Saturday, October 18, 2014

Caprice (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

Last time we stepped through these doors, Caprice was still under the direction of Executive Chef Vincent Thierry and the restaurant still has its 3 Michelin stars.

But with the disappointing departure of their commander from its opening day roster, new Chef de Cuisine Fabrice Vulin now has the daunting task of reclaiming its lost star and more importantly, regain the reputation as the best French fine dining restaurant in Hong Kong.

Well-traveled Chef Vulin is well known for starting two successful restaurants in Marrakesh, Morocco but it was his work at Michelin starred Maison Pic and La Chèvre d'Or, that has earned the praise of foodies from around the world. From his newly launched menu, we are expecting a modern French cuisine with its fair share of Mediterranean and Moroccan touches.

This was my first visit since Chef Vulin took the helm and I was very curious to see if the new menu could dazzle like this view did.

There are two lunch sets available on top of the a la carte menu, a 2-course set at $495 and 3-course set at $560. Although the desserts didn't look promising at the first glance, we went for the longer 3-course set.

As soon as we made up our minds on our appetizers and main courses, the staff wasted no time serving up our first (and last) nibble of the afternoon - toasted baguette with heirloom tomatoes (4/10).

I was a little surprised that they decided to serve just a simple nibble as amuse bouche. Perhaps I was still living the dream of dining at some of these top French restaurants (such as L'Arnsbourg and Epicure) where the amuse bouche usually consisted of a number of interesting nibbles. This was utterly disappointing.


More impressive was the variety and quality of bread. I had a chestnut flavored and then a lemon flavored one and both turned out to be excellent.

Our highly anticipated lunch finally kicked off starting with a French Tourteau crab jelly, potato leek salad and Vichysoisse. 

I have always enjoyed Caprice's French Tourteau crab themed dishes in the past but this was a little too bland. Perhaps something exotic like mango or yuzu would help to bring out the best of the Tourteau crab (5/10).

Warm duck foie gras with quince confit and muscat grapes in a "natural" jus was next. The slice of foie gras was perfectly seared with the
quince confit and muscat grapes providing a nice complement to the rich taste of the foie gras.

But little that I knew, it would be the best dish of the afternoon (7.5/10).

Both of our main courses had a little bit of Italian twist to it. First, it was a seafood fregola sarda served in a shellfish bouillon.

The fregola sarda is a type of pasta from Sardinia, Italy that looks and tastes like couscous. I like the idea of serving Canadian lobster, king prawns and squid together with the pasta but the shellfish bouillon had got to be a little more dominant (5/10).


I misread the menu badly and thought this was a dish with a Bresse chicken leg served alongside a few foie gras ravioli but as it turned out, the meat from the Bresse chicken leg was inside the ravioli. Oops.

This was the total opposite of the previous dish where some of the flavors (the foie gras and pancetta emulsion in particular) were a little too overpowering (5/10).

I was rather disappointed when I saw "rhum baba" and  "chocolate brownie" in the dessert section. A little boring, don't you think? But it was a pleasant surprise in disguise.

Instead of a traditional rhum baba, I was getting a slice of rhum baba infused with passion fruit cream and served with yuzu sorbet, exotic fruits, coconut cream and almond crumble. A extremely well-prepared dessert both in terms of flavor and presentation with the various textures providing a lovely variety of taste and intensity (8/10).


Layered Ocoa chocolate brownie with ocoa marshmallow, blackberry mousse and banana ice-cream was a symphony of delightful textures and contrasting flavors that was both exciting and enjoyable (7.5/10).

Finally, petite fours including a piece of chocolate with chestnut cream and marshmallow on top, a blueberry macaron with blueberry jelly and blueberry confit and a toffee candy with crushed walnuts before we settled the bill (5/10).

Not the exciting brand of French cuisine I was dreaming of. I thought the delivery was good and the quality was Michelin star worthy but it's definitely not the same 3-star caliber food that we were accustomed to during Chef Thierry's time.

Food Rating: 6/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 6/F, 8 Finance Street, Four Seasons Hotel, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 3196-8860
S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants: 85th (2014)
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 13th (2014)


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