Where: 37 Drake Street Freeman's Bay Auckland
Opening Hours: Lunch: Wed-Sun from noon, Dinner: Mon-Sun from 5pm
Phone: (07) 3367 3353
If you find yourself walking the grounds of the Barracks looking for a bite to eat, you may stumble upon a sunny courtyard, decked out with bright red tables and chairs, well-groomed shrubbery, shaded benches and bright hanging lanterns. This is the outdoor area and entrance to French-Vietnamese restaurant and bar Libertine.
Make your way inside and you will find the interior is even more inviting than the exterior. Not sparse or minimalist in the way of many Brisbane restaurants, neither is it ostentatious or homely. Instead, Libertine is done up in self-proclaimed 'French-colonial bordello style'. Warm mahogany colours, red-fringed lampshades, chandeliers dangling from high ceilings, ornate wallpaper and gold leaf accents combine to quite lavish effect.
Staff greet you at the door and once they have shown you to a table, are very ready to explain the menu, field any questions, and spruik the 'I'm Hungry!' meal option — $55 per person for seven of the chef’s chosen dishes.
The menu is broken down under various headings. 'Street Food' is made up of petite dishes like dumplings filled with either free-range chicken or seven mushrooms and water chestnuts with chilli soy. 'Share Dishes' like the lemongrass, lime and Asahi chicken with galangal chutney and tobacco onions will feed larger groups or appetites. 'Nibbles' (Hanoi eight-spiced popcorn chicken with sweet chilli mayo) and sides (baguette with whipped butter) are plentiful, and desserts include the intriguing sounding chocolate orange chiboust with salted choc orange ganache, sesame croquant and orange vanilla cream.
Though the food itself is outshone by the decor, for a convenient dinner before or after a movie at the Palace, Libertine easily fits the bill (especially on Movie Mondays when you can get a four-course banquet plus dessert and a movie ticket for $39 per person). A stone's throw from Suncorp Stadium, it is also a handy place for a pre/post-game tipple.
Currently Libertine hosts a live DJ on Sundays from 2.30pm–5.30pm, so with fun-sounding cocktails like Puff the Magic Snap Dragon (vodka, peach, lemon, Vietnamese mint, sparkling) and plenty of French and Australian wines, Libertine would be a pleasant place for Sunday afternoon drinks.
Good For Groups: