Auckland’s newest establishment, the Libertine in Freemans Bay, is anything but conformist.
Nestled above Victoria Park Market, this new bar and eatery takes its cue from the Americas, but with an Antipodean twist.
A play on a term used to describe a person devoid of moral restraints and who values physical pleasures, the Libertine offers what it describes as “sinfully good, free-thinking food and drink” in inspired surroundings.
From the huge tree that sits centre place in the bar, to the private dining area and eclectic music and DJs, this freethinking philosophy means doing things a bit differently and in a less structured way.
Guests can sit and order from anywhere within the space - plates to share in the dining area, mains at the bar. With no staff uniforms the service is relaxed, but still very attentive.
At the bar, spirits - gold, white and dark - take pride of place. There’s an interesting mix of American whiskeys and bourbons on offer, along with rums and rhum agricoles from the French islands and other hard to find spirits.
There’s also strong focus on beer with an eclectic range of imports and local beers and five on tap including the Libertine’s own Albemarle Pale Ale.
Named after the Albemarle Club, a private members’ club founded in 1874 by Oscar Wilde and rocked by scandal in 1895 when the Marquess of Queensberry burst in demanding to find and lock up Oscar, a notable libertine of the ages.
From the kitchen, guests can choose from an extensive Central and South American inspired menu of plates to share and individual offerings.
The large selection of plates to share includes jambalaya arancini, soft shell crab with bouillabaisse dipping sauce and curried goat croquettes with mango chutney. Entrees include baked oysters, Atlantic scallops with chorizo succotash, and crab cake with smoked chipotle crème fraiche, coriander and candied lemon.
For those after something more substantial, a rotisserie offers a changing selection of meats from Monday’s sweet spiced duck with ginger orange carrots, spiced pumpkin puree and citrus jus, to midweek suckling pig and venison, to Sunday’s leg of lamb.
With plenty for meat lovers, mains include your choice of prime rib, Wakanui sirloin or Angus eye fillet with a Cajun, chimi churri or smoked tomato baste and mixed capsicum caponata. A chargrilled pork belly comes with fennel and apple slaw and angle hair potato, and fish options include a smoked paprika tempura market fish with okra chips and capsicum and corn tartare.