Libertine Restaurant at The Barracks, Paddington is a fusion of French and Vietnamese Cuisine. We checked it out one Saturday at lunch time and were a bit underwhelmed by the experience.
The interior is impressive and definitely makes a statement and the service is friendly and prompt. There are a lot of tables and they seem to be able to cater well for a large group.
The menu is split into two – street food and shared dining so we picked a few items that would be appropriate for a late lunch.
To start we ordered off the “street food” menu so we had Wild Pepper Leaf Roll Up with coconut-poached bay prawns & lime segments and trout pearls. These were $7.50 each. We had initially assumed there was at least two to the serve having not read the menu properly – $7.50 seemed a little steep for one. Anyhow, we went ahead and ordered the second. When they arrived they were completely different sizes – one being near impossible to “roll up”. The leaf was very crunchy – it felt like we were trying to munch on a strong tree leaf- which made it a bit unpleasant and the prawn meat was way too cold – the flavour combination was perfect but it just didn’t seem to present too well.
Still on the street food menu we tried the Basket of Steamed Mushroom Dumplings ($14 for 4) these were nice enough with a strong mushroom flavour – there didn’t appear to be any other flavours going on inside with the mushroom which might have made it a little more interesting.
On the shared dishes menu we ordered the Byron Bay Pork Belly with coconut caramel and sweet potato ($33). I’m a massive pork belly fan – I cook it often, friends cook it often plus I always order it when I see it on the menu. This time I wish I didn’t. Expecting morsels of fatty goodness the long strips were lacking in caramel and were quite dry with no crunchy top layer. It was hard to eat one slice. Pork Belly is fatty meat. If I’m going to eat it – I want it to be mouth watering and full of flavour and texture. I found this quite bland and I was too busy thinking -
1. I needed to do some sit ups and then a 5k run and
2. What a shame the rest was going to waste…but I couldn’t stomach eating more if I have to be honest.
Last we had the Oven Roasted Hanoi Chicken with spring onion & ginger puree ($26 for 4 portions per serve). This was probably the favourite – nicely flavoured skin, and beautifully soft flesh but by this time I was feeling ill thinking about the random piece of fat in my stomach and so I struggled to enjoy the chicken as much as I probably could have. The chicken was very street style and it was nice enough but it wasn’t ground breaking.
I would like to go back at dinner service and try the other meals on the menu – there have been some good reviews and there were some nice sounding items on the menu but what we experienced on that Saturday lunch time, in my opinion, was something quite dull and overpriced.
Coz Rating out of 5
No. 5, The Barracks. 61 Petrie Terrace
Paddington, QLD 4064