Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ushering In a New Era

Recent changes at Caprice saw Chef Guillaume Galliot now at the helm. And some of us went there recently to check out the new weekend lunch menu as he has well settled in at this Michelin-starred restaurant at Four Seasons which happened to be one of my personal favorites in town. It’s another full-house at the weekend lunch service and this time, we were seated at the round table near the front and the window, offering us a view of everything.

I was here just over a month ago, but this time, all the dishes appeared to be entirely new and now their weekend set lunch came with the options of three to five courses but then they removed the complimentary glass of wine (definitely my least favorite of the changes - oh well). At first glance the new menu leaned more towards seafood dishes – will see whether this is out of seasonal consideration or a new direction they are going – with choices of appetizers, soup, fish and/or meat courses, and then desserts. After much deliberation, we decided to go for their 3-course options, which turned out to be of perfect portion for us.

We started with a bowl of foie gras brulee, which was our amuse bouche and looked just like the dessert version, except it’s savory and served with soft and rich foie gras terrine underneath the caramelized surface. And on top was bits of chopped hazelnuts giving it some interesting texture. It was well executed, rich and creamy without being too overwhelming.

My first course of salmon was beautifully plated, with slow cooked salmon roulade topped with dill sauce and ribbons of fennel, then on the side was dots of the herbal ravigote sauce. I like the layers of different tastes in this refreshing appetizer dish perfect for this weather.

Chef Guillaume sent us an additional course for us to try from his new repertoire. Crab with laksa foam is one of the chef’s signature dishes carried over from his days at The Tasting Room. It’s obvious where the inspiration came from (we were joking that our friend Ms J of Chicken Scrawlings must have something to do with it) The preparation and plating were unmistakably western – espuma was piped into a deep dish than topped with picked crab meat and a half-cooked egg yolk in the center and some chopped nuts (peanuts? hazelnuts?) mixed in. But the fragrance was in Southeast Asian-style from that of laksa leaves and coconuts. Traditional bowl of laksa can be spicy but this dish was not – instead it’s aromatic and creamy. For me that’s the wow dish of the afternoon – we thoroughly enjoyed it.

I followed the seafood theme of the afternoon with a lobster main course. The lobster claw was pan-seared in butter giving it a slightly smoky flavor, along with the light green pea fricassee and oyster emulsion underneath. I needed to try hard to get that oyster taste from the light foam – but nonetheless it was pretty good overall and was generous in portion too.

The dessert was a perfect one under such heat too – with brunoise of tropical fruits with passionfruit sorbet and mousse and bits of coconut meringues. The mousse dome on top was so soft and delicate that I don't know how Chef Nicolas' team made it and managed to lift that off the silicone mold into our dish in perfect shape. And the balance of sweetness and acidity was done just right with a hint of the lime zest fragrance.

Always tricky to pick a bottle of wine to go with everyone’s dishes and at the end we tried to strike a middle ground and went with a full and dry Riesling from Alsace. Straw color with a tint of pale greenish-yellow from a young vintage. Citrusy with mouth-watering acidity on the palate with rich minerals. Worked well for my courses though I wasn't the one who picked this (thanks P for the choice!)

It was a delightful lunch – I liked the new dishes and execution was spotless, plus it was great to catch up with friends at such beautiful (yet homey) place. As for my thoughts about the new changes, I often think changes are evolutionary and with hardly over a month on it's way too early to say, but so far I do enjoy reading this new chapter and am curious to know what is to come.

More photos here:

When? June 10 2017
Where? Caprice at Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Crab with Laksa Foam
Drink? 2015 Domaine Weinbach Cuvee Colette Riesling

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