Monday, February 6, 2023

First of the Year

We had lunch at Caprice a few weeks ago just as we wrapped up the long Lunar New Year holiday. What started off out of convenience some years ago – back then it was far easier to make a booking when people normally go for Chinese food during the festive season - has become our little tradition to start the year with one fine lunch date, even though their table has now become sought after all year round. 

We let the kitchen team to work out the menu for us, like we often do,  putting total trust in Chefs Guillaume and Suveg. We started off with a cold seafood appetizer dish, with Brittany blue lobster paired with bouillabaisse jelly, cauliflower puree and Kristal caviar. The rich jelly, prepared using saffron and fish and crustacean stock inspired by the Provencal classic, combined well with the creamy puree with the touch of minerality flavor from the caviar. 

Two more impressive seafood courses followed, starting with the Norwegian scampi served whole with mushroom duxelles and grated black truffles with the creamy yellow wine sauce underneath. The scampi got great texture and flavor with the nice contrast of the richer accompaniments. The piece of kinmedai fish arrived just a few hours before we did, jetted fresh from the fish market in Japan. The fillet was rolled with shrimp mousse, poached, and served in the shrimp consommé along with lime zest and coriander leaves as garnishes. One couldn’t ask for a more intensely flavored consommé packed with umami and again, the fish, with nice firm and fatty texture, was perfectly cooked. 

The whole piece of beef, a Kagoshima wagyu tenderloin, was presented to us still wrapped in lotus leaf before being taken away to be carved, plated and served in individual portion. The meat got a good smoky flavor, having wrapped in the leaf and smoked (remind me of the Japanese hoba-yaki cooking style), and it was paired with several kinds of mushrooms done in various ways – porcini being shaved and served raw with dusting of cep powder, the aromatic winter black truffles sliced and carefully placed on top of the piece of meat, mushroom tuiles and mousse on the side, then wrapping all up, the rich jus reduction. Love this intense rustic flavor going with the tender beef packed with flavor. 

Not so much of a surprise towards the end of the meal with the sumptuous cheese platter, then chocolate souffle and the pretty mignardises – they were all outstanding and I felt the portion was just perfect, leaving us totally satisfied without being overburdened with way too much food. 

We didn’t need an excuse to celebrate but Victor, Dan and Floriane, their fine sommelier team, did pour us a few nice glasses off from large bottles which went perfectly well with the courses and totally appropriate to cheer for the long holiday and to usher in the new year. The nice acidity and mineral vintage bubbly blanc de blancs worked well with the lobster first course, while the two white that followed both coming in somewhat obscure regions (one from Languedoc and the other Switzerland) The Chardonnay, done biodynamically from a Swiss winemaker, was bottled in magnum just for the restaurant and got a nice full-bodied, buttery taste with hint of ripe citrus and almond, working well with the richer seafood dish like the scampi we had. 

Without seeing the label I would not have guessed the CdP was over 50 years old, only recently bottled ex Chateau still full of youthfulness with plenty of red fruit characters and a hint of leather, soy sauce and smoky wood as secondary flavor which subtly gave away its age. Last and certainly not least, the glass of Chateau d’Yquem poured from a mature Nebuchadnezzar bottle was perfect for the cheeses. 

Overall, top notch food and wine, and great to have caught up with the fabulous Caprice team before some of them went off to a much enviable business trip to Europe. 

More photos here: 

When? January 25 2023
Where? Caprice, Level 6, Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Blue Lobster, Cauliflower and Saffron Dressing
2008 Champagne Philippe Lancelot “Les Bas des Saran” Grand Cru Brut (in Magnum)
2020 Domaine du Pas de l'Escalette Mas Rousseau IGP Pays d'Heraul (in Magnum)
2021 Anne Claire Schott Chardonnay Bielersee AOC (in Magnum)
1972 La Maison Dominici Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC (in Magnum)
1987 Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes (in Nebuchadnezzar)

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