Friday, May 27, 2016

Celebration of sorts

Wifey wanna do a birthday celebration of sort in May so we organized a mini-gathering with a few friends for a long weekend lunch at our favorite restaurant. It's actually only our first time sitting down for a proper meal at the private room of Caprice tucked away towards the end of the dining room, with a long table in the middle, window in the front facing the harbor with glass cabinet on both sides displaying some of the fine antique porcelain pieces. It's especially spacious for just the nine of us. (room can sit twelve comfortably)

We went with their weekend lunch menu this time, always a safe choice with good selection that changes regularly to keep it fresh. We were here only less than a month ago and most of the dishes have already been changed from the last time.

After a refreshing amuse-bouche of deep-fried sardine served with artichoke veloute and pickled vegetables in a glass cup, my first course is another refreshing dish of chilled green peas veloute with crab meat salad. The veloute was thick with vibrant color, served with additional pea puree piped on top, and the crab salad was carefully rolled with a jelly sheet and plated in the middle, along with mint leaves as garnish. This classic spring/summer dish has a balanced flavor and delectable, perfect for the hot seasons.

Then the kitchen team sent in a complimentary extra course before our mains were served. While the others were having the artichoke soup, mine was something different, with potato gnocchi, poached green asparagus, morels and croutons with watercress puree underneath, because they didn’t want to serve me consecutive soup courses. How thoughtful.

I felt I had seafood as main course here for a few times already recently so I went for meat this time. That plus I thought the beef would work better with the wine I brought over. While having burger as main course may sound a bit casual, or even too casual, but I loved the texture of the thick Charolais beef patty mixed with duck foie gras, served with onion compote on a slightly toasted bun, with my favorite Pommes Pont-Nuef served on the side. I have been warned the burger patty might be too rich a taste for some people, but I thought it was just right – in fact I could even live with a stronger foie gras taste. Chef Fabrice had the day off but his lieutenant Cyril did a good job holding up the fort – everyone seems to enjoy the dishes they picked and they all came out perfect.

The dessert menu was the one with the least change, and this time I went for the Creme Brulee, served with the vanilla egg custard in a deep dish with caramel cream in the center, and the crispy caramel opaline plated like flower petals! One just have to admire Pastry Chef Nicolas’ creativity in turning something so simple into something so beautiful (and tasty) - this is quite literally the creme de la creme!

We brought in a pair of vintage wines to celebrate with our friends. The 1976 Leoville Las Cases may not come from the best of the year from that region, but it's going strong with good black fruit flavor mid-palate with medium body and mild and smooth tannins, which developed into more leather and tobacco with more time exposed in the air. The bottle was taken out from storage the evening before, and opened just 20 minutes before being poured. That was a pleasant surprise and fared better than I expected, to be honest.

The second bottle was a Sauternes from Chateau Guiraud from the same vintage as the red. Nice deep amber color with a subdued honeysuckle aroma. A bit alcoholic on the palate at first with hint of orange peel and marzipan, and good acidity to hold up the restrained sweetness. I thought it was very enjoyable.

We ended our afternoon with an extraordinary cake. "Surprise me" was all Nicolas got when they asked the birthday girl what she wanted for her cake, and he created a mind-blowing lemon meringue pie with small dots of soft meringue and lemon glaze piped in concentric circles on top with lemon curd and pie crust underneath. I was so full already by the time the cake arrived, but it was so good that I had absolutely no difficulty in finishing my slice. Even the leftover piece (it was a huge cake, you know) that we had the next morning was still so good! (You can even see the "Making of" video on the hotel Facebook page)

Overall I think while this was not the most exciting menu we have seen, execution was spot-on, food was delicious and the venue was gorgeous for a special occasion like this – of course at this place we expected nothing less, but it's still remarkable. Our heartfelt thanks especially to the Caprice front and back teams for giving all of us a good time to celebrate, to catch up with what's happening in one another's lives, and to enjoy the afternoon at our leisure.

More photos in my Flickr album:

When? May 14 2016
Where? Caprice, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights?
Chilled Green Peas Veloute, Fresh Mint, Crab Meat Salad
Lemon Meringue Pie a la Chef Nicolas
Champagne Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru NV
1976 Chateau Leoville Las Cases, St Julien
1976 Chateau Guiraud, Sauternes

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