Friday, 26 April 2013


What: Libertine
Where:  500 Victoria St, North Melbourne VIC 3051

The final Restaurant Express lunch for 2013 was at this North Melbourne gem. Just up the road from the Queen Victoria Markets, this French restaurant is cute, quirky and charming with food is pleasing to the eye, the palate and even the wallet.

Légumes à la Provençale, pressed chèvre & olive soil: an elegantly plated combination of eggplant, tomatoes, eschallot and olive presented with a disk of herb encrusted crumbly chèvre. A refreshing delight for the eyes and the mouth, and the perfect start for a light lunch.

Grilled local octopus, pickled watermelon & candied pork belly: Tenderly grilled octopus with sweet and sour watermelon and crunchy pork belly pieces, served on an emulsion of something unidentifiably delicious with microherbs. An almost erotic combination of textures with a hint of danger and deliciousness.

Roasted Echuca pork, kipfler & caper salad, cider emulsion: Pan grilled pork with roasted kipflers, a salad of celery, eschallots, capers and parsley served with a sour cider emulsion. Although a little dry, the flavour of the pork shone through particularly when combined with the frothy sauce. The kipflers, cooked in duck fat and butter, were also a little on the dry side. Perhaps smaller potatoes or a longer boiling time before roasting? The salad added the perfect touch of saltiness to the dish.

Pineapple bavarois, mango sorbet & poppy seed tuile:  For those who don’t know, a bavarois is similar to a panna cotta and this one was a perfect tropical treat to end a refreshing meal. The intensely flavoured sorbet contrasted  with the creamy bavarois.

2010 Fowles “490 metres” Pinot Noir

Explosive! The first latte made for me shattered, sending safety glass tinkling on the floor. Dealt with professionally and perfectly by the two waiters, a new latte was whipped up. And delicious it was too.

I can’t wait to go back. Although the pork was a little dry the meal pleased every sense and was perfectly timed to a lunch hour. I salivate over the idea of returning for the Autumnal menu.

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