+++ Update 2016: This restaurant has been closed +++
What’s the best way to start the new year? Surely it would be with New Year resolutions. But knowing myself and knowing how little I stick to my January 1 resolutions, I am going to skip this idea all together and focus on what I like: food. So let me start this year with a new post about Liberty Private Works, a restaurant that I’ve visited in September 2011 and to which I went back on Christmas Eve, because the food and service is really great.
I really must give a big shout-out to the good service. It starts from the day that I booked the table (four weeks in advance, using their online booking formula) to the day itself. The team called me twice (two weeks after the booking and then two days before the actual day) to confirm the dinner and also our food allergies, making sure that we could eat all dishes that were being served. They also reminded me how to get there, the costs of the menu and the corkage fee (250 HKD per bottle, or buy one of theirs and bring one of yours). Once we arrived, the wine we had brought was set aside to be cooled/warmed and Vicky Cheng, the chef, welcomed us and double-checked which foods we cannot eat. Throughout the dinner, service was exceptional, very quick (but not pushy) and super friendly.
We were served two lovely starters – one was a great chestnut ravioli with cranberry sauce and the other was pumpkin done in three different ways (soup, tempura and grilled). I finished the pumpkin dish too quickly, so you will have to make to with the chestnut ravioli dish instead. The ravioli had just the right texture, al dente and not too chewy or soft.
Next up was one of the classics, one of Vicky’s signature dishes: Tuna with espelette pepper mayonnaise, caviar and crispy puffed rice. This dish is quite large, but very tasty and everyone seems to love the crackling of the puffed rice. I could hear everyone eating the puffed rice!
The second seafood dish was my favourite. Very light and small portion size, but that’s perfect for a eight-course dinner. Starting from the left we had cuttlefish on fennel, grilled scallop with flaxseed on top (yummy, I would have enjoyed more than one if I’d been asked!), intense orange sauce, more fennel and snow crab mousse.
The pasta course was the famous raviolo with spinach, egg yolk and parmesan cream, which I had enjoyed last time. But this time we did not have any truffles on top and it tasted just very rich and creamy, but not as indulgent and luxurious as it would have tasted had we been served truffles. Oh well, we can’t have anything. So we dipped the fresh baked bread into the egg and cream and ate the dish.
More seafood followed: turbot on gingerbread cookies with a Brussels sprout leave on top and a pickled Chantalle mushroom. Clever and very fit for a Christmas eve dinner.
The first meat dish was chicken filled with foie gras and wrapped in pancetta. The rich pancetta and the texture of the chicken almost made us believe we were eating pork, and while the taste was amazing, the foie gras was a little lost. I would have preferred a different foie gras dish, as it did not go that well with the chicken. The root vegetables however, were really nice and tasty.
The beef was cooked very nicely in a rich sauce – with asparagus and dehydrated asparagus powder next to the potato gratin. An interesting combination, with a lovely meat (nice texture) but the potatoes were a little burned and served with too much hollandaise sauce.
The first dessert was Vicky’s famous fruit dessert – made out of marinated fruits and sorbets with hazelnut powder. Very interesting too look at (especially looking at Vicky producing this artwork) but I am not a big fan of the different fruit tastes. The bitter orange ice cream was nice, but the other sour, bitter and fruity tastes were just a palate cleanser for me – I am more a fan of proper dessert, like raspberry pavlova, apple crumble or crema catalana (sorry for all these non-French examples!). Anyway, most of the diners liked the fruit dessert as I could witness many empty plates.
The chocolate dessert was much more to my liking, especially the burnt sugar decorations with the very dark chocolate tasted amazing!
All in all another amazing dinner, with some really great seafood dishes (my favourites) and good meat and dessert courses. We were definitely full, if not too full!
It has been a lovely Christmas eve meal. We paid $HK 800 (without service charge) per person plus drinks on top – and it was money so well spent!
Liberty Private Works
26/F Stanley 11
11 Stanley Street
Central Hong Kong
Tel. 5186 3282