August 16, 2010

Dinner at Caprice, 3 Michelin starred French restaurant (Hong Kong)

Jon and I had dinner at Caprice, the 3-star French restaurant at the Four Seasons Hong Kong on August 14 (this past Saturday). I didn't bring my camera so no photos of the food, so I'm listing the food below so that we remember what we ate! :)

Free amuse-bouche:
Baked cheese puffs (a bit like a round bite-sized cheesy eclair). It was so light it was like eating cheesy air. Really yummy. I also liked it how the server called them cheese puffs instead of going the French route (gougères au fromage).

Free appetizer
Trio plate: 1) jamon serrano with cantaloupe and crispy cracker, 2) I can't remember any more, and 3) a little cup with eggplant mousse and tomato granita on top. It was all good. I remember the crispy cracker and the eggplant mousse being especially good. The eggplant mousse was light and airy and flavorful - not salty but full of eggplant flavor. The granita was a bit too sweet to my liking, I would have preferred a stronger fresh tomato flavor.

Bread basket:
Normally there's not much to say about the bread basket but I had to make a special mention of their bread, which was fantastic. Best bread I've had in HK (not that that's saying much). But the sourdough mini-boule, the black olive bread and everything was so perfectly done I'd go back just for the bread.

Jon had Vendéen Frog's Legs with Spanish Risotto and Iberico Ham in Chervil Sauce. It was amazing. Crispy coated frog's legs were like mini chicken drumsticks and the risotto was amazing.

I ordered the Steamed Duck Foie Gras with Saffron Fennel, Liquorice and Orange Blossom Foam. Very creative and interesting, the foie gras flavor was more smooth without the caramelized coating you get from the usual pan-searing treatment. Not sure I would order again though as I'm a huge fan of the crispy bits, but that's just a personal preference.

Main course

Jon ordered Poitou Lamb en Croûte de Sel with Black Olive Polenta and Vegetable Tian in Brown Nut Jus. The lamb fillet came to the table in a pastry crust (i.e. en croûte) and the server cut it out before serving. It was a substantial size and very tender. The polenta was delicious (not dry or mealy at all) and might have been chargrilled.

I ordered Suckling Pig Rack with Carbonara Conchiglie and Fondant Zucchini in Sage Jus. I think they had amazing gravy - not too salty and perfectly balanced thickness and flavors (or as my server called it "natural pig jus"). Jon was impressed by the quality of their pasta (it was rather good!) but I fell in love with their fondant zucchini. Think of a very light, cheesy creamed spinach but using perfectly-cooked, melt-in-your-mouth zucchini. Yum! The pork was also perfecty cooked, juicy and tender and lightly seasoned.

Apparently a lot of their meat is imported from France and elsewhere in Europe. It may not be environmentally responsible or supporting local producers etc, but it tasted really unique and delicious - you can't get it anywhere else in Hong Kong

Free dessert & chocolate plate:
The restaurant also provides free chocolate plate and desserts.

I'll start with the dessert: 1) peach jelly (with some alcohol?) with crushed biscuits and with some sort of sabayon (?) on top. Totally amazing. It came in a skinny shotglass in a small glass cup, which the server filled with dry ice. A bit 80s but the effect was cool and it kept the dish chilled.

The chocolate plate consisted of four different items: 1) milk chocolate square. Nice. 2) can't remember. 3) pistachio-encrusted marshmallow with a mango or something mousse on top, 4) dark chocolat square (Jon didn't like this one so much).

Jon ordered a peach dish that I can't find the description of on the restaurant website. It was pretty good though.

I had Marinated Raspberry with Pistachio Mousse, Light Génoise and Lemon Yoghurt Ice Cream. It was so good. I loved the giant fresh raspberries (I did wonder though if they were just Driscolls), and the pistachio mousse and lemon yoghurt ice cream was very well executed - not too sweet / sour, allowing the natural flavours to come through, and creamy without being heavy.

2006 Côte Rôtie (not sure of which vineyard, Jon chose it); Jon also had a French dessert wine (forgot the name). The French sommelier was young but he was enthusiastic, chatty and definitely knew his stuff.

The food is pretty amazing (especially for Hong Kong), and the staff are friendly but not intrusive. However some of them seemed a bit unsure of themselves at times (especially for a 3 Michelin star establishment!). Some of that may be due to the language barrier - the local staff, while bilingual in Chinese and English, can create unintended smiles (e.g. pig jus?). However everyone is smiling and sincere so that's just a minor note.

The food is creative and very well executed. The unlimited bread basket was also very good - difficult to stop ourselves from eating it all!

The open kitchen provides some entertainment as well. The temperature, music and lighting of the room is carefully managed - no air-con blasting here and the music is muted but audible, allowing conversation (bossa nova was playing the night we went). If you can get a window seat (which we did), it is definitely a treat to watch the sun go down on Victoria harbour.

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