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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Libertine French Dining Room

500 Victoria St
North Melbourne VIC 3051

Have you ever been to France? Have you ever eaten at paper covered French tables, candlelight and rich saucy foods? Degustation, verily? So too, you will find gourmet dining in the old tradition at the Libertine, with flock gold wallpaper upstairs under black chandeliers and a simple bar style atmosphere downstairs, it's a hard statement to beat. But be warned; degustation is the next door neighbour of disgustation... from too much food! I've read that death rates rise during boom times from access to excess, and after this visit I can believe it!!

Our visit to the Libertine was certainly a splendid affair. Jane and I were catching up with friends for a birthday (hello Fiona!) and I was pleasantly surprised to be going to a fancy place I'd never heard of yet again. Our wires got a little crossed, and we arrived half an hour before everyone else but the staff plied us liberally with the complimentary bubbles (not brut, qu'elle damage) so by the time the rest of the party arrived we were brimming over. Fantastic.

The menu was set (with four or so choices a course, by four courses) and the champers ran as long as the hors d'oeuvres lasted: duck liver pate, a single tortellini with a crab (?) filling in a purree de bonne femme, a savoury puff pastry with creme fraiche, maybe more?

Roll on the entree. It's a set price four courser, so I guess we'd best gird our loins and lay on. From onion soups with baked tops, rustic terrines to artistic piles of fish and ornamental works, lovely. White wine anyone?

Who's going with me on the game bird for two? She would be a game bird taking on Lachy and I, but I'm always up for a threesome. Oh my, it is rich! A partridge you say? And where is the pear accompaniement? Just the rich sauce, baked beetroot, et al? How's the steak? More red wine???

Oh, my godfather, that's done it. No more. What? There's dessert, fixed price? What did I order. The fruit. Phew... ah, baked apple pastries with cream and pastry. Coffee? No, I urp...

Oh, it's the birthday girl's night of nights, and there's follow up birthday cake! I...I can't eat another mouthful.
Oh, go on monsieur, it is only wafer thin!
Fuck off. I've had enough. Jeez, I'm going to have to take a stroll around the traffic lights. It's cold out here - freezing - but at least I'm upright and gravity is pulling the food down.

Take my advice. Order food as you need it if you get the rather impressive pleasure of dining at the Libertine. "Viva le France! Pass the Mylanta!!" I rate it six and a half tentacles out of eight.. no seven! Check them out at: