Beef & Liberty has a selection of new dishes to ease into Winter!
I was fortunate to sit down with chef Neil Tomes over dinner to talk about food, differences between Shanghai and Hong Kong and tried some of the new dishes. Find a big surprise at the end of the post!
This was an invited tasting, and I would like to thank once again the beautiful Tracy for inviting me over for dinner with executive chef Neil Tomes. 😀
It was quite funny when I first sat down with chef Neil, because I didn’t recognized him at all with his beard. I had previously seen pictures of him on other media outlets, all of which featured him cleanly shaven. So when I met chef Neil that day, I asked if there was another chef. He then later showed me a photo of his usual self and asked if that was who I was referring to? I answered yes, and he said that was him, and we laughed.
Read my first review of Beef & Liberty for reference of the last visit. The decor and service remains the same, so I will not go into that in this update.
This tasting was mainly to try out their new starters, which we all had a tasting of except for the salads. I actually ordered a salad, but somehow, that order got forgotten.
Without further ado, lets move on to the food!
Crispy fried chicken wings. I forgot what was the actual name of this starter, but it is essentially a sweet and sour based fried chicken wing. Still done in the korean method where you first deep fry the chicken wing to a crisp, possibly twice, and then toss it in a sticky sauce to coat. I thought this version was quite average. The sauce tasted sweet and abit tangy, which was actually quite nice. The chicken was not overly greasy and still moist and tender. The crust however is where I thought could be a little lighter and thinner. Even though it was crisp, it felt a little too thick. Flavour-wise this was good, texture wise could be improved. 8/10
Corn cobbler. This dish looked deceptively plain. Upon tasting, there was a fine marriage of flavours between the sweet corn, shallots and pine nuts, and then just when you thought everything was okay, a spicy kick from jalapeño chilli hits you in the mouth. I thought it was quite interesting, and it all worked out very well for me. There was a variety in textures from the corn and pine nuts, and variety in flavours as described above. 8.5/10
Scotch eggs. A western classic, hardboiled eggs wrapped in mince meat, breaded and deep fried. Beef & Liberty’s version is done with quail eggs, and is done with the yolk still runny — something that is more difficult to achieve with quail eggs due to their size. Take the eggs out a little early, and they’re undercooked. A little later, and the yolks are cooked through. The execution of these were perfect. The seasoning on the mince was delightful, with a hint of fennel balancing the richness of the pork mince. The crust of the eggs was lightly crisp and presented another level of flavour and texture. The only complaint was the accompanying sauce which tasted like a thousand island dressing of sorts; It was too empowering, and if you dipped your scotch egg into it, you basically couldn’t taste anything else other than the sauce. Hopefully they would balance out the combination in the coming days so one could taste the beautiful flavours of the scotch eggs, and still enjoy it with a sauce on the side to balance out the richness. 9/10
Chicken tenders. This isn’t a new item, but definitely a must order, deep-fried panko crusted chicken tenderloins. Super light and crispy. So tender. So flavourful. I felt the chicken could have used abit of seasoning as it was quite bland that evening. Luckily the chicken was of good quality, hence its natural flavour helped to ease the fact that it needed abit more salt. Paired with the aioli, it was simply sublime. 9/10
Next up are the burger mains, which aren’t new on the menu.
Chef Neil chose to have the mini sliders, which are actually from the kids section of the menu; So parents, you can bring your children here instead of letting have the happy-but-not-so-healthy meal at McDonalds.
Black pepper burger. I had the black pepper burger. This comes with fries and pickles on the side. Coarsely grated black pepper on their loosely packed patties. The patties at Beef & Liberty are made from brisket, hangar steak and bits of beef fat.
Being loosely packed make the patties a lot more difficult to cook, but very pleasant to eat as it is softer and simply falls apart. I believe also that the many small air pockets in the patty also help to trap some fragrance that opens up when you bite into it, but that is just me theory-crafting.
While the ingredients were top, I would have preferred no lettuce in my burger. The onions could stay, and I think it would be a very nice simple peppery burger. Lettuce in burgers in my opinion just gets in the way, in terms of flavour, handling, etc. One of my all-time favourite burger composition is still (Gasp!) McDonalds’ double cheese burger. Obviously not because of the quality of its ingredients, but for its simplicity of the pairing. I would really like to taste an upscale version of the double cheese burger; beef patty, tomato-based sweet and tangy sauce, onion relish, american cheese slices. DONE.
The black pepper beef burger at Beef & Liberty was good, but not mindblowingly so. For that, I give it a 8.5/10
Dessert came in the form of a tiny slice of the flourless chocolate cake and the blueberry cheesecake, shared amongst 3 men. Hahaha. Only one of us had a sweet tooth.
The chocolate cake was as I remembered, not overly sweet and quite delicate. 8.5/10
The cheese cake didn’t do much for me, being neither a fan of cheesecakes nor dessert for that matter. I liked it as much as 7/10
Win a RMB50 voucher to be used at Beef & Liberty!
Simply leave a comment below telling me what was your favourite burger and where. 2 random winners will be picked, and you can probably meet me downtown near Yong Kang Lu to pick up your voucher!
(Obviously this contest is only open for readers currently residing in Shanghai)
Winners will be chosen on the 30th November, and notified shortly after via email.