Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Asian Flavors at Liberty Kitchen + Brew

Skewers, baos, noodles, rice, sliders, and cocktails executed with a distinct Asian spin...

Chef Jonvic Mangibin brings his unique Asian touch to Eastwood Citywalk with Liberty Kitchen + Brews, the newest bar in Eastwood City drawing inspiration from the rich and diverse flavors of Asian cuisine. The wide array of dishes, all reasonably priced, offer excellent value with bold and vibrant Asian flavors. And that's always a winning combination...

Located at Eastwood Citywalk 1, Liberty Kitchen + Brew (L) is described by Chef Jonvic Mangibin (R) as an "Asian refuge," where the richness of Asian flavors converge in a variety of dishes, from skewers, baos, salads, noodles, rice, and even cocktails and desserts (for more on Chef Jonvic Mangibin, see my previous post here). 

And the result is a vibrant tapestry of Asian flavors, from starters to mains and desserts. And yes, cocktails too, each one reflecting the Asian culinary style of Chef Jonvic Mangibin. Liberty Kitchen + Brews' Tuna Tostada (P 220), with fresh tuna, watermelon, and lardo drizzled with house chili mayo, sets the tone for my meal, with contrasting and vibrant notes. The red onions add a layer of sharpness to balance the rich notes. At the second floor dining area, the open kitchen lay-out behind the bar allows you to take a peek as each dish is prepared. Dining at Liberty Kitchen + Brews can be a liberating experience, it's cuisine without borders at it's best, blending seamlessly in each of the signature dishes by Chef Jonvic Mangibin. 

Take Liberty Kitchen + Brews' deceptively simple French Beans (P 99), crisp battered deep-fried French beans with salted egg mayo and lime. Chef Jonvic Mangibin transforms the crisp vegetable into a tasty treat, capped with the rich and creamy salted egg mayo punctuated by hints of lime. The natural crispness of the green beans are amplified by the crunchy batter, with its mildly sweet notes contrasting with the salted egg mayo and lime dip. 

Chef Jonvic Mangibin's "Asian refuge" concept becomes evident in the next round of dishes, starting with the Smoked Fish Salad (P 147), fresh greens topped with tinapa buttermilk and caesar dressing. The crisp greens are infused with the smoky notes of the tinapa, combining for comforting and familiar flavors. 

The rich play on sweet and tart, mildly salty with a little heat, the full range of sensory notes is showcased in the signature dishes at Liberty Kitchen + Brews, featuring a delicate balance of contrasting flavors. 

The Wagyu Tartare (P 250), with bone marrow and kimchi relish is another dish with distinct Asian notes, with the kimchi relish balancing the richness of the bone marrow. The tender Wagyu beef just melts in your mouth, capped by the buttery notes of the bone marrow. The dish comes with crisp toast, perfect for scooping up the marrow and a side salad for a balanced starter. 

At Liberty Kitchen + Brews, you can enjoy your meal with one of their innovative cocktails, infusing Asian flavors and local ingredients for that distinct Asian touch. The cocktails receive the same refreshing Asian spin for something new and different. Better yet, drop by for Thirsty Thursdays with all cocktails for only P 99. Or Whiskey Wednesdays for Jack Daniel's by the bottle (P 1,900) or shot (P 99) to beat the mid-week hump.

The list of inventive cocktails include the Asian Sour (P 130 L) with sake, vodka, guyabano and dalandan; and the Guava Tonic (P 130 R), with rum, guava jam and mint. Need a matcha shot? Go for the Matcha Breath (P 150 R) with sake, peppermint and matcha topped with a creamy foam. 

Looking for a cocktail with a mildly spicy kick? The Spicy Mojito (P 130 L) is the one for you, with the deep rounded notes of spiced rum blended with pepper honey, lime and soda water. And my personal favorite, the Liberty Water (P 130 R), a soothing blend of sake, vodka, yuzu, and tonic water, cleanses the palate with every sip. 

A duo of Liberty Kitchen + Brews' signature baos were then served, the Fried Chicken Bao (P 99), with crisp marinated breaded chicken thigh meat, Sriracha mayo, and cabbage slaw; and the Miso Pork Belly Bao (P 99), with juicy pork belly topped with apple and pear kimchi, honey miso, and toasted nuts. The crispy fried chicken, draped in creamy and spicy Sriracha mayo and coleslaw deliver contrasting notes and rich textures with every bite, while the delicate flavors of the pork belly are punctuated by the sweet and mildly salty miso, the sweet apple and pear kimchi, and toasted nuts. There's just so much flavor packed in these pillow-soft baos, which are made in-house. 

Liberty Kitchen + Brews offers more small bites with big flavors. The Liberty Burger (P 110), with premium Angus beef patty draped with house barbecue sauce and kesong puti, is a light snack that pairs well with the cocktails. The beefy notes are complimented by the sweet and smoky barbecue sauce and the creamy kesong puti, with the sharpness of the pickled shallots tempering the richness of the slider for balanced notes.  

Then, it's time for another round of cocktails, with the Mt. Fuji (P 150 L), with vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple-sec, and fuji apples; and the aptly named Godzilla (P 110 R), a creamy matcha latte with vodka and sake, each one pairing well with the next round of dishes...

Liberty Kitchen + Brews signature skewers were then served, with each order served with two skewers. Like the Corn Skewer (P 85) rubbed with Asian spices and seasonings; and the Chicken Meatballs (P 90) topped with spring onions. Liberty Kitchen + Brews' selection of skewers are the perfect bar chow paired with cocktails, savory bites with bold flavors. The Chicken Meatball is juicy and richly seasoned, and the Corn Skewer offers a different take on the usual corn-on-the-cob with Asian spices. Other Vegetable skewers include Eggplant, Tofu, and Mushrooms

And there's more. Liberty Kitchen + Brews' open kitchen whipped up their other grilled signature skewers, like Chicken Wings (P 80) grilled with a sweet and smoky glaze, adding layers of flavor with each bite.  Other chicken skewers include Chicken Skin, Gizzard, Liver, and Corazon (heart). 

I've always enjoyed the combination of miso and pork, and this pairing is done perfectly with Liberty Kitchen + Brews' savory Miso Pork Belly (P 99).  This one also pairs well with their line of cocktails like the Liberty Water. Other pork and beef skewers include Pork Face, Bacon, Beef & Pork, and Ox Tongue.

With Lent just around the corner, Liberty Kitchen + Brews also offers seafood skewers like the Tuna Skewer (P 180), simply squeeze some lemon to perk up the fresh and clean flavors of the tuna...

...and the Black Cod Skewer (P 195) topped with pickled shallots. The sharpness of the pickled shallots combines well with the creamy notes of the premium black cod for balanced flavors. Other seafood skewers include Salmon, Shrimp, and Baby Squid.

And if you still can't decide what to order, go for the Chefs Platter (P 430) with eight skewers, two skewers each of chicken, meat, seafood, and vegetable for a tasty sampler, just perfect with a few rounds of cocktails by the bar.  

But if you think Liberty Kitchen + Brews only offers light meals and snacks, think again. The Honey Pork & Spicy Rice (P 225) should satisfy any hefty appetite, with tender and juicy slow-cooked pork belly with fried duck egg and house kimchi on rice. It's a complete meal in itself with rich and bold flavors. Other rice dishes include Chicken & Egg, with roasted chicken breast, 63C egg, chicken skin, and tarragon vinegar; and Deep-Fried Thick Bacon with curry rice, red bean sauce and coleslaw. 

A comforting bowl of noodles just makes any day feel so much better, and Liberty Kitchen + Brew has just the right stuff to make your day right. The Smoked Beef Brisket (P 245), with tender beef brisket, mustard greens, 63C egg, meat jus and egg noodles is hearty and comforting, with every component of the dish combining for a perfect bowl of noodles. Other noodle options include Roasted Chicken Soup, Spicy & Sour Soup, and Clams & Bacon.  

For dessert, cap your meal with some creative desserts infused with Asian flavors, like the elegant Cheesecake (P 130), topped with black sesame crumbs...

...or the wittingly named Matchamacallit (P 120), with matcha chocolate and torched meringue on peanut butter crisps. At Liberty Kitchen + Brews, you get a refreshing burst of flavor in the Eastwood food scene for a new dining experience. Try something new and different, at Liberty Kitchen + Brews... 

Liberty Kitchen + Brew is located at Eastwood Citywalk 1, Eastwood City, Quezon City.

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