Monday, May 7, 2018

Au Revoir Not Goodbye

Over the years we have become huge fans of Chef Nicolas Lambert with his marvelous dessert creations at Caprice of Four Seasons Hong Kong, so it’s not without a sense of sadness when our hunch was confirmed that he’s moving on to bigger and greener pasture, out of Hong Kong. After learning that he would be around for 3 more days at the Caprice kitchen in late April (he’s been travelling before then), we made a booking for lunch on one of those afternoons just to try more of his desserts at the restaurant, and more importantly, to say farewell to our dear friend in person.


I couldn’t recall when was the last time I ate here in the afternoon on a weekday, but the clientele was clearly different than that of the weekend’s, with more people in serious monkey suit, coming here for a business lunch or something. And this time, the front of the house team was very kind to seat us at the table with the clear view of the pastry kitchen, which I thought for this occasion, was the real chef’s table. While we were looking to stuff ourselves with desserts at the end of our meal, we did enjoy the savory dishes that came before those. Like we did most of the time while eating here, we left it entirely to Chef Guillaume Galliot to bring out whatever he saw fit from his kitchen, and this time, we had quite a number of his signature dishes for the season.

We began with the crab salad with prawn jelly, avocado cream and caviar, similar to what we had last time. The refreshing flavor with strong hint of umami taste was impeccable and it’s one dish I didn’t mind having over and over. It was then followed by the lobster with Loire Valley Green Asparagus, morel mushrooms, foie gras and Comte cheese espuma. It’s a double punch of rich flavor from the foie and cheese, which worked well with the well-cooked chunks of lobsters. We had yet another course of seafood, this time a Brittany sole fillet, gently poached and served with cauliflower puree and “couscous”, plus more caviar on top.


Our main course this time was the pigeon roasted in a cocoa pod, with the whole bird shown to us at our table with the encase before being brought back to the kitchen to carve. The pigeon breast was smothered with meat jus reduction mixed with cocoa, and on the side, a quenelle of caramelized onion puree, salsify and the small piece of pigeon leg. The breast was cooked tender, juicy and tasty and all that, but the leg was definitely my favorite with the crispy skin – only way to properly savor it was to eat it with hands, which we did.


And then came the real “main course” of the afternoon, which in itself looks like a multi-course dessert tasting menu (in our defense, there’s four of us so we were just sharing all the plates). We started with the pre-dessert of mango coulis with Thai ice-tea espuma with that interesting exotic flavor, followed by a few of Chef Nicola’s signature creations. The Trilogie de Chocolat was great as always and I love the right balance of sweetness from three types of chocolates intertwining in various forms and textures on the plate. And of course, the chocolate “panna cotta” was not just a regular panna cotta with excellent presentation.


I saw Nicolas’ Instagram post with a video of how his exotic meringue dessert was made and tried to do something similar at home myself (and failed miserably), which made me appreciate much more the effort went into this ridiculously complicated “pavlova” with a meringue “bowl” and mango coulis underneath and topped with passion-fruit sorbet, whipped cream and citrus zest. The “Lime and Yuzu Cream, Crumble, Basil Espuma and Yuzu Sorbet” was probably the lightest of all desserts we had this time, but I love the refreshing aroma coming from plenty of lime and yuzu zest on top of the cream in espuma consistency.

We couldn’t help but feel this is the end of an era – it seemed like it’s only yesterday when we met Chef Nicolas for the first time in late summer 2015 – how time flies – and then at a tasting function a few months later he absolutely wowed us over with an array of the stunningly beautiful and delicious desserts he prepared for that Christmas season (I still remembered that chocolate cake in the shape of a horse carriage or that amazing “yule log”! Or that raspberry dessert which was one of his best original creations!) And he basically just went strength to strength with so many great desserts that we count it as blessing to have enjoyed over the years. Now from “Asia’s Best” he’s out to conquer the world and I am happy for him moving on for new inspirations and a bigger role. Keep in touch my friend, and please, please come back to visit us soon.

More photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/albums/72157696209094865

When? April 26 2018
Where? Caprice, Level 6, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? This time, it has to be all the desserts by Chef Nicolas Lambert!
Drink? 2014 Domaine Les Poete Reuilly Blanc, Loire
Web: www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/restaurants/caprice


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