Finding Hong Kong’s best burger is a quest that I don’t think will ever end; you can come so close to finding it, but just one little thing will always let you down. Newly opened Beef & Liberty, located above Pizza Express in the Star Street precinct, claims that it truly does serve Hong Kong’s best burger.
Beef & Liberty, part of a chain originating in Shanghai, is a cool, open, diner-esque space that wouldn’t look out of place in New York. The eye is drawn to a huge mural at the back of the room, which was commissioned by American artists Cyrcle. Regardless of its implicit American style, however, Beef & Liberty was apparently inspired by a club called ‘The Sublime Society of Beefsteaks’ in 18th century London.
The owners (amongst them, former Alfie’s by KEE chef Neil Tomes) maintain that they are “obsessed with hamburgers,” and thus strive to create the perfect burger. Beef & Liberty therefore serves only hormone-free, grass-fed beef from the Cape Grim region of Tasmania, which apparently has the cleanest air in the world (can we get some of that air sent to HK, please?!). The beef is ground twice daily in-house and cooked however you like it, served in a soft sourdough bun, or in a bowl.
For appetisers, when we asked the waitress what exactly the sweet corn cobbler was, the only answer she could give was “umm…it’s quite spicy.” Despite her useless description, we ordered it anyway, and found that, although it was tasty, spicy it most certainly was not. We enjoyed the interesting mix of textures and the subtle, sweet flavour, but would have preferred if it had actually been spicy, as promised.
The crispy chicken wings with Korean spicy sauce, on the other hand, did have a decent kick. The chicken was succulent and tender, encased in a beautifully crispy batter that wasn’t too thick and remained crispy despite being slathered in sauce.
Now, obviously you’re waiting to hear what I thought about the burgers, so here goes… The lamb burger, usually a personal favourite, was seriously disappointing. Although the bun was perfectly fluffy and the meat was lovely and tender, there was a distinct burnt flavour that could not be masked, no matter how much tzatziki (which was, by the way, very tasty) we poured over the meat. I don’t know if it was the bun or the burger that was burnt, or both, but we could not get past the nasty acrid flavour.
The bacon cheeseburger fortunately did not suffer the same fate. The meat was cooked ‘medium,’ as requested, and you could certainly tell that it was made with high-quality, lean meat, even if this meat didn’t quite hold together and crumbled after a couple of bites. We loved the house BBQ sauce, but can’t say we could really taste the bacon jam – next time we may need an extra helping.
As sides, we tried the country fries with fresh rosemary and thyme, and the fat fries. Confusingly, however, the so-called ‘fat’ fries were just as skinny as the country fries. Regardless, both types of chips were perfectly crispy, deliciously flavoured and dangerously moreish. You can choose from a selection of sauces in which to dip them – we chose more of the house BBQ sauce and the Cajun aioli, both of which we strongly recommend.
If Beef & Liberty doesn’t necessarily hold true to its claim of serving HK’s best burger, it definitely does serve HK’s best warm skillet cookie. This is one of two desserts (the other being plain and simple ice cream) and deserves every millimetre of that second stomach. Imagine a warm, half-baked, gooey cookie, with molten chocolate chunks, drizzled in as much or as little cream as you wish… yup, it’s seriously as good as it sounds.
Although service leaves a little to be desired (don’t ever eat here if you’re in a hurry), prices are reasonable, with burgers between $78 and $108. Add on the extras, a couple of cocktails or spiked shakes, and your bill will still come in at a reasonable $300 or so per person.
Does Beef & Liberty serve Hong Kong’s best burger? Probably not at the moment. But whilst I continue my search, I’m happy to keep trying their burgers (and cookies, for good measure) just in case!
Beef & Liberty
2/F, 23 Wing Fung Street
Tel: +852 2811 3009