Liberty Private Works | Hong Kong
Liberty Private Works offers a unique and cozy dining experience with only 26 seats around a U-shaped bar which gives you a front row seat into the actions of the open kitchen with the staff preparing everything right in front of you. Located on the 26/F, the restaurant provides limited views of buildings in Central through its floor-to-ceiling glass panes but it's okay - you'll be too busy gawking at the kitchen anyways. Reservation was pretty painless as it is done online and I was able to get a spot on a week night the week before with 2 seating times at 7:30pm or 8:30pm to choose from.
The menu is simple with only one degustation of 10 courses for $900 per person along with half and full wine pairings for $480 and $680 respectively. The full wine pairing with 7 glasses was a bit too much for me so I opted for the half pairing with 3 glasses instead.
Before the food arrived, we had a little fun with this ensemble where you pour the tube of cold water into the paper towel and watch it grow!
Our amuse bouche of the night was a creamy dipping sauce with mussel along with some grissini breadsticks. The sauce was light enough to be appetizing and served its purpose well but the breadsticks were less than spectacular as they were a bit hard and one of them even seemed stale.
Oyster, Chinese Flavors (4.5/5) - our first course was a raw oyster inspired by Chinese flavors with bits of crunchy fish skin, green onion, ginger along with a drop of red vinegar. The intricate flavors and contrasting textures all worked together cohesively and gave us a glimpse into the chef's understanding and mastery of his ingredients and flavors.
Tuna, Sea Urchin, Espelette Rice (5/5) - one of the signature dishes here and boy was it a treat! We were instructed to start from the frozen grape and end with the longan which served as palate cleansers, but the star of the dish was of course the sea urchin on top of the tuna tartare surrounded by cucumbers and crunchy rice. The uni was very creamy and sweet and while the tuna tartare was slightly spicy, it didn't overwhelm the delicate flavors of the uni at all.
King Crab, Green Curry, Pomelo, Thai Asparagus (5/5) - the chef not only demonstrated his cooking skills but also his artistic visions with this dish. The presentation was elaborate with pieces of asparagus, onions, and jalapeno sticking up on a slab of green curry bed with a crab and pomelo salad underneath it. I was most impressed with the green curry cream which did not feel solid or thick at all but rather blended quick well with the crab to make you feel like you are actually eating real green curry. Ever the skeptic of Asian fusion, we felt that this dish was everything that Bo Innovation was not but should have been.
Sea Bream, Clay, Fig, Sumac (3.5/5) - traditionally baked in clay, the sea bream was paraded around to us before serving. I was a bit disappointed with the serving size of my fish whose flavors were also overwhelmed by the rich sauce on top. The accompanying sides of shiso, yogurt, fig and chutney were pleasant enough but nothing was really binding everything together to make one cohesive dish.
Egg, Truffle, Parmesan, Caviar (4.5/5) - another signature dish here that is designed to impress with its generous serving of caviar on the egg yolk ravioli while surrounded with Parmesan foam and truffle oil. As told, we broke the ravioli to release the egg yolk to allow it to mix with everything before eating. The resulting flavors were heavenly and exquisite while the only drawback was that the skin of the ravioli was a bit too tough.
Chicken, Oyster, Shitake Mushroom, Snap Pea (4/5) - this dish was very similar to the chicken dish at NUR with layers of chicken nestled inside each other while paired with oyster. While the chicken was good, I have to say that I think the chicken at NUR's was slightly better in terms of its juiciness but I also appreciated the painstaking efforts of preparing this dish here as the staff pretty much arranged every pea and mushroom one by one.
Beef, Peach, Tomato, Watercress (5/5) - I loved our last savory dish of the night as the beef was very tender and easily pulled apart while the quail egg, peach, tomato and watercress sauce balanced the flavors perfectly.
Raspberry, Lemon, Pistachio (5/5) - our first dessert generated lots of "oohs" and "aahs" as they doled out heaps of pink raspberry crunchies engulfed in dry ice. I loved all the different flavors and textures of the dessert but the surprising highlight was the condense milk mochi which was simply wondrous to eat! How they managed to take such a cheap ingredient and incorporated into this fabulous dessert was just genius.
Brown Butter, Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Hazelnut (4.5/5) - compared to the first dessert, the second one seemed more tame and safe but still it was all around wonderful. Who wouldn't want this heavenly combination of velvety rich, sweet and salty sensation in their mouth!
Warm Madeleine (3.5/5) - the last item is another signature staple on their tasting menu. The tiny madeleine was cute but I thought it was a bit dry and could have been more flavorful. If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary (which a lot of people were), this is the dish where they write the words for you and I have to say that they did a friggin good job with the calligraphy!
If you thought this was another wet towel, think again. They wanted to end with what they started with - but with a twist. This is actually our petite fours of the evening - a piece of marshmallow and a tube of watermelon consomme.
Verdict - this is one of the best dining experience I've had in Hong Kong to date! The food was top-notch as you can tell that the chef has put a lot of thought into the dishes and it shows in the impressive presentation and execution. The service was very friendly while the staff was knowledgeable with the food and wine being served. LPW is an awesome experience for sure but while being able to observe the open kitchen certainly sounds like fun, it may not be suited for everyone as the high chairs at the bar were not the most comfortable things to sit in through a 10 course meal.
26/F, 11 Stanley Street, Central
+852 5186 3282
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