Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Business As Usual

When our friends suggested another gathering at Caprice’s private room with the perfect excuse of a birthday celebration, we obliged with no hesitation. We took the stance of being vigilant and cautious whilst doing our small part to support those in the hospitality industry in this challenging times - I understand this is always a fine line of balance.

Anyway, for us, it felt comforting to be back to the familiar dining room and seeing the familiar faces working in a relatively busy lunch service on a Saturday afternoon. Well, not the best day to look over the harbor from the private room with the hazy sky but we treasure every moment to hang out with friends and a reason to cheer about. "Business as usual" is already good news to hear for anyone these days.

We went for their 4-course lunch menu this time, starting off with a simple amuse-bouche of smoked salmon with calamansi espuma and tarragon on top. The salmon might be slightly over-cured (a bit too salty for me) but I love the punchy flavor contrasting with the sweet citrus taste in the espuma. For first course, I went for a repeat as my last lunch here a few weeks ago, with thick chunks of pan-seared duck foie gras served with mandarin done in several ways (supremes, gel and powder), candied chestnuts and finished with a reduced duck jus. This is well-balanced with the rich and citrus flavors working together in harmony.

The “soup” course described on the menu worked more like a pasta course, with tiny goat cheese raviolis (with the shape and size more resembling tortellini) served with artichoke velouté poured on top. And instead of mint oil (as mentioned in the menu), the kitchen team decided to grace us with some chopped black truffles, which brought a even richer flavor and a nutty aroma to the dish. I love the combination of the pungent goat cheese with the creamy sauce.

The main course of blue lobster came highly recommended by the server and that’s what I chose – especially I think I already had their signature pigeon dishes a few times already which was the other choice available. I was also curious what it would be like with what the menu described as “strawberry sauce”. Turned out the sauce was amazing. The piece of Brittany blue lobster was done perfectly – gently roasted – and served on a bed of sautéed mushroom duxelles, and the sauce was the mix of the bisque-style reduction and a dash of aromatic strawberry puree. So we got this rich and creamy flavor and a hint of pleasant aroma and sweetness coming through for something different. I enjoyed the surprise factor in this and appreciated the effort and creativity.

Still feeling a bit of loss with their pastry chef Vivien’s departure (all the best, chef!), I went for an old dish that he made before leaving, with milk chocolate and hazelnut mousse sandwiched between a chocolate thin and sable, and topped with a quenelle of hazelnut ice-cream. And I like those dots of lemon fluid gel on the side giving this a bit of acidity, and with just the right portion to finish our meal with.

With a big group we went for a few bottles – part of the reasons our lunch lasted over 3 hours. Starting with an easy chenin blanc from Loire (light straw color, green apple with a grip of tartness, some minerals), then moving on to a 15-year-old Bordeaux came in a magnum bottle. Not with the full body as I anticipated but this worked just well for my lighter dishes with ripe redcurrant, some cedar wood and smooth tannins in every sip. We finished with a Colheita Port (from 1968 harvest and bottled 2017) Color of a well-infused cup of earl grey tea with toffee on the palate, slight oxidation taste with a hint of nuts. Paired well with the creamy chocolate dessert I had.

More photos here:

When? March 21 2020
Where? Caprice, Level 6, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Roasted Blue Lobster with Paris Mushrooms Duxelles and Strawberry Sauce
2017 Domaine Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc
2005 Chateau Batailley Pauillac
1968 Taylor’s Very Old Single Harvest Port

United We Dine
As part of the Hong Kong food community, I felt strongly that we should all stand together to support our fellow restauranteurs, hoteliers, and passionate people which made our dining scene one of the best in the world. "United We Dine" is a city-wide restaurant campaign that calls on Hong Kong food lovers to dine out. In March and April, over 100 dining destinations across town offered limited time menu or special promotions to customers, not to mention a lucky draw with some attractive prizes. Go visit for more details.

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