Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Learn and Feast

Barely a week after we spent the weekend at the Four Seasons Hong Kong for the much-enjoyable staycation, I returned one morning to attend a cooking demo plus lunch at the Caprice with the restaurant's culinary team plus guest chef from Valrhona.

Of course, Valrhona needs no further introduction as being one of the world's best chocolate makers and this time, their brand ambassador Chef David Briand collaborated with Chef Vivien of Caprice to show us a few new dishes made using their products. There’s so much more to learn in the area of cooking with chocolate and both chefs showed us a few techniques that I found very useful – first it was Chef Vivien’s souffle made using milk infused with almond, followed by Chef David’s chocolate mousse “cubisme” with various components assembled into a cube-shaped dessert covered with chocolate glaze. That gave us a whole new level of appreciation knowing how that was made.

As the restaurant’s lunch service about to start, we then proceed to the private room for a sumptuous tasting menu, with a good mix of old and new dishes. The Land and Sea Tartare and Racan Pigeon roasted in cocoa pod represented some of the signature dishes at the restaurant, and they were great as always. Plus they were always a crowd pleaser with caviar and gold leaves piled on top of the beef and oyster tartare, and the whole pigeon presented in a giant cocoa pod to everyone before carved and served with cocoa jus and pomme souffle.

I have tried a number of new dishes at the restaurant already (both during lunch at the restaurant and one night at the Caprice Bar during our stay in August), but glad that Chef Guillaume pulled out more rabbits from the hat and showed me something different. Our first course of tomato salad looked simple enough, but all the tomatoes were jetted in fresh from the garden tended by Chef Guillaume's mom in southern France. It's served with silvers of fresh almond and a quenelle of soft burrata cheese. A simple expression of the season.

And in between the tartare and pigeon was a seafood course of skate wing. The piece of fillet (of decent size) was slow-roasted and finished with a creamy coconut-butter sauce. On top of the fish was cauliflower crumbles and finger lime. The acidity from the quince jam and vinegar served on the side plus the buttery sauce combined worked very well with the firm and delicate fish for extraordinary flavor.

Ending our long lunch were a couple of desserts that the chefs have demonstrated earlier. The almond souffle was served in a wide deep dish instead of the traditional ramekin and I loved its soft texture and rich almond taste – reminded me of the Cantonese dessert of sweet almond soup. The chocolate cubisme was like a piece of art when presented, with smooth chocolate mousse covering a sweet apricot compote in the center, and garnished with chocolate thins and shaved white chocolate on the side. It’s simply decadent.

Three wines were poured during our lunch. My favorite was the Sanmur Blanc from Loire Valley – typical Chenin Blanc with sharp acidity and some minerals and apple on the palate, going well with both the tomato appetizer and the seafood course, both with the refreshing summer flavor.

Note: This is a based on a special, invitation-only event hosted by Four Seasons Hong Kong. More photos can be found in my Flickr album www.flickr.com/photos/g4gary/albums/72157710724683481

When? September 6 2019
Where? Caprice, Level 6, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Cubisme by Chef David Briand
Champagne Deutz Classic Brut NV (en magnum)
2014 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc
2013 Domaine D'Aupilhac AOC Coteaux du Languedoc Montpeyroux
Web: www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/restaurants/caprice/

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