26/F, Stanley 11, Stanley Street, Central
Liberty Private Works sits on the top floor of the Stanley 11 Building, seating only a handful of diners at 7.30pm, then 8.30pm, every day. When you make a commitment to LPW (because let’s be clear: it is a commitment, not simply a reservation), you sign yourself off to a whole evening at the culinary circus. From 7.30 to close to midnight, you and only a few others are privy to the French technical theatrics of Chef Vicky Cheng’s carefully crafted menu, the broad strokes of edible genius that fly across the plate, the excruciating, painstaking details masterfully executed with almost contortionist flair, and hopefully, as time passes, a few memorable moments to be savoured on the palate.
However, like the circus, four hours watching chefs work the culinary acrobatics, juggling two sets of diners and making a show of it, can drag on a fair bit.. One scan around the private kitchen’s honestly rather bored-looking diners at 10pm made me feel like I wasn’t the only one simply lacking patience – that this occasion was protracted almost to the point of pompousness. Chef Vicky Cheng is a star in HK, I don’t think anyone can deny this – his extensive Michelin-starred resume and tutelage under Daniel Boulud show in the food and presentation of LPW – so perhaps then the words ‘less is more’ might work in his favour. We don’t need hours of proof – we get it! You have fun now.
Plans to return? Hmm, I’m sure I’d get more fidgety the second time around… but a tasting menu at $800 is incredibly reasonable, and LPW is a unique dining experience in Hong Kong that I don’t think should be passed up. This might sound like sacrilege, but I really wish there was some kind of ‘Liberty Express’ where one could sit down for just an hour, say – maybe even two – to enjoy some of Chef Vicky’s creations from LPW. I guess Liberty Exchange is meant to cut it close.
As we were waiting for the late diners (who comes late to a group sitting?!), we tucked into some crispy bread ‘sticks’ and a roasted red pepper dip.