Finding a good spot for lunch in Hong Kong, especially in Central, can be overwhelming (what's up with this $200 + for a three-course executive set lunch situation? C'mon now people, this is lunch during the work week we're talking about). Since I'm basically a fat kid at heart, I'm a sucker for a good buffet and have thankfully stumbled upon another great find in Central for a weekday lunch pick-me-up: Libertine.
Libertine is no new kid on the block - it's been kickin' around Aberdeen Street since January 2012, offering those who are willing to walk up the steep incline from the Central MTR, in the sweltering humidity of a HK summer, a menu filled with unpretentious French bistro fare. Since we were only here for lunch, I can't comment on the food from their a la carte menu, but we did have a look at it and everything sounded simple yet delicious (I'd like that ox cheek bourguignon and mac & cheese with Gruyere in my mouth right now please).
Once inside, your eyes are instantly drawn to the large bar, boasting hundreds of bottles of spirits and, in our case, the ample amount of antipasti dishes. The rest of the restaurant is all open; unassuming wooden tables and chairs are seen throughout, making for a relaxed and casual meal. Though there was nothing that really stood out inside that made us go "wow", there was nothing not to like either. We thought that the few spots available for outdoor seating would be great to enjoy when you don't begin perspiring the second you step outdoors into the wall of summer smog.
The unlimited salad buffet ($88) was not only super-healthy, helping us to feel better about inevitably stuffing our faces, but the dishes were so flavourful!
We skipped the DIY salad and went straight for the good stuff: blue cheese, tomato and olive pesto pasta, chickpeas, broccoli, and squash couscous, Mexican bean salad, garlic green beans, potato salad, and salami (all of which, of course, can be found on my plate below). There were a few other options such as mussels if you fancy some seafood. Everything was so good, we just had to make a second trip to the salad bar!
If you're in the mood to have a main as well as the salad buffet, you can add it on as well as a dessert for a measly $38. Their main course options are an Angus Steak Baguette, Pumpkin & Thyme Risotto, Beer Battered Fish & Chips, and Rotisserie Spring Chicken. All of the options sounded delicious, but we settled on the risotto and the classic fish & chips.
For dessert, we were able to choose either a chocolate or lemon tart. We both opted for the chocolate tart, which was very rich and practically melted in your mouth. The pastry itself, however, was a bit too dense and bland, and didn't really match well with the intense creamy flavour of the chocolate.
Whether you go to Libertine for the unlimited salad bar or you add the main on, you'll be getting great food at a very reasonable price. The service is attentive, the restaurant is open and unpretentious, and the food is fresh, healthy, and delicious! Libertine is a great choice for an hour-long escape from the office at lunchtime.
Libertine / 27 Aberdeen Street / Central / Hong Kong