With a giant bar the main focus of the downstairs dining room, customers can expect a noisy and boisterous experience. Soft rock (think Coldplay, Hooberstank) is piped over a state-of-the-art sound system and the room is filled with groups of young professionals chowing down merrily. The tables are close to each other enough that not only should you hope your neighbours’ witticisms are amusing but you can also expect a few jostles and nudges from the passing wait staff. The dining room upstairs, soothing with its cream-coloured motif and muted lighting promises a more mature and sedate dining experience. There is also a private dining room where tables made of whole tree trunks take up centre stage.
Slightly more down-home than Chef Makoto Ono’s private kitchen, Liberty Private Works, the menu is based on comfort foods done up with fancy ingredients: for example, the PB&J sandwich here comes with foie gras and blueberry coulis. For appetisers, the Caesar salad (HK$78) is enjoyable with big chunks of proper bacon and thin slices of crunchy crostini as croutons. Be warned though, the salad is not for those with a delicate palate as it is both aggressively seasoned and a tad over-dressed. Oysters are delivered every day and fresh enough to be enjoyed on their own, although the horseradish vinaigrette is a nice touch. For the mains, the duck breast portion of the Duck Duck Goose (HK$185) is perfectly cooked, with wilted spring onions on top that make the dish. The duck confit and goose liver risotto, on the other hand, (the other Duck and Goose part of the dish) doesn’t make the best use of duck confit and contains barely a trace of goose liver. The braised short rib (HK$208) is quite frankly Flintstone-sized and intimidating. The homemade barbecue sauce is delicious, but the meat itself could be more tender. The ginger potato salad on the side is not the best; resembling a forgotten, cold and under-seasoned mash. For dessert, the Charlie Brown (HK$68) is fantastic: the chocolate brownie has the texture of a particularly delicate cupcake and combined with the honeycomb ice-cream, toffee sauce and candied walnuts, is heavenly.
A compact wine list since the main focus is on whiskies here. There are Belgian beers on tap and bottled beers from America. A large selection of martinis with flavours such as Valrhona chocolate, blood orange, lychee, spiced apple and espresso will suit the ladies.
Friendly and enthusiastic, but with kinks that require ironing out. When we arrived, there was no record of our reservation in the books, but the maître d’ was quick to seat us anyway. The waiters could be better versed about the menu; when we asked what type of oysters were available, our waiter was astonished that we would like to know the varietal in addition to the country they were from.
Dinner for two will be about $800 and up, excluding wine.