Monday, February 24, 2014

Caprice with New Chef Vulin - (Hong Kong)

Michelin 2 Stars

Caprice’s new Chef  Fabrice Vulin used to head the kitchen of a Michelin 2* restaurant in France.   He already arrived in November 2013 but it took time to slowly over-haul the previous Signature Menu,  which was looked after by Vincent Thierry from Paris’s 2* Le Cinq fame.    I have posted a few reviews of Caprice before and some other meals I haven’t had the opportunity to,  but personally this spells a new start to the Caprice era,  so let’s all begin anew.

Amuse Bouche – Coconut & Beetroot Meringue Lollipops,
Salmon Mousse on Parmesan Sable,   Pigs Trotter with Truffle Croquettes
The old Caprice always dished out Carbs as Amuse every time whether it was dinner or lunch.   I was glad to see such creative starters which looked so neat and befitting a proper 2-3 Star Michelin French restaurant.   ~  9/10


Bread Basket with Bordier Butters -
The Sesame Brioche roll is still addictive.   The breads overall are decent although they are not memorable with the recipes.   They are baked very well none the less.   Local competitors I can brain storm up which makes great bread includes Spoon by Alain DucasseMandarin Grill & Pierre,  also Petrus.   Here it is decent but even the Bordier Butter flavour offerings were more geared towards traditional.  ~  8/10 




Diced Alaskan King Crab in Vegetables Jelly Cannelloni,   Sliced King Crab meat, 
Sweet Garden Peas,  Peas and Bean Puree,  Spring Vegetables,  Caramelized Crab Reduction -
The Menu description was much more simple.   A lot of thought has been put into this dish,  and notice the over 10 types of vegetables and just at least 3 beetroot varieties alone.  Having said that,  the crab meat taste was decent only and the larger piece slightly rubbery.   The caramelized crab reduction sounded cool but could have a more convincing taste.   Easy to criticize from my side but I appreciate the kitchen for thinking up of this sophisticated recipe and hope that it pulls off soon in their final taste.   ~  7/10


Frogs’ Legs Meuniere,  Frogs Boudin Blanc Sausage,  Young Spinach, Black Truffle,
Herbs Coulis,  Frogs Broth Foam -
Again being under-described on the Menu,  the above is my own interpretation as explained by the staff.   This was a really thoughtful dish with many many layers within,  one certainly appreciates the effort.   This was one of my favourite dishes for the lunch and the frogs’ legs were fried spot on,  the frogs boudin blanc sausage concept was kind of wicked.   Everything worked well together as a package but the black truffle was surprisingly not very flavourful as we found on other dishes.   ~  9/10


Roasted Pork Belly sandwiched with Black Truffles,  Pork Skin Scratching Crumbs,  Black Truffle Puree,  Pork Jus Sauce,  3 Spoon quenelled Potato Mousseline.  Served with side of Thyme Roasted Onion filled with Truffles -
Again a multiple layered dish.  The Pork Belly was tender but quite fatty with a crispy skin,  the side pork scratching crumbs weren’t too French in concept to me but more Filipino or Spanish or Latin American but I like this bold concept.   Overall this was an aggressive dish and could have worked really impressively but as it is,   I wished the potato mousseline was more buttery and less dense,  the pork belly less fatty,  the truffles more pronounced.   A potential 12/10 dish but today it deserved probably a 8/10?     



Roasted Cevennes Onion with Black Truffle and Thyme,  together with above Pork Belly Dish -
Initially it looked just like an onion ready for darkening a broth bar the flakes of sea salts,  but when we digged in,  we surprisingly found larger and larger pieces of truffles.  This was amazing in concept again but the truffles taste was missing.   As a benchmark,  the best Black Truffle I have encountered outside of Europe in HK,   was found at Uno Duo Trio.   ~  7/10

Slow Roasted Local HK Pigeon stuffed with Foie Gras,  alternating Layers of Leek & Agria Potato Mille-Feuille,  Pigeon Jus Reduction Sauce, 
Grated Black Truffles and also Truffle Puree once again as above -
This was my favourite dish.  The local pigeon was slow-cooked perfectly pink and tender,  but really gamey at the same time and managed to over-power the stuffed foie gra within.   I personally found the Leek and Agria potatoes stack slightly under-cooked raw,  the truffles again missing real aroma,  but the Pigeon itself in performance was really amazing and covered up all the short comings.   ~  8.5/10  

Mignardises,  or Petits Fours -
In France they are separated clearly depending if it is a pre-dessert or to go with a coffee.  Outside of France they are often treated as one.  The ones even during Lunch Time at Caprice are becoming more and more convincing and ever more thoughtful.   ~  7.5/10



Chestnut Mont-Blanc Tart with Pine Tree Sorbet, 
Blackcurrant Marmalade & Berries Coulis sauce -
Amazing.   Actually I have never found desserts to be too amazing in HK or Macau region,  but if I had to count,  this has got to be the best dessert recipe and also in execution I have encountered.   The whole package just worked and was so foresty,  the pine tree sorbet was so addictive and yet worked with the equally foresty find of berries and currants,  also chestnuts.  ~  12/10 



Korean Strawberry Napolean,  Yoghurt Cream, Aromatic Mint and Strawberry Sorbet -
Came adorned with some Sugar crystal flakes.  Again a complicated recipe which worked well as a combination and appreciated,  exactly what you expect from a 2-3 Star Michelin restaurant by Internation Standards.   *We also previously ordered a separate Caprice Cake which had a similar recipe and that was equally great and on par with Paris standards.  ~  8.5/10

Caramels,  Nougats and Chocolates to finish off the Lunch Meal -
Done expertly here and the effort appreciated, 
especially for only a normal weekday lunch course.


Cappuccino & Four Seasons Hong Kong’s uniquely Blended Tea -
The latter with some flowery Jasmine and can also be ordered at The Lounge downstairs.
Caprice under their new chef Fabrice Vulin is different from Vincent’s interpretation previously.  The savory food recipes with the New Chef are more exploratory and avant garde,  but ex-Chef Vincent was more about convincing you in terms of overall Grandness in recipe,  although he was also playful during lunch time before reverting back to more traditional French recipes by night.  It’s different definitely in approach of style,  at least for now,  let’s see what it will bring to Caprice in the longer run.  



Price:  $580 + 10% Per Person for Lunch
Score: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun -    12:00pm - 22:30pm

Address: 中環金融街8號四季酒店6樓
6th Floor, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central, HK
Ph: 3196 8888

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