Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fine Dining with Family and a Kid

There was a sense of uneasiness when my brother told us at the last minute that their original babysitting plan didn't pan out and they have to bring along our 3 year-old nephew Ethan to lunch with us at Caprice during the Chinese New Year long weekend. For those who don't know us well, we were usually the kind of people who frowned upon others for bringing small children to fine-dining establishments, so the thought of becoming one of them for an afternoon didn't sit all that well with us, even though we would love some quality time with my bro, sis-in-law and nephew as they only returned to Hong Kong for a short vacation.

Eating out during long holidays gave us the new sense of respect for the staff in hospitality/F&B industry - when everyone is taking a break and having a good time, they were still working hard day in and day out. It was not a particularly busy day at Caprice - presumably because many people chose to get away during the long holidays - so they were able to accommodate our last minute addition and seated us at a round table at the far end of the dining room close to the windows.

As usual, we picked our dishes from the seasonal set lunch menu. We began with a pair of pre-meal small bites - the cold smoked herring mousse with julienned cabbages and apples was served in a glass tea cup, has good smoky flavor balanced with the acidity from that of the apples cut to matchstick size. That was followed by a square tartlet stuffed with onions and cottage cheese, and topped with potatoes and truffles. Both of them were excellently done, especially the tartlet which was simple yet beautifully plated, with complex, rich flavors to match.

I opted for a lighter first course of "Squid, Tourteau Crab Cannelloni and Bouillabaisse Jelly". It didn't quite look like what I had in mind when I looked at the description on the menu - picked crab meat was stuffed inside a "cannelloni shell" made with pulverized squid with small round disc of jelly made with bouillabaisse along with artichokes topped with eggplant caviar spread on the plate. The dish was minimally-seasoned so I could taste the ingredients in their original form, and the crab meat was refreshingly sweet and juicy.

Another snack-sized dish was served, which was a hearty artichoke soup with a parma ham ravioli topped with black truffles with a toasted brioche topped with more truffles served on the side, before our main courses. I was looking for something rich so this time I picked the braised beef shoulder as my entree. The meat was slow-cooked to perfect tenderness, and served with a rich meat jus plus red wine reduction which was the best part of the dish. It's served with a stuffed pasta - a gigantic lumaconi (sea-shell pasta) stuffed with diced mushroom and Colonatta pork. 

I went with a chocolate themed dessert as my final course to end the meal. The dessert seems to have gone down a notch in terms of creativity and complexity from our previous visits, but it's nonetheless decadent, with chocolate sauce dripping down to the sides of profiteroles, which was stuffed with chocolate and caramel cream, crushed roast peanuts and completed with chocolate icecream inside. I swore they must have made a mistake with Charlotte's choice of the cheese platter (which she picked instead of dessert), with a dozen different kinds presented and their portion big enough for the entire table. We still felt bad for not able to finish them all despite our best effort. The petit fours tray featured a couple new choices in addition to the chocolate - I quite liked the taste of the mojito macaron with a mint-rum jam in the middle, and the chocolate truffle dusted in red and filled with lemon was pretty too.

To accommodate their smaller guests, the restaurant provided a whole set of children utensils (plastic teddy bear plates, cups and all) and a separate, comprehensive menu with the likes of mini-burgers, spaghetti/pasta and fruit salads (made from their main kitchen downstairs, not from the Caprice kitchen). I didn't try the food myself, but Ethan seemed to enjoy the Caprice bread selection with generous smear of Bordier butter and his bowl of Pomme Frites/French Fries (probably because of the ketchup that came with it). And he did behave relatively well, very much to our relief, keeping himself entertained with fries, ketchup and hmm... iPad. In addition to the fact the restaurant were very accommodating and being so family friendly, something we particularly appreciated this afternoon, service was excellent as it has been in our previous visits.  

Not sure what people at our neighboring tables thought, but at least I didn't spot any angry glances towards our end and we had a good time catching up over a delicious meal. The afternoon didn't turned out exactly like what we planned at first, but we were glad that we now earned the bragging right to be the ones who showed Ethan his first Michelin-starred dining experience.

More pictures on my Flickr page:

When? February 21 2015
Where? Caprice, Four Seasons Hong Kong
Menu Highlight? Braised Beef Shoulder in Red Wine Sauce, Lumaconi Stuffed with Mushroom and Colonnata Pork
Drink? M. Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Belleruche 2012

No comments :