Friday, August 10, 2018

Caprice (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★★★☆

After weeks of dismal weather, things are still looking dismal out there. Perhaps this lunch at Caprice could lift my mood up a little bit.

It's my second visit since Chef Guillaume Galliot (now at Caprice) and Fabrice Vulin (now at The Tasting Room) swapped places last year and it would be interesting to see how the team gelled (or jelled) under Chef Galliot's direction.

As one of the hardest restaurants to book in Central these days, I was surprised to see some empty tables around here. 

I love the amuse bouche. Actually, I love anything with beets on it. This mini-tower came with thin sheets of beetroot topped by some fraîche, herbs and crumbs. Very tasty and very nice start.

Both Jelloman and I picked the obsiblue prawn tartare as our starter (over French oysters and gazpacho) because this stunningly blue-hued breed of shrimps are pretty rare to find.

Layers of raw obsiblue prawns were matched together with delicate crustacean jelly while topped with slices of mango and finger lime. A elegantly presented dish with the unique briny-sweet flavor of obsiblue prawns shining through beautifully. In fact, I thought the prawns tasted a little more like lobster or langoustine rather than prawn.

I really like the balance of sweetness (prawn) and acidity (mango and finger lime) but if there's a minor adjustment to improve this dish, I would say it's on the crustacean jelly. For me, there's a little too much lobster flavor in the jelly, which at times overshadowed the natural flavors of the prawns. I'm no chef (and would never be one) but I think a vegetable consommé jelly would be a slightly better choice for me.

Maybe I shouldn't order lobster again for my main dish but I did. This was roasted Canadian lobster with fennel and mushroom duxelles. They put the finishing touch on with a special sauce made with veal and lobster bones. Not bad but no wow factor in this one.

Jelloman had French quail stuffed with foie gras which was served with pan fried cherry and natural jus. I liked her dish slightly better because there's a little more technique involved and the cherries (pan fried and coulis) were just perfect for the summer.

A few months into the post-Nicholas Lambert era and I was a little nervous about their desserts coming in. But to my pleasant surprise, the team came through nicely with two promising desserts.

I had the hazelnut and chocolate themed one with hazelnut sable, Jivara chocolate cream (kind of like a rich milk chocolate) and hazelnut ice-cream (with a few drops of caramel). 

Milky chocolate and hazelnut were both right up my alley. It's not as adorable as those designed by Chef Lambert but I would take this anytime.

Peach is in-season everywhere so not surprisingly, we've peach dessert on almost every French restaurant's dessert menu including Caprice's. This was almost like a tart but without the crispy crust on the bottom. Served with slices of poached peach from Valence, we had lemongrass cream and a scoop of verbena sorbet. Not the refreshing type of peach dessert but more on the acidic side.

As usual, a small petite four to wrap things up.

Surprisingly, I had time to enjoy a cup of tea before taking off for my afternoon meeting.

I have made no secret about my feelings that Caprice has not been the same following the departure of their opening chef Vincent Thierry. But I know dinner at Caprice has always been better than their lunch so perhaps I should judge them after I swing by for dinner next time.

Food Rating: 6.5/10
Price: $$$$
Address: 6/F, 8 Finance Street, Four Seasons Hotel, Central, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Hong Kong Station
Tel: +852 3196-8860
S. Pellegrino Asia's 50 Best Restaurants: 46th (2018)

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