Liberty Private Works (HK)

I think guys who can cook are sexy. There’s just something about their confidence and how they know their way around a kitchen (which might extend to other important areas) that gets me. And when they unleash inner creativity like Vicky Cheng has with Hong Kong’s hottest private kitchen – Liberty Private Works (LPW), it just blows the mind away.

LPW has just moved into their new premise on Stanley Road – a small trendy space on the 26th floor which has an amazing view of Soho. The concept of an open kitchen remains. Diners sit around a U-shaped bar while watching the lively kitchen action – I love how energetic the chef and his team are, they clearly cook with passion and pride.

We were greeted with warm and efficient service the moment we stepped in. Our reservation for 8.30pm was a tad late and the bar (sits maybe 20 pax?) was almost full. The crowd was definitely beautiful (as were Rosemary and me muhahaha *blush*) and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Excellent.

They allow BYO with no corkage charge (up until the end of October) so Rosemary and I sipped the Riesling I BYO-ed while waiting to be fed. We couldn’t get enough of the crackers they served with the delicious guacamole-like dip. Pure bliss, chilling out with one of my dearest girl friends! Babe, you are truly excellent company I feel totally at ease with.

The amuse bouche we had – a tasting of peppers – was the prettiest, most elaborate amuse bouche I have ever had. Tasty too. We polished it off and twiddled our thumbs while waiting impatiently for the first starter.

Up next, we had a tuna espellete mayonnaise (something like a tuna tartar), topped with generous amount of caviar and crispy puff rice, paired with a frozen longan by the side. By the time I was done with this, I was already impressed. How did the chef create a medley of flavours like this? Loved it!

The second starter swept us away. OMG. From left to right, we had a piece of lobster poached in butter (sweet g*d), corn seared perfectly with corn puree, sauteed escargots and foam of lobster bisque, the last of which was such a tease – we want more…

Next came the scallop with braised enclave and truffle duet of white and dark chocolate emulsion. Now THIS was daring. Scallop with chocolate? So playful but it worked. It really did.

The caviar re-appeared in the next dish – they patiently explained it was oschetra caviar - ravioli with spinach, egg yolk and parmesan cream. “Burst the yolk”, Vicky urged. Gulp. That sounded so sexy.

The next dish married decadence of foie gras and a duck trio with beetroot, in again, chocolate sauce. This is one single dish I would go back to LPW for. Who knew chocolate could go with…. Everything?

Both Rosemary and I were stuffed by the time the last savory dish arrived. But who can say no to a perfectly done beef ribeye, potato bone marrow and sauteed brussel sprouts? I thought that beef was wayyy better than the one I had at Osteria Mozza.

You know girls. We have separate stomachs for dessert. Which was good, because they served not one, but two dessert courses. First up, an intricate palate cleanser of pineapple sorbet, rose poached peaches, dragon fruit and coconut soda. This was refreshing.

Second, we each had a warm chocolate cake with liquid caramel and malden salt. Not too sweet, rich quality chocolate, oozing goodness - I think I died and went to heaven. How can gluttony be a sin when it feels soo right?

When Rosemary and I walked out of LPW at 11.30pm, we were on a high. Not exactly floating, given how much we ate, but seriously, best (and most exciting dining experience ever!)

At HKD800 a pax, even with the current favorable SGD-HKD exchange rate, this dinner ain’t cheap. But I would go back time and time again. In a heart beat. If you are ever in Hong Kong, plan ahead. I’m lucky to have darling Rosemary who helped make our reservations wayyy in advance.

LPW is hands down my pick for “Favorite Restaurant of the Year.”