Last Friday M and I decided to go for a romantic ‘dinner and a movie’ date at the Barracks. Since I’ve heard so much about Libertine, the decision was pretty clear to give it a try. It’s also a place that looks absolutely beautiful from the road as you drive by, with it’s gorgeous fairy lights twinkling away. 

We do have a habit of eating fairly early. At most places this is a bit of a bonus, as it means we miss the rush and get awesome service. We wandered in at about 5:30 (half an hour after the place opened) and spoke to a very friendly barman. He advised that the girls were still getting tables ready, and to take a seat in the bar and have a drink until they were ready.  The lovely man also offered to just open up our bill early so we wouldn’t have to worry about paying just yet.   This did give us a chance to soak up the atmosphere of the place, which I can honestly say was amazing.  I ordered the signature cocktail (the Libertini) and was pretty impressed, especially at the speed with which it was made.

About 15 minutes after we got there a fairly unenthusiastic girl came over and sullenly advised us our table was ready.  We sat down at a somewhat secluded table near the back, but with a nice view of outside. Pretty much perfect for what we were after.  Opening the lovely soft leather-bound menus, the food looks incredible.  The not-so-happy hostess was replaced with a lovely waitress who explained the concept of the place to M without managing to sound condescending – bonus points.  

The first dish was the Libertine Fresh Rice Paper Rolls with Pork and Prawns ($15 for 4).  The waitress brought them over and again, explained to M in a friendly tone that you just wrap the lettuce around each roll and dip it in the sauce to eat it, again without making either of us feel like an idiot.  Mega awesome bonus points to you waitress lady!  The rolls were excellent, crisp and filled to bursting with tasty fillings.    The dipping sauce was so so.  I found it a little bland for my liking but M was very keen on it.

Our next dish was the Basket of Steamed Mushroom Dumplings ($14 for 4). This were served in a bamboo steamer with a dipping sauce in the middle.  I found these to be pretty good, and wished we’d ordered a double helping.    The dipping sauce pretty much just tasted like soy, which is  not a complaint.  It went really well with the dumplings. 

Our last dish was the Byron Bay Pork Belly with coconut caramel and sweet potato ($33) with a side of garlic and chilli green beans ($9).  To be honest, I was expecting a little more for our money.  When 6 tiny pieces of pork belly appeared on the plate, I was a bit disappointed.  That may however just be my unrealistic expectations.  I found the pork belly to just be OK, it wasn’t great, but wasn’t really awful either. Just OK.  However, the green beans were absolutely amazing. Crisp and beautiful, perfectly seasoned and just tasted incredible.  We polished off the entire serving without a moment of regret.  They actually managed to totally eclipse the pork belly, as well as all the other food we had there that night. 

my second cocktail of the night – The Vietnamese Lemonade. This tasted beautiful, and went down way too easily if you catch my drift 🙂

We did check out the dessert menu but made an executive decision to head to Moovenpick and get some ice-cream instead.  The desserts just weren’t very impressive I felt.  

Overall I felt the food was pretty good, apart from the disappointing and over-priced pork belly.


Service: 9/10 (this would have been a 10 but I had to knock it down for the hostess)

Food: 7 / 10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

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  1. Hi Tory,

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