Libertine Restaurant and Bar – French Vietnamese in Brisbane

Our anniversary is on Valentine’s Day. Cringeworthy, I know! Anyway, we normally celebrate it either side of Valentine’s Day and as one of our favourite places, the Libertine Restaurant and Bar, was putting on a cheaper banquet the Tuesday before, we were in! The Libertine dishes up French Vietnamese in Brisbane at the end of Caxton Street. It had been a while since our last visit, although our expectations were still high…

This was probably our sixth visit to the Libertine, as we’ve been visiting on and off since 2017. Surviving Covid with aplomb, it’s safe to say the Libertine is going pretty strong! Additionally, entering the Libertine just the other night, it was evident neither the décor nor the service had changed too much, which, at least in our minds, was a good thing.  

The Atmosphere

One thing I enjoy about the Libertine is the location and venue. Located at the top of Caxton Street in the historical Barracks precinct, the Libertine Restaurant and Bar sits in a lively quarter on the outskirts of the CBD. Yet, it’s not too lively. There’s a spacious alfresco area filled with plants, long benches and a bar upon entry. Here you wait to be seated if you’re heading inside (which is what we typically do).

The outdoor courtyard
The entrance to the Libertine Restaurant and Bar

Inside the restaurant has high ceilings adorned with bright chandeliers, subtle shade lighting in the corner, bench booths, and a stylish bar showing off its alcohol in retro fashion. The high ceilings add to the feeling of spaciousness, and even though we were seated alongside three other couples, we didn’t feel cramped. It was a quieter Tuesday night, which was what we wanted, yet there was still enough life within to make it feel cosy and not awkward.

A bit quiet on this night
The Libertine Restaurant and Bar has a cool bar to lounge at

The Service & Drinks – The Libertine Restaurant and Bar

The service has been consistently good in our experience and things got off to a strong start. Our waiter was attentive, friendly and made us feel relaxed anytime we were umming and ahing. Although I must say, it was pretty easy for our waiter tonight, as we were eating the Tuesday night set banquet (more on that shortly). Still, there were drinks to be had and we ordered a bottle of Ant Moore Gris from New Zealand, which kicked us off on a dry but smooth journey of indulgence.

Our Pinot Gris went down a treat

This was to our liking and I noticed the waiter put it in an ice bucket on a table at the back (as we were sitting closely to others). Any concerns I had about top-up delays were soon erased, as our waiter had that sixth sense that good waiters do. It seemed a moment after we finished our glass he would materialise and top us up without making us feel like the middle-aged drunks that we are. The Libertine Restaurant and Bar was putting on yet another fun night for us.  

The service is consistently good at the Libertine

The bar also has an extensive wine and cocktail list, along with a decent selection of beers.

Eating style

We love the food at the Libertine Bar and Restaurant, as the plates are varied and typically shared, which creates a convivial atmosphere – a bit like we were back in Spain. The food is also novel, yet consistently tasty. Dishes like the chill aubergine, the smashed potatoes, mushroom bahn, and Hokkaido scallops have kept us coming back for more. Having a French twist on Vietnamese food is slightly novel for Brisbane and provides some much-needed spice at the end of Caxton Street.

Dietary Requirements

As I mentioned, we’d booked the Tuesday night seven-course banquet, which is a little cheaper than the Valentine’s Day banquet, but from our experience we couldn’t lose. Another good thing, at least for us, is that the majority of the food at the Libertine Restaurant and Bar is gluten-free, as my partner is gluten intolerant.

The gluten-free option of our ‘king prawn croissant’, served in a lettuce cup

I’m also a pescetarian and as there are a lot of vegetarian and seafood items on the menu, this place caters for us weirdos wonderfully. We ordered the seven-course banquet to be both gluten-free and pescetarian. If you have any dietary requirements, the Libertine Restaurant and Bar will do their best to accommodate.  

The Food – French Vietnamese in Brisbane

We kicked off our seven-course anniversary banquet adventure with the kingfish ceviche, which was marinated in lemongrass-infused coconut cream and green chilli dressing, and drizzled with lemon palm. We had a heap of Pommes Allumettes to go with it. This dish was light, fragrant and paired well without our Pinot Gris. Check out my video at the end for some ceviche action!

Our kingfish ceviche

The next course was a king prawn croissant, and the prawns were mixed with lemon mayo, chives, Aleppo pepper and dill. Nikki had this in a lettuce leaf as the gluten-free option. This was tangy, interesting, but nothing outstanding, yet I was having a lot of fun at this point so enjoyed it nonetheless.

The king prawn croissant

The next course was the Moreton Bay Bug Toast, which was basically Moreton Bay bugs squashed and sculpted into toast and heaped with lime mayo, sesame seeds, sugarloaf cabbage and topped with mint. This was a classic Libertine Restaurant and Bar dish for me – a savoury, novel experience with an exotic twang that had its own subtle stamp on it. It totally worked and I loved this with our pinot gris.

The Moreton Bay Bug Toast was a savoury adventure that was very Libertine!

The next course was the papaya salad – which had green beans, cherry tomatoes and tamarind som tum mixed together. On the side of this was a bowl of dry roasted shrimp with fresh chilli and cracked peanut, which I sprinkled liberally over the salad. This was very Vietnamese and it went well with the muggy February weather. I love how light Vietnamese food tastes!

Our papaya salad

Our next dish was stir-fry roasted vegetables – brussel sprouts, broccoli and green beans mixed with crushed garlic, soy and oyster sauce, double cream brie and black truffle oil. This was an interesting combo of French and Vietnamese and while I’m not a big fan of brussel sprouts, these were stir-fried to perfection – that crisp, green snap that reminds you you’re having fresh, healthy food – and with a charred pan flavour.

Loved that light pan char on the stir fry veg

The last two courses include some of my favourite food of all time and I felt it was a touch British, which the British in me (I’m half British) loved. Good ole fish & chips! Howver, it was slightly gourmet, as it was succulent barramundi pan-roasted with ginger, soy, spring onion, sesame, chilli and lemon. This was then served with crispy, ‘smashed’ potatoes, which came with a hickory mayo.

Our barramundi was the definite highlight

I love The Libertine Restaurant and Bar’s rustic take on spuds, and the fish was tender, so mouth-wateringly agreeable with just that hint of Vietnam. This was definitely the highlight of the meal for me. I love my fish and chips, particularly if it’s fabulously cooked – like this was!

Fish & chips!

Well, at this point we were in a blissful stupor, happy that the Libertine Restaurant and Bar was still consistently good and it was our anniversary. I wasn’t missing my 13-year-old or my dog in the slightest!

My Thoughts Overall

We love coming to the Libertine Restaurant and Bar. We’ve been here on and off for the last seven years and not only is it still here, it’s still good! Additionally, the restaurant and bar doesn’t break the bank yet provides a quality experience in a cosy, stylish setting. We reflected, after eating at the pricier Spanish Moda across the way not long ago, that the Libertine is just a good go-to and good value.

Pay it a visit if you haven’t already!

A Few Fast Facts

  • The Libertine Restaurant and Bar is located in the Barracks Shopping Centre, just at the bottom end of Paddington on the outskirts of the CBD.
  • The restaurant and bar opens for lunch and dinner Friday to Sunday and dinner only Tues to Thursday. The restaurant does close fairly early so check before you book!
  • The Libertine Restaurant and Bar has excellent gluten-free and vegetarian options on its menu. Additionally, the restaurant caters for different dietary requirements. Contact the restaurant to find out more.
  • The restaurant has a few banquet specials, such as their ‘Tuesday Night Folie’ (which is what we had), ‘Long Lunch & ‘Pre-Concert Dinner’. Enquire to find out the latest offerings.
  • The Libertine caters for large groups.
  • The Libertine Restaurant and Bar is located within walking distance to the CBD, the Caxton Street district and the Palace Barracks Cinemas, so you could totally make a night of it here!
  • The Libertine is also within walking distance to Roma Street Station, so is accessible via train and bus. There’s even underground parking adjacent to the restaurant.

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