No one enjoys a luxury brunch accompanied by several cocktails more than me. While there are lots of great options for brunch all around Itaewon, it’s hard to find one which has great food and great drinks. So when The Libertine Bar & Kitchen opened its doors I was very keen to give it a try.
The restaurant is sleek and smart, and full of clean lines while still remaining welcoming and friendly. It really evokes a New York kind of feeling. The whole place has a sense of occasion about it and make you feel as though you are going somewhere special.
With a decent sized bar with ample seating, it would also be a nice spot to enjoy a great drink after work.
The day menu is short and sweet offering up traditional brunch items with an eclectic twist. An Eggs Benedict (16,000) is an essential item for any brunch menu and at Libertine they got it absolutely spot on. I really couldn’t fault it. The eggs were cooked perfectly and the bacon was thick and tasty and an absolute cut above what is usually served. The star of the show really is the hollandaise though. By far the best I have had in Korea, it was so thick and creamy it was practically mousse like, it generously topped the eggs below. Served with the requisite side salad it’s the perfect brunch.
Being a Florentine fan myself we had to try the Eggs and Spinach (16,000). This was a nice twist on the classic. A large piece of toast topped with two perfectly poached eggs and topped with the mild spinach and cheese sauce. beautifully presented and effortlessly tasty it was nice to see this on the menu.
If you are a regular reader of my recipes, you know I am a fan of capresa salad, so when I saw the Grilled Watermelon Capresa salad (16,000) I just had to try it. Grilled wedges of fresh juicy watermelon, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and chili, drizzled with balsamic reduction and basil oil. It came with an olive crumble which I’m not sure added anything to the dish. I think I would have preferred some nice juicy olives instead of this slightly pretentious crumble but I still enjoyed the dish immensely.
There was no way I could leave without trying the LBK Burger(18,000). I wasn’t a fan of the usually well regarded burger at the head chef’s former restaurant Scout, so I felt in need to give this one a go to make sure. It was much more satisfying. A medium cooked burger, tasty soft bun, cheese, homemade ketchup and salad. It almost warranted a small Mmm. Not the best burger ever but it was good and I would order it again, despite the fact it’s messy and does fall apart as you eat it. I also enjoyed the cute fries in their small basket. Although some homemade ketchup or aioli might be nicer instead of the regular stuff.
The drinks menu is just as good as the food. They have all the traditional brunch cocktails like Bloody Marys and Mimosas, as well as various other more inventive libations for those who need hard liquor in the morning. Brunch is a time to get drunk and eat good food and you can do it in spades here. Each drink that I have tried, has been mixed expertly with a subtle, excellent balance of flavours that have been thoughtfully picked out.
In particular we were fond of the lemongrass infused gin, sorbet martini, and LBK lemonade. My only complaint is that the drinks service is a bit slow, especially the first time we visited, when our food came a good 10 minutes before our drinks which is a particular pet peeve of mine. If they could get those drinks coming out a little faster it would be a 10/10 for me.
The Libertine Bar & Kitchen is located at 141-8 Itaewon. To get their take a train to Itaewon station (line 6) Come out of exit 3 and turn back on yourself and take a left walking down the furniture street past Taco Bell, and Bulldogs restaurant. Keep going straight until you reach The Libertine on the ground floor. You can call them on 02-790-9477 or check out their facebook page for more information.