Our love for Libertine: Auckland's latest go-to bistro

[gallery link="file" ids="4121,4122,4124"] Words by Lauren Matilda Matthews from The Kitchen Collective. I suppose this happens to all food writers - incessant calls from friends, family and that guy Bob you met once last year, asking advice on where to eat. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve received one of these calls, I’d have a cool $42. Having said that, after recently trying the new menu at slick eatery 'Libertine', I now hear it popping out of my mouth as the number one most common new recommendation. 'Try Libertine, I like it there.' What do I like about Libertine? I like the floor-to-ceiling brick walls, cheerfully lit up by artfully placed lighting. I like the luxurious leather booths. I like being able to watch the hustle and bustle of the kitchen thanks to its open plan. I like the attentive, not to mention extremely knowledgeable staff. But, what I like the most is the food. Chef Sean Marshall has made a bit of a name for himself since making his way to Auckland from the windy capital a few years ago. Working in esteemed kitchens such as Everybody’s and Roxy, he won Metro’s ‘Dish of the Year’ in 2012. Now, he’s taken the reigns of Libertine, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike. If you’ve been to Libertine before, you’d remember a loose American themed menu, tacos, and the like. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but personally I think the glam settings and cool ambiance don’t necessarily bind with that style of cuisine. So, I was delighted after briefly scanning the menu during my last visit, to see that Marshall has taken a Bistro approach to his latest endeavour. An approach I think is more than fitting. Expect an mélange of dishes, delicately cured kingfish paired with crisp radish and tart grapefruit. The duck started is an indecisive-diners dream, while the ‘pork plate’ will please the same. Beautifully presented and cooked crispy pork belly, earthy blood pudding and insanely crunchy crackling each hold their own. And the desserts, traditional in a sense are dressed up with modern components. I highly recommend a night at Libertine. Eat their bistro styled offerings until your heart is content, then wander to the bar area to enjoy a masterfully prepared cocktail or two. See, who needs to be friends with a food writer? Not you, cause you now know where to go. Get more information about Libertine here.