While some might say there are no bigger food-snobs that Hospitality employees – and usually I would agree – my Boss, is without a doubt, the biggest snob of all. So while I have listened intently (read: seething with jealousy) about his regular jaunts to Brisbane’s hot spots, no one was more surprised than me to find out that one of his current favorites was a Restaurant where the most expensive Main Course was only $35. I’m fairly sure that’s the average price for an entrée at Aria – another of his favourites by the way.
So after hearing time and time again how much he enjoyed this place - he’s been 12 times now – I finally bit the bullet and booked us a table to celebrate Hubby (finally) finishing his Apprenticeship.
Of course, being the food-addict that I am, I researched the Restaurant, read the menu and scoffed at their arrogance for calling one of their starters “Most Excellent”. But I’m not too big to admit that I ate my words – and most of the items on their menu - Libertine's is just fabulous.
We were impressed the moment we set foot inside – it was bucketing down with rain – and Libertine's was like an Oriental Oasis of mood lighting, super chic furnishings and opulent chandeliers – not exactly your average Vietnamese Restaurant. WOW.
We started with celebratory drinks – just one for me, I was driving – and they arrived quickly and just the way we like them. How you get your first drink is usually a good indicator of how the service will play out for the remainder of the night. With perfectly timed and executed drinks – I was feeling pretty good. Our waiter was great, in between taking orders and offering advice – he told us that the reason he left NZ was because he was sick of “being the only gay in the village” and that he was loving life in the Valley”. After a lot of grumbling about their being too many things we wanted – we finally decided on the Most Excellent Spring Rolls, Scallops with green mango and crispy taro, Organic Berkshire Pork Belly, Grilled Wagyu Grade 6 and a side of Wok tossed Bok Choi.
The Most Excellent Spring Rolls – I can only assume – were called that, because it was the most accurate description. They were simply divine and without a doubt, the best spring rolls I have ever had. It was almost an insult to call them spring rolls. They were super crisp and crunchy, cut on the diagonal so that you could see the perfectly julienne vegetables and shredded pork glistening inside. The dipping sauce was wonderfully sour and complemented them perfectly. I only managed to get half of a spring roll – before Hubby had his first bit – after that, any lessons in sharing went straight out the window.
My scallops were gorgeous – barely cooked through them were perfectly plump even if a little small – and the crisp taro was fantastic, giving that sexy crunch to the silky scallops… *drool*.
Bringing on the Mains, the Wagyu came out first and had definitely been over rested… it was cool… after a quick chat the waiter, a fresh one was sent out with the Pork – and it was perfectly Med-Rare, super tender and pre-carved for easy access to the dipping sauce. The Pork was everything you expect from the coronary inducing dish: sticky, tender, sweet… and moreish. Rice is rice – but the Bok choi was brilliant – and even inspired me to go out the next day and buy a massive bunch.
I’ve been the The Barracks before – and been burnt by their weird parking system – so unfortunately I was keeping an eye on the clock, and the time on my stamped ticket. Even with the waiters assurances that it had changed (I didn’t quite trust him!) and rushed hubby out the door after we had finished our Mains. We had spied the door to French Twist on the way in and I had promised Chocolate Éclairs for the trip home. That being said – and hence the name of my blog – we had a bad case of Eyes Bigger than Belly… we ended up having Movenpick Ice cream AND getting an Éclair each… Pigs!!
The Verdict: Most Excellent. Divine. Can’t wait to go back – we actually planned on taking the in-laws here for dinner, but as soon as we mentioned how good it was – they booked and went in the next night… and 3 more times the following fortnight.
My Recommendations: Definitely the Most Excellent Spring Rolls – even if they weren’t that good – surely you’d try them just because of the name? The Wagyu and the Pork Belly were sensational – and I will definitely order them again. Next time I’m going to try the Steamed Boston Bay Mussels…