Thursday, January 20, 2011

Caprice (Hong Kong)

January 2011

6F, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3196 8860

Update: Caprice lost one Michelin star in 2014 and is currently a two Michelin star restaurant.

Caprice is a 3-Michelin star french restaurant in Hong Kong, and is located in the Four Seasons Hotel. It is the highest-rated European restaurant in Hong Kong and we came here with very high expectations, especially as we lunched here before several times a few years ago (before Michelin rated the Hong Kong restaurants) and were not very impressed.

We got a table for dinner and were fortunate to be able to get one with the view of Kowloon and the harbour. At night, this is a great view and for anyone new to HK, it is scenery not to be missed. The dining room is vast with impressive chandeliers, marble floors and gold-plated mirrors, which accentuated the luxury of the restaurant. That said, we did not feel that this restaurant was overly stuffy and self-important (as 3-star restaurants can be sometimes). The clientele was quite casual (some guests were in jeans and one guy was wearing a t-shirt), and the staff members were really friendly and relaxed.

We skipped our customary champagne this time as we had been on it the whole day during our time with our 'bubbly' Hong Kong friends (and we were still feeling aggrieved by the exorbitant Krug which we had at Cepage the previous night). Nonetheless, we picked out a 2006 Gevrey Chambertin Premier Cru from J. Prieur which was reasonably priced. Unfortunately, it wasn't half as good as the 1995 Gevrey Chambertin Premier Cru from Denis Mortet which we had opened the previous night at Cepage.

We had a very good amuse bouche of a trio of deep fried potato ball, a mini tuna sandwich and a forest mushroom soup with foie gras (second night in a row we were having foie gras in soup, must be in vogue).

For our appetisers, my wife had the Obsiblue prawn carpaccio with sea cucumber, wasabi jelly and Osetra caviar, while I ordered the langoustine ravioli, veal sweetbread and wild mushrooms in shellfish bisque sauce. Unfortunately at this point, I was interrupted by a work call which required me to step out of the restaurant for almost half-an-hour, during which time my wife had already started on her appetiser before I had a chance to take a proper photo of her dish. According to her, the dish was quite good, but as they were extremely generous with the caviar, she was well pleased at the end of it. Despite me not being at my table, the staff brought my dish out anyway, which I thought was a bit silly as when I returned, they insisted on taking the dish back to heat up. I'm not sure what the accepted convention for this is, but I would have thought it better for them to withhold my dish in the kitchen till I was back. Nonetheless, my langoustine was very good.

For our mains, we both went for the line-caught sea bass with buttered Savoy cabbage and red wine sauce, which was delicious. The fish was nicely pan-fried and the sour cabbage and sweet sauce complemented the saltiness of the fish well.

The restaurant had a good selection of French cheeses, and we opted for our usual favourites. We tried something new this time, the munster cheese, but it turned out on our plate funny as it collapsed into a pool of cheese (literally!). We were a bit suspicious of it and did not really dare to touch it.

For dessert, we had the Piemonte hazelnut with chocolate and latte foam, citrus nut ice cream, which was very good. Strangely, after our dessert, we were served with another dessert of pineapple sorbet on a bed of pineapple and coconut, which was a fruity and refreshing dish but unusual in that we would have expected this to be pre-dessert served before our chocolate dessert. We ended off with a tray of petit four.

Final Thoughts: In conclusion, dining at Caprice was a great occasion, and we enjoyed it more than we expected (it had improved quite a bit since the last time I ate here). Food was in the classical style, not terribly innovative, but well done nonetheless, and the ambience, the service, the views and the overall feel of the place were top class. It was less pricey than we had expected and the wine list, though moderate in breadth, had a good selection of reasonably-priced wines (relatively speaking).

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