we have structured the menu is pretty much the way we like to eat. Lots of the things to share with really beautiful proteins. At the moment, the flounder is gorgeous and what I want to eat for dinner every day. In saying this if you come in and don’t know what to choose from, you can trust us completely and let us feed you.
We have all worked in the industry for a while, with careers across a pretty wide range of restaurants and we just wanted a place where you can come and feel totally comfortable with every aspect. The food, the room, the service and the beverage offering.
What has been the biggest challenge in opening a restaurant?
I would have to say the actual build. I know everyone told us that it would be hard, but it was REALLY hard! Definitely a massive life lesson! I think it was the fact that it is an area that we had no experience in what so ever and you had to trust the people around you who you engaged to do the works. And like anything in the world, there are people who are amazing at their job and there are people who may not be. I think the biggest lesson I learnt was to trust my gut.
What led you to a career in hospitality? Have you always wanted to open your own place?
I kind of fell into it. I was in Perth having a year off from going to uni and took on a traineeship at really terrible pub, but realised I really enjoyed it and wanted to get more serious about it, so I moved to Melbourne. I pestered and pestered Jayden at 312 to give me a job and he finally gave in and the rest is history really. Here I am 11 years later.
I think opening my own place was something I always wanted. I grew up in a family business with my dad and uncles running a motor and smash repairs business. Although I did see the hard work that they put in, it was something that we always talked about and the personal satisfaction you get out of it being yours. I’m so lucky to have had them as constant guiding hand over this process.
You are leading the wine program at Etta, what can we expect to see on the list?
We have a pretty small list at Etta, well small in comparison to what I have worked with in the past. So this means that everything has to be there for a reason. Style, varietal, price point but above all it has to be delicious. I guess it is a mix of artisan domestic and international producers, with a few interesting numbers in there too.
We are working with quite a few local winemakers. We actually have a wine that we have made with Dom Valentine from Valentine wine which I’m pretty excited about. It is a blanc de blanc from the Yarra that has been ageing on lees for 6 years (which is pretty rare for a local sparkling) and then we have played around the dosage levels.
Melbourne restaurants that you frequent (when you're not at Etta)?
Great question! I think Rockpool has been up there for me for years! Simply because you can go and have a burger in the bar and a beautiful glass of wine or the full shabang. I love Tipo 00 and French Saloon. I often start at Kirks and head either upstairs or just down the road.
Merricote is also up for me. They only problem is now I’m open the same days at them!!! There are so many that I could go on for ages, although Embla, Town Mouse, IDES are also. Brae is still hands down the best meal I’ve had in this country and I love what Dan, Jules and the gang are doing out there.
You can follow what Hannah and the team are doing at Etta on Instagram @etta_dining