Friday, February 15, 2019

Something Off Menu

“Maybe let me do a Tom Kha Gai this time…” Chef Guillaume casually suggested when I told him we wanted to try some new dishes during our recent visit to his restaurant. Well he did make an amazing laksa-inspired dish last year (which I love), but still, we thought he was just joking this time.

Last week we went to Caprice to eat during the Chinese New Year long holiday, as this has become our family tradition of sorts. After overdosing on traditional Chinese dishes over the festive season it was a good break with something different and at a much leisure pace. This afternoon we started with a simple amuse-bouche, with Alaskan king crab leg served lukewarm with a few types of mushrooms – julienned winter black truffles, thin rounds of champignon plus cremini puree, and finished with a rich parmesan foam. It’s a simple combination of ingredients that was tasty and refreshing with the right touch of earthiness from the mushrooms.

An equally refreshing course came next, which was the scampi served with mango and sea urchins. The Scottish scampi was gently poached, and served with an umami-rich sea urchin sauce plus a few tongues of sea urchins on the side. The refreshing flavor came from the piece of ripe mango, and the kaffir lime leaves infused into the sauce, which give it a green tint adding to the exotic look of the dish.

Our next course was another seafood dish. I swore I must have seen this dish appearing on my social media feed so often that I thought I had it before (but apparently I didn’t – yes I checked). The piece of Hokkaido kinki fish fillet was poached then slightly seared with the skin down then dressed with citrus zest on top. Underneath was the creamy saffron sauce with an interesting combination of umami and sweet tastes - I suspect the sweetness mainly came from caramelized onions but it's just a wild guess? On the sides were caviar on top of potato, a thick slice of fennel with a mandarin wedge. I love the firm texture and the oily meat with that touch of citrus flavor in the garnishes and of course, the unmistakable rich caviar just brought the whole dish to a different level.

Guillaume came over with our main course in his hands, and he made good of his earlier suggestion of bringing over a dish inspired by the Thai classic Tom Kha Gai. Inside the deep dish was poached lobster tails and roast chicken with leek sauce underneath, and on top, a creamy coconut foam garnished with mushrooms and baby kaffir lime leaves. I didn’t know whether it’s an act of ad-lib or a new dish he’s working on, but the dish was enjoyable with that exotic touch of the Southeast Asian flavor added. I could live with a slightly more spicy taste and something crunchy added for more contrast in textures, but I could totally see this as a popular option if it's included in their set lunch menu. (chef gently told me not to post any photo of this yet so that’s all you are getting - just words)

Had a couple of white wines to go with our seafood courses. First, an interesting grower champagne made with 100% pinot blanc, giving it a golden straw color, sharp acidity, pear aroma and rich biscuit taste. It’s followed by a super mineral and buttery Burgundy white, full-bodied with a hint of mint and lemon on the palate – if I tasted this blind I would have mistaken this as a cool-weather Chardonnay like those from Chablis. I thought it matched well with the creamy seafood dishes like the ones we had this afternoon.

After the sumptuous cheese course and a simple pre-dessert, Chef Vivien sent us two desserts to share from the pastry kitchen – the pear “mont blanc” reminded me of a similar dessert I had here before but it's not quite the same, and I like the interesting contrast of sweetness from the diced pears and the slightly salty caramel ice cream inside the meringue cup, complete with drizzles of chocolate sauce on top. The second dessert was the classic chocolate souffle, well baked with the perfect airy texture and rich chocolate taste, but my favorite bit was the quenelle of mint and vanilla ice cream served on the side. It was surprisingly rich (and creamy, of course)

More photos in my Flickr album:

When? February 7 2019
Where? Caprice, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Kinki Fish and Caviar, Fennel and Orange, Saffron Sauce
Champagne Vouette & Sorbee “Textures” Brut Nature NV
2013 Domaine Saint-Jacques Christophe Grandmougin Rully 1er Cru “Stellaris Campus”

No comments :