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Restaurant Liberty Kitchen

Liberty Kitchen

Restaurant, $$, Modern, European, Central
We try out the bustling Central restaurant’s reinvented experimental tapas menu
  • ReservationYes
  • Private RoomYes
  • Accept Credit CardYes
  • Bring Your Own BottleNo
  • BuffetNo
  • Car ValetNo

Review

The popular restaurant and bar Liberty Exchange Kitchen (LEX) has now been split in two, with a small plates concept restaurant rebranded as Liberty Kitchen occupying the second floor. Under the culinary guidance of chef Vicky Cheng (also known for Liberty Private Works), the restaurant has seen a reinvention of its menu and a rebranding that appears to be less conspicuous. With the old logo adorning the front of the restaurant and menus, the restaurant feels almost the same. The true indication of how the eatery has evolved comes direct from the waiters, who reiterate that the menu has indeed changed and the restaurant has indeed been rebranded. The emphasis on wood panelling, wrought iron, leather upholstery and attention to detail seen in bundled ropes and old lanterns adorning an altar table aids the restaurant in exemplifying a kind of New York gastropub that is fittingly comfortable and well thought out. 

In total, we ordered seven dishes and the first to arrive at our table were the creamed polenta with caramelised mushroom and parmesan crisp served with garlic flatbread, as well as the beetroot salad with goat’s cheese and pickled raspberries. The creamed polenta was well seasoned and the sweetness of the mushrooms balanced the usually bland grain. The parmesan crisp was a nice touch, but became soggy once mixed in with the polenta and smothered on the flatbread. Overall, the dish was nicely balanced and a great way to start the meal. Next, the beetroot salad with goat’s cheese and pickled raspberries was a surprisingly winning combination. Beetroot and goat’s cheese are always a great pairing in our minds, but what surprised us was how the tanginess of the pickled raspberries played up the flavours of the other two ingredients nicely, creating an unusual dish that left us wanting more. The local clams with chorizo, roasted peppers, and rocket left a lot to be desired with its light seasoning and lack of roasted peppers and chorizowhich rendered it rather bland. The star of the evening was definitely the buttermilk fried Cornish hen with organic honey. With a well-seasoned batter that wasn’t too oily, the pieces of golden organic honeycomb scattered over the hen were a perfect sweet pairing to the heaviness of the poultry. For dessert, an earl grey crème brulee was a delight, with a very subtle tea flavour that didn’t overwhelm the natural flavours of the original crème brulee. The crispy cheesecake, on the other hand, tasted almost like a doughnut, having been covered in filo pastry and deep-fried. It was also not served with strawberry ice cream like the menu indicated, but with vanilla instead. Overall, the food was decent, but many of the dishes were not executed well enough to make us return soon.

The wine list is extensive, featuring great wines from different geographical regions as well as both big and boutique wine producers. There is also a wide range of price ranges and a good selection of wines by the glass. We settled with a glass of Australian pinot noir, which was warm to taste with no discernable tannins – we think it must have been aired for quite a while, because there was no punch left in the wine. At HK$95 a glass, we definitely expected more from the wine. 

The service from the moment we picked up the phone to book a table to when we left the restaurant was pretty average. The fact that the menu had been changed was reiterated to us three times – while we appreciate the head’s up, the constant reminder was a bit unnecessary. We were seated promptly at our tables and while service was generally attentive, occasionally our water jars would be left empty and the speed at which dishes arrived was rather too quick. While some may appreciate the hurried 40-minute dinner we had, we prefer enjoying meals at a more comfortable pace. 

A meal for two including a glass of wine comes to around HK$800. With a bit more enthusiasm and more attention to seasoning and service, Liberty Kitchen could potentially serve up some excellent and inventive dishes in a pleasant atmosphere.

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