Wednesday 29 May 2013

Liberty Private Works, Hong Kong

We visited Hong Kong last October and this will be the first post from our trip and was also our favourite ‘Western’ meal in Hong Kong.  Liberty Private Work is situated in Central, the main business district of Hong Kong.   Its main appeal is the open kitchen type arrangement with patrons being sat around the open kitchen and being able to observe the cooking and preparation of each dish.  The executive chef, Vicky Cheng, devises and serves an 8 course menu each night.
On arrival we were part of the last group of 6 diners for the night, the restaurant does 18 covers with staggered start times from 7.30-8.30pm.  We were sat towards the end of one side of the open kitchen towards the stove.  Mrs Nom was concerned that it may get a bit hot and cause discomfort due to her contact lenses but it didn’t prove too bad in the end.
The amuse bouche was a chicken liver parfait arranged in squares with various accompaniments including fried brioche, fig, almond jelly napoleon and chicken skin. This was a nice start to the meal with various taste variations with a delightfully intense parfait.

The first course was one of the signature dishes, tuna, sea urchin, espelette and rice.  Whilst serving each course either Chef Vicky or one of his brigade would explain the dish.  The dish come with a frozen grape on the left and a frozen longan on the right.  Chef explained that the frozen grape was to refresh the palate for the tuna tartare and the longan was to cleanse the palette at the end from the kick of the espelette.   The flavours worked well with the espelette elevating the tuna and sea urchin and the crispy rice gave the dish a different texture.

The presentation of the next dish was exquisite, described as shellfish, chorizo, tomato and yuzu on the menu.  This turned out to be tiger prawns, clams on a bed of yuzu jelly.  The sweet jelly complemented the fresh seafood.

We noticed the introduction of sardine tins in the work area and quickly worked out why with the next dish of mackerel with ratatouille and fennel.  Served on smoking branches for effect.  Of the courses so far which were well balanced this was probably the weakest with the ratatouille overpowering the other ingredients.

The next dish was another signature dish of egg, truffle, parmesan and caviar.  Inside the ravioli contained spinach and ricotta and the egg yolk which oozed out into the sauce. The creamy parmesan and truffle sauce was a delight although a little rich, but this didn’t stop me from mopping it up with a freshly baked bread roll supplied halfway through the course.

By this point Mrs Nom was getting rather full and the next dish was her least favourite of the night.  Maybe something to do with the fact that it was rabbit (in her eyes a fluffy cute pet), pancetta, chestnut and brussel sprouts (food hell for Mrs Nom).  To me, this was welcome with it being the first meat of the night.  The rabbit was well cooked although the dish seemed plain and missing the wow factors of the previous courses.

With Mrs Nom well and truly stuffed I ended up eating my own and two thirds of the final savoury dish of the night, sirloin beef and ox tongue with porcini mushrooms, foie gras and onions.  The sirloin seemed a bit tough and chewy but the ox tongue was delectable, full of deep beefy flavours.

Next up were the desserts and it’s a wonder how theres always room for dessert with women.  All the components of the dish reminded me of a pina colada due to the flavours.  I noticed that all the plates prepared by Chef were unique unlike the previous courses but each remained stylish.  The pineapple and coconut powder created was joyful alongside the olive oil sorbet.

The last dessert was Chefs take on peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Whilst looking nothing like it that I can remember from my childhood the taste sensations were very much there.  For a while I felt I was twenty years younger.

After the gastronomic feast we were presented with small treats in the form of freshly baked madeleines.

A truly memorable meal and reasonably priced for the quality at approximately £230 for two including the wine pairing.  We were the last ones remaining due to us being the last sitting and all in all the experience lasted about 3 hours.  We even got the opportunity to talk to Chef Vicky at the end of the night who seemed very nice and was keen for our feedback.  He told us he has worked in Toronto and New York before Hong Kong.  A quick look on the website later showed that Chef has worked at the renowned Daniel in New York which he didn’t mention which shows how humble he was.  A definite return the next time we are in Hong Kong. 

26th Floor
11 Stanley Street
Hong Kong

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