All good things must come to an end… and such was the case last year when Chef Vincent Thierry departed Caprice, the Michelin-starred French restaurant he had helmed since its opening in 2005. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of dining at Chef Vincent’s Caprice – but judging from the worried murmurings of most of my foodie friends, he definitely had large boots (or should that be serving spoons?) to fill.
Keen to see what new chef Fabrice Vulin had in store for the Four Seasons Hong Kong’s prime fine dining establishment, I opted for a mix and match between his set lunch menu and his a la carte offerings. Having worked at several Michelin-starred joints across Europe (including his own two Michelin-starred restaurant in Marakesh), it’s clear that Vulin is definitely putting his own spin on things with his inaugural Caprice menu, with many dishes having a slight Moroccan flavour.
After a round of delicious amuse-bouche and scrumptious plunderings from the breadbasket, I kicked things off with a somewhat underwhelming scallop, truffle and champagne butter appetiser from the a la carte menu. A little bland and dry, this dish left me rather unmoved – I had definite food envy for the smoked haddock starter from the a la carte menu instead!
Thankfully, my dining companions were generous and allowed me a small sampler of this “posh fish pie”, which was packed with smoky, hearty flavours.
Things were quickly on the up for my main, the “Cut of the Day” from the set lunch menu. It’s a total foodie cliché by now, but this beautiful piece of Wagyu beef really was cooked to perfection – perfectly pink, tender and totally delicious. I absolutely adored the rich jus drizzled over it (can I have this in a gravy boat to go, please?) and was also pleasantly surprised by the side of macaroni cheese that accompanied it.
It’s not exactly the first thing that leaps to mind when you think of Michelin-starred dining, but with lashings of creamy melted cheese and just a hint of truffle, it’s easily as decadently delicious as anything else on the menu!
We also tried the black truffle risotto – a must-order for all you truffle fiends out there as it’s piled high with the stuff, even if it was a little watery on the day of our visit. I also snuck a piece of my friend Charmaine’s caramelised pigeon breast, one of the more overtly Moroccan-influenced dishes on the menu, and was impressed with its heady blend of Middle Eastern spices.
We finished things off with a selection of pastry chef Marike van Beurden’s desserts – and I was blown away by her use of colour, texture and flavour in each dish. Best-looking went to Charmaine’s lemon tart with cactus flower (got to love that Sassy pink!) but if you’re talking pure indulgence, then there’s no contest.
Check out the components for my “Le Chocolat Alto El Sol”: dulce de leche, salted caramel, Panama coffee and chocolate ice cream. Say no more, folks!
I also have to mention the wonderful petit-fours; peanut, pineapple and chocolate doesn’t strike me as an obvious combination, yet it was sublime when magicked together into a wonderfully airy mini macaron.
It would be a crime to dine at Caprice and not sample their unrivalled selection of French cheeses – and sample we did! Whether your fromage fancy is oozy goat’s cheese, strong blues or just lots and lots of Comte (no prizes for guessing which one I fell hard for), Caprice’s attentive waiters can bring you the perfect personalised selection.
Often in Hong Kong, you forget what wonderful service is… so it’s great to visit a restaurant that knows how to do it with ease. Efficient, attentive, knowledgeable and friendly without being overbearing, they ensure that your meal slips by seamlessly. Caprice is definitely a venue to take those you wish to impress – the grandeur of the décor, with floor-to-ceiling windows taking in sweeping views of the harbour and plush carpets and armchairs, make every diner feel like a royal. Appetisers start from $410, mains from $690 and desserts from $180, whilst the set lunch is a not unreasonable $495-560.
Overall, although there’s still room for refinement in certain areas, Chef Fabrice’s menu certainly offers enough surprises, potential and quality to make me believe that Caprice will continue to be the go-to fine dining French restaurant in Hong Kong. I’m definitely excited to see him get into his stride more at the Four Seasons… and come on, with a name that rhymes perfectly with the establishment he’s cooking at, a successful career at Caprice for Fabrice was surely written in the stars!
Caprice Bar Podium 6, Four Seasons Hotel, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong
3196 8860 www.fourseasons.com/…