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So French, Libertine

By Donna Mah | China Daily | Updated: 2012-08-12 11:44

When a new restaurant opens in Hong Kong, one of the first questions people ask is, "What kind of food do they serve?" It's a question that reflects the plethora of dining options in Hong Kong. So when new French bistro Libertine opened recently, I wondered: "Why French food and not some other cuisine?"

Located in the Central district on the steep and relatively quiet Aberdeen Street south of Hollywood Road, Libertine is not exactly in the heart of all the action, but it's near enough.

So French, Libertine

With a rustic interior that features a big dark wood bar area with high ceilings, they are trying to transport the diner to a sleepy French town bistro. The atmosphere is pleasant and welcoming, but felt a little too slick, even with rounds of dark country bread lining the shelves. The entire front of the restaurant is a row of glass doors that open out onto the terrace, which makes it a good place for drinks after work and weekend brunch.

As for dinner, the dishes that made the biggest impression were the appetizers - pate de campagne and rillettes and warm fig and goat's cheese salad. The pate and rillettes were served with grilled country bread freshly baked daily in house.

It's a good hearty starter and would also be good as a snack with drinks.

The goat's cheese and figs were both warm and were good complements. The salad of mixed greens had a bit too much dressing on them, so if you order this, ask for less dressing or have it served on the side.

The main dish of grilled sea bass with pesto and crushed new potatoes was a bit overcooked, but the green pesto was fresh and went well with the fish. The half pan-roasted chicken with potatoes, onion, and bacon was tender and well seasoned. These dishes were recommended, but I think next time I will try one of my French favorites - steak frites with Bearnaise sauce.

As to why Libertine is a French and not, say, Italian, it seems that the French are flocking to Hong Kong and therefore there is a need to provide them with a taste of home. According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the French population has swelled by 60 percent since 2008, making it the biggest in Asia.


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