Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Caprice in the Autumn

Our plan for dinner at Caprice got pushed back a few times for various reasons but we finally made it in early October, just as we started feeling the end of the unbearably hot season is near. Over the last few months we were at the Caprice Bar more often savoring their wine and cheese selection, to wind down what has been a somewhat stressful time at work for both of us, but I thought a proper meal was in order at the formal dining room next door to check out some of Chef Fabrice’s new dishes for the season.

We let Chef Fabrice surprise us with whatever he decided to bring over from the kitchen, and we ended up with a sumptuous 7-course meal, largely based on the seasonal tasting menu with a few twists. Overall I thought the execution was solid, well on par with what I expected from our favorite fine-dining restaurant in town. Our first course of chilled risotto, topped with crab “roll” with sea-bass carpaccio and caviar was elegantly presented and packed with sea flavors. I personally could live with a more-seasoned crayfish ravioli - our second course - but the cabbage veloute that went underneath was the interesting accompaniment to this light seafood appetizer.

It was then followed by yet another seafood course, this time a much punchier one in flavor. The firm wild turbot fillet from Brittany was completely buried in shavings of the early harvest Piedmont white truffles – our first this season, and underneath, the smooth artichokes veloute with a hint of crushed walnuts and fermented milk foam – another specialty ingredient from Brittany – served on the side. The truffles carried a mild aroma, probably because it’s still early from its prime, but worked very well with this delicate dish, and the combination of artichokes veloute and the rich and creamy foam was impeccable.

We had beef as our main course, served in tasting portion. The Kagoshima wagyu beef was well-marbled with fat and quick seared for a slightly charred crust. But I thought what’s equally impressive was the "supporting cast" of root vegetables and liquorice puree and a few pieces of Pommes Souffles served on the side. It was enjoyable and did very well with the Cote Rotie our sommelier friend Sebastien has poured for me - plenty of wood notes, slightly peppery and full-bodied ripe black fruit characters.

We went easy on cheese this time, relatively speaking, after going over the array of selection presented in the wooden board, with a few milder and creamy choices ended with the aged Comte, then finished with two dessert courses. First was a small glass bowlful of creme anglaise espuma (?) with peach sorbet and crispy rice pop on top, then a fancy presentation which Chef Nicolas named "Trilogie de Chocolat". The creamy white chocolate namelaka was sandwiched between two thin pieces of rich chocolate "Feuillantine", and on top, more chocolate (the white chocolate, the creamy Tanariva and rich Guanaja – hence the trilogy) in various form and textures, completed with gold leaf garnishes. It was technically complex, painfully time consuming, and perfectly assembled. My jaw was dropped when Chef Nicolas stopped by our table and showed us the video clip of how it was done for each individual cake.

Here's another wonderful evening eating and drinking at our favorite spot. Wish I could say that more often, much more often.

More pictures in my Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/albums/72157671450471104

When? October 7 2016
Where? Caprice, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Wild Turbot, Artichokes, Walnut, Fermented Milk Foam and White Truffles
Champagne Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru NV
2011 Domaine Pithon Paille Savennieres
2007 Yves Cuilleron Cote Rotie Terres Sombres

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