Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hong Kong: Caprice at the Four Seasons Hotel

We set out to have the most special meal in Hong Kong the day before Christmas, at the Four Seasons Hotel at Central. Caprice is one of two three-star Michelin restaurants located at the Four Seasons, the other being Lung King Heen, the first three-star rated Chinese restaurant in the world.

It was intriguing to try out this European restaurant, acknowledged to be comparable to award-winning Parisian restaurants. Reservations were made as early as the third week of October, to make sure we get accommodation on this special day. Some of Nikko's brothers have scanned through online reviews and menu items and have even pre-selected their meals.
Wine Chillers line the Hallway
The restaurant ambiance was bright and warm at the same time. It reminded me of our food adventures in Michelin star restaurants in Paris: Restaurant Guy Savoy, L’Atelier Etoile de Joël Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay au Trianon. The service was close, the food quality was comparable, but the surprises weren't as much.

The decorations are all opulent - heavy red velvet chairs, gold accents and crystal chandeliers. The restaurant receives no less than smart casual attire for diners. 

Caprice is led by Chef Vincent Thierry, a French native who used to practice at Le Cinq, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Paris. According to the press data of Four Seasons Hong Kong, all but one of the chef's 25-man team are locals.

We all selected from the Set Lunch Menu available from Mondays to Fridays, but you can select from the Main Course and Chef's Recommendations as well in case this won't satisfy. The Set Lunch Menu has options for two course or three course meals that include an appetiser and main course for the two course meal [HKD 460], plus dessert for the three course version [HKD 520]. 

The restaurant offers a nice view of the Victoria Harbour, and is a nice setting for that romantic date or a special family occasion. It should be spectacular at night.

With the open-kitchen set-up, you can easily see all the kitchen action. 

One of the staples in French bread presentation are the two versions of butter: one is usually salted, the other, plain. These are Bordier butters, and the way to eat it according to Bordier himself is to "place a small chunk on a piece of bread—or on the tip of a knife, finger or fork—and slip it gently onto the tongue. There, it begins to melt immediately, flooding the mouth with flavors that evoke spring flowers, warm sun, sea air and lightly toasted hazelnuts".
Unlike in other French restaurants, the server didn't offer bread options that matched our selected meals. Also, the waiters didn't brush off the crumbs with their steel wipers as often as they should.

I selected wild mushroom terrine, Iberico ham and romaine lettuce as my appetiser, being a mushroom lover. The mushrooms are chopped finely that they aren't identifiable. The portioning was right, and the taste was impeccable.

For my main course, I selected the green farfalle pasta, with crushed artichokes, parmesan cheese and black truffle dressing. I couldn't help it -- the black truffle dressing led me to choosing this instead of heavier main dish options such as the hanging tender of wagyu or the cod fillet. I was glad to have chosen this, because it was just right. The quantity may seem scarce, and to be honest, I have not been served literally five pieces of pasta on my plate before. The flavors actually made up for the quantity, giving you that "enjoy it while it lasts" moment per bite. The presentation wasn't that nice though.

For my dessert, I selected the cheesecake and exotic fruit texture with pabana sorbet. The presentation as you can see, is gorgeous. It combined brittle and soft, cold and ambient, sweet and sour, which totally rocked my world. By the end of the meal, and despite the looks of my selection, I was full and very much satisfied.

Here are photos of my companions' orders. I wasn't able to take photos of all:
Appetiser: Shellfish Bisque and Alaskan King Crab Brioche
Main: Hanging Tender of Wagyu Beef, Macaire Potatoes in Daube Jus
Main: Tiger Prawn a la Plancha and Carbonara Pasta in American Sauce
Main: Wild Deer Civet, Pearl Onions, Mushrooms, Lardons and Taglierini Pasta
Main: Challans Turkey, Brussel Sprouts and Cranberry Fondant
Main: Cod Fillet in Spinach Cape, Shellfish Mariniere and Saffron Emulsion
Dessert: Apple Crumble and Mince Pie Tart, Tahiti Vanilla Ice Cream
Dessert: Bûche de Noël of Chestnut, Blackcurrant and Beetroot 
Petit Fours with Dessert Wine
Complimentary Sweets

Dining at Caprice made the day before Christmas more special for the family. It was overall a great  dining experience.

6th Floor, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street
Central, Hong Kong

(852) 3196-8860


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