So officially I've been to Liberty Exchange twice. Once for dinner about 2 weeks ago and also the other day for lunch. I specifically went back mainly because:
1) I liked their burger quite a lot 2) I didn't bring my camera last time
Environment: On both occasions I sat upstairs which was comfortable and spacious. I quite like their modern decor. I highly recommend sitting upstairs over sitting downstairs where it's more cramped, more dimly lit and also noisier due to its proximity to the bar.
Service: One thing that immediately noticed was the high number of Caucasian waitstaff at Liberty Exchange. That is definitely unusual for a Hong Kong restaurant. The strange thing is the contrast between the Caucasian staff and the other extremely local waitstaff. Either way, the waitstaff was attentive and friendly. Food came out quickly and there were no mixups.
For my dinner experience I shared the following with friends:
House-made sausage - The sausages came in hot Italian, herb and sweet andouille. My favorite of the 3 came was the hot Italian mainly because the taste was the most intense and reminded me of salami. The other 2 sausages tasted quite average. Portion size was a little on the small side for $98. Decent.
Mussels with Tomato and Basil Broth - This was quite nice. The mussels tasted quite fresh and the sweetness from the broth complimented it well. I can't tell you the number of overcooked mussels I have been served in Hong Kong so this was a nice change. The mussels came with a side order of fries (not sure what makes these 2 items go together) but the fries were good as well. Nothing fancy...just crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Nice.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich - This is a gourmet version is with foie gras. Portion size was very small relative to the other 2 appetizers. Basically it was a deconstruction of a PB&J by having a piece of foie gras sitting on top of a miniature french toast-like cube with reduced raspberry sauce drizzled around. When you eat everything together it gives you the flavor profile of a PB&J. Not bad but I didn't think this was good value for money.
Eight-hour French Onion Soup - I had read online beforehand that its consistency was like gravy which sounded quite interesting. Although at the restaurant I felt this was very similar to normal onion soup. It was pretty tasty but not really any different from the onion soups I could potentially get at Dan Ryans or some other American restaurant.
Liberty Burger With Mushroom and Cheese- Now this I liked! Flavor wise it was juicy and really beefy. The onion marmalade also provided a nice hint of sweetness. The use of sourdough bread was also a nice touch. I found out later the beef patty is actually made with short rib which probably explains why the texture/density felt kind of 'loose' and not as dense as a regular patty. Feels a little like eating a beef sandwich than a burger but this is a good burger.
BBQ Ribs - This was HUGE. As someone correctly described it online...it looked Fred Flintstone size...haha. Ribs overall were quite nice and tasty. Came off the bone quite easy (bone was close to the length of my forearm) which shows that they had been cooking it slowly for some time. If there's a minor criticism I can make of it is that the meat felt a little 'stringy'. Pretty good.
Pigs and Apples - Read a lot of good reviews about this but sadly ours was overcooked. The minute I put my knife into it I knew this was going to be on the tough side. Flavor profile wise this has potential with the caramelized apples. So sad this dish wasn't executed properly.
Chicken and Waffles - Another dish I looked forward too but was let down. The chicken was definitely on the dry side. Taste was decent but it's just so hard for this dish to recover once the chicken is overcooked. The waffles...were quite pancake-like and floppy which wasn't too my liking. If you want to get good chicken and waffles in Central I suggest giving Green Waffle Diner a go.
Granny Smith Crumble Tart - The crunchiness from the filo dough was nice and I also liked stewed apples inside the tart. Maybe a bit too sweet for my personal tastes but I thought this was a pretty decent dessert.
Charlie Brown - Highly simple but successful dessert in my opinion. The brownie was warm, 'chocolaty' and fudgy which was a nice contrast to the cold ice cream. Best dessert of the night.
Strawberry Shortcake - This came in a cone like cup. Not bad...just didn't really stand out per say. Shortcake provided a nice crunch against the strawberries and cream. Decent.
My opinion of dinner is there were a few standouts (mussels & burger) but I was expecting more with that kind of a price tag (we paid about $500 each). Honestly speaking, if they hadn't overcooked the pork and also the fried chicken this meal would have been a lot more enjoyable.
So after about 2 weeks I went back the other day for lunch since I didn't bring my camera last time. Here is what we ordered (both are set lunches):
Mussels With Creamy Fennel Vermouth Broth: Not bad. Flavor was quite subtle and light for a creamy based sauce. Mussels were nicely cooked but I personally preferred the tomato and basil pairing versus this one. The fries were nice but again I'm not sure why they paired mussels with fries.
Liberty Burger With Mushrooms and Cheese: I was quite disappointed. The burger felt a little overcook (a little dry) and also it didn't come out at optimal temperature. I understand I took about 20-30 seconds shooting photos but the burger should still be quite hot (which it was not). The burger still tasted pretty decent but the temperature kind of ruined it for me. The fries similar to last time was crunchy and tasty.
The set lunches also came with an appetizer and we picked the smoked salmon salad and also a grilled calamari with a chipotle sauce. The chipotle sauce was nice but the actual dishes were quite average and didn't stand out. The calamari was also a little on the tough side.
My lunch experience was disappointing and considering it costs us over $200 each I would say this further says to me that Liberty Exchange is overpriced for the food it puts out.
So my overall conclusion is if you go to Liberty Exchange go there for dinner. Get the burger, the mussels, the Charlie Brown and maybe the ribs. Expect to overpay but if they execute the food properly that night I still think it could be an enjoyable meal.