+++ Update 2016: This restaurant has been closed +++
On Patrick’s birthday (after the tropical cyclone Nesat) we went to Liberty Private Works. This is both a private kitchen as well as a giant communal chef’s table. Diners are seated behind an L-shaped bar, where they get to watch chef Vicky Cheng and his team cook and plate their dinner.
Liberty Private Works just recently moved from Wellington Street to Stanley Street, and is now on the 26th floor of 11 Stanley Street, providing an amazing view over the surrounding area. The view is towards the Peak and you can look at neighbouring skyscrapers, offices and apartments.
We arrived a little early, before 7.30pm and the lovely waiter (really helpful and great service throughout the evening!) told us that we need to get our own wine, as they are still awaiting their alcohol license. He recommended which wines to get and we bought a Pouilly Fume wine from the wine cellar a few houses down the street. We waited a couple of minutes for another group of guests to arrive (there are seats for a maximum of 30 guests, if I counted correctly – and the chef and his team start cooking always for a group of six or more, preparing all dishes at the same time).
The menu changes regularly, depending on what produce is in season and what chef Vicky Cheng finds down at the local markets. On the night we visited, we were served an amuse bouche of tomato, done in three ways. I can’t recall all three ways, but one was infused with bouillon (if I am not mistaken), one was turned into a terrine and the third one had tomato cream on top.
A second starter of farmed big-eye tuna with espelette pepper mayo and caviar was originally a late-night snack slapped together by the chefs at Cheng’s previous restaurant, made up of leftovers from service, but this glorified tuna mayo is a treat with the spicy sauce giving the dish a subtle kick and balanced by crispy puffed rice. It is one of the signature dishes and we enjoyed its taste and texture.
We then had a seafood dish – lobster bisque, grilled prawns and sake escargot (not technically seafood but fitted well) all around edamame and delicious potato (?) cream. It was the first time that I had snail, and the taste and texture confused me. It shared some similarities with mushrooms, and a strong, earthy flavour, but at the same time it is very chewy and a little awkward in its texture. I am glad I tried it, but it was not my favourite.
The pasta course was the famous raviolo with truffle, egg yolk and parmesan cream which I had read a lot about before. And it did not let us down, it was the second-best dish of the whole evening. We enjoyed the decadent, rich and smooth taste combined with simply ingredients (egg, flour, water, parmesan) and dipped the fresh baked bread into the remaining parmesan cream on our plates.
My favourite dish was the grilled scallop on ox cheek and pumpkin puree with chestnut and cranberries. It worked so well, nothing that I had imagined that will taste nice together, but it had such a warm, comforting flavour, I would have loved to order another one!
We had two meat dishes. The first one was duck, with raspberry and chocolate sauce.
The second one was veal and it included bone marrow and a very rich and creamy sauce. Patrick loved this dish, it was his favourite today. The strong flavour, rich taste, silky sauce was the right combination for him.
We then had two desserts – but I felt they were a little a let down.
The first one was an arrangement of lychee fruit sorbet, lychee sauce, cream and other flavours that I could not identify as they were very mild.
The second one (which I did not photograph) was a warm chocolate pudding with a milk icecream and rock salt. Nice, but again, not very exciting. Cheng then baked some fresh madelines, but unfortunately we were too full to try them!
Depending on what ingredients are used on the menu, dinner per person at Liberty Private Works can range from about HK$680 to $HK800 for the eight or nine course meal. We paid $HK 800 (without service charge) per person plus the mineral water and wine (which we brought ourselves) on top – and it was money so well spent! We enjoyed the dinner very much and we might be back soon!
Liberty Private Works
26/F Stanley 11
11 Stanley Street
Central Hong Kong
Tel. 5186 3282