Fine dining in Hong Kong – Caprice
If ever a city loves glitz and glamour, it’s Hong Kong – especially when it comes to five-star hotels.
The extraordinary Four Seasons is seriously impressive. There’s wall-to-wall marble, crystal-encrusted everything and sensational views. We, of course, were there for the view on a plate; Caprice is a bastion of fine dining in Hong Kong.
The style of food here is definitely French. Ranked number 46 on the Asia list of the World’s Best Restaurants in 2018, it was honoured with the best pastry chef award. Settling into a table for two overlooking Victoria Harbour for a bright Saturday lunch service, we decided the only way forward was to sample the ‘menu weekend’.
This is a choice of three, four or five courses for HK$895 per person – naturally we went for the full five. With gluttonous husband keeping a wary eye on a gigantic Czech crystal chandelier (shaped like a chinese umbrella) nearby, we settled in.
The chef here is Guillaume Galliot who hails from the Loire Valley and has a long history of fine dining in France and Macau. His award-winning pastry chef is Nicolas Lambert. Tables run the length of the restaurant, on two levels, with an open kitchen.
Fine dining isn’t particularly inexpensive anywhere but the weekend menu is as close to a bargain as you’ll get. The only downside of taking the special menu is the signature beef oyster tartare and caviar (the chef’s play on ‘surf and turf’) is not part of it – and not surprising, given it’s priced at HK$760 alone. C’est la vie …
Greedy Girl sipped on a very dry 2012 Laherte Freres ‘Les Vignes d’Autrefois’ champagne, made from Pinot Meunier, while gluttonous husband took a dark beer, La Parisienne Brune. It wasn’t long before the amuse bouche arrived.
This was a gazpacho made from rockmelon with some truffle crumbs. It was very cold, very light and quite refreshing, although we couldn’t taste any truffle.
There were three choices for both appetiser and dessert and two for the other courses. As per our standard operating procedure, we took different options each and shared. First up for Greedy Girl was slow cooked egg with asparagus ragout, foie gras and ‘yellow wine’ espuma.
It was a tasty dish. The egg oozed its yolk in a most satisfactory way and the asparagus underneath was still slightly firm to the bite. The foie gras didn’t come through as strongly as Greedy Girl would have liked, but this was a minor point.
Gluttonous husband had an exceptionally pretty dish – hamachi tartare with pomelo jelly. This was topped by radish and daikon, which gave some additional texture. The fish was quite strong but the dish well balanced.
Next was the soup course. Despite already having asparagus in her first course, Greedy Girl opted for asparagus soup with a fava bean (broad bean) fricasee. The beans, plus a couple of asparagus shavings are presented in a bowl and the soup is poured at the table. It was perfectly pleasant and the texture from the vegetables a nice touch.
Gluttonous husband took the salted cod veloute with bloody mary sorbet. This soup was also cold but full of flavour. Being a huge fan of drinking bloody mary cocktails, gluttonous husband thoroughly enjoyed this. We commented that, of the first two courses, gluttonous husband had more interesting flavours.
And so to the fish course. Greedy Girl finds lobster hard to resist. This was a roasted Canadian lobster served on basmati rice with julienned vegetables. It was topped with a coconut and ginger emulsion. The lobster was beautifully cooked and the texture from the vegetables and rice was very pleasant. The emulsion worked well but the ginger was very mild.
Gluttonous husband chose Brittany sole with a quenelle of cauliflower puree and sorrel coulis. Another very pretty plate, the fish was slightly underdone and he found it slightly chewy. This was a dish where all the elements needed to be eaten together and the flavours worked. There were some crunchy crumbs of purple cauliflower that Greedy Girl thought were a bit too strong.
By this stage, Greedy Girl was having a glass of white – and a very unusual one. It was an Egiategia Dena Dela ugni blanc and colombard blend, produced on the French Basque coast. It went well with the fish courses and was robust enough to stand up to the final meat dish, but it would have been a real struggled to have more than a glass.
Our final savoury course came up. Greedy Girl had the dish at the top of this post, wagyu beef sirloin with purple sweet potato and seasonal vegetables. The wagyu had a sliver of translucent fat on the top which added to the flavour and moisture. It was an enjoyable dish but Greedy Girl just doesn’t get purple potato.
Gluttonous husband had pigeon (breast and leg) with a fava bean sauce and liver sauce. Greedy Girl finds pigeon far too rich and gamey and the addition of liver sauce didn’t change her opinion. Gluttonous husband enjoyed it immensely.
It was time for afters. Gluttonous husband had a selection of cheese and relished the plate – especially given they were presented at the right temperature – a rarity in Asia where they usually come from the fridge and the soft cheese is, well, not soft at all.
Greedy Girl took the panna cotta with three chocolates – manjari, guanaja and tanariva. This was plenty of evidence of the pastry chef’s award-winning skills. A symphony of chocolate lusciousness. And, given the day was a little celebration, the plate was decorated appropriately. Luckily there was a very muted rendition of the song to accompany it …
Then, it was just a matter of sampling the lovely petis fours (from right to left, manjari chocolate, pistachio puffs and raspberry chocolates and a very nice double espresso.
This is an elegant restaurant with excellent service and more than acceptable food. The weekend menu is very good value (particularly for Hong Kong).
8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong