Dining at Caprice, the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong’s two-Michelin-starred French fine dining restaurant, is an experience that qualifies as eating of epic sensations.
The Chinoiserie décor itself is in a league of its own. With three massive Czech crystal chandeliers framed by large views overlooking the harbour, leather armchairs and an underlit catwalk-like landing in Yayoi Kusama-yellow from one end of the space to the other, the ambience is vibrant, classy and impactful. The open kitchen even has a curtain of Swarovski crystals perched above the stoves, making you feel like you’re dining within a diamond.
Under the baton of Chef Guillaume Galliot — who was once the youngest sous chef at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, and formerly at the helm of The Tasting Room by Galliot in Macau, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant — Caprice has maintained its two Michelin star rating since he joined the French institution in 2017. So it follows that when Chef Galliot stopped by our table to say hello and tell us a little bit about himself and his background, we happily gave him free rein over our meal.
“The open kitchen even has a curtain of Swarovski crystals perched above the stoves, making you feel like you’re dining within a diamond.”
The service standards were, of no surprise, exceptional. Each course arrived perfectly timed and accompanied by a phalanx of waiters who simultaneously flourished the cloches open with bright eyes and polite smiles. Throughout lunch, the staff moved swiftly around, brisk walking over at the slightest indication to tend to our every request, query or concern. My warm water cup, for one, never fell below the halfway mark, and we didn’t once lack the appropriate utensil or accoutrement at any point.
For our appetiser, we sampled one of the signatures: a ‘Land and Sea Tartare’ composed of Australian Wagyu beef and Gillardeau oyster, topped with Kristal caviar and a surprisingly large sheet of gold leaf for a visual oomph. Fresh snow peas lent a distinct crunch while a ring of egg confit and parsley drops presented an orange and green ring around the beef. Ooh la la.
“Each course arrived perfectly timed and accompanied by a phalanx of waiters who simultaneously flourished the cloches open with bright eyes and polite smiles.”
The next dish was one of the standouts of the meal. Named ‘L’Œuvre de Mon Voyage à Singapore Le Laksa au Crabe Royal, Œuf Confit et Citron Sudachi’, it roughly translates to ‘The Work of My Journey to Singapore: The Laksa with King Crab, Confit Egg and Sudachi Lime’. The creation was inspired by Chef Galliot’s time in Singapore and blended with classical French flavours — laksa being one of the most iconic local dishes of the city-state.
Served in a crustacean-shaped bowl, the yellow sauce — lighter than the typical orange laksa soup — bore the same, rich flavour. Within, fresh snow crab, lobster, leeks, coriander, chopped hazelnuts and a dusting of grated lime zest came together elegantly to enhance, as opposed to overpower, each ingredient.
The next three plates were equally noteworthy: a creamy Guilvinec turbot in new Caledonia prawn consommé with ginger; Racan pigeon cooked in a cocoa pod with pumpkin purée, salsify, and natural jus; and a glorious beef cheek Parmentier with potato espuma and parmesan cheese, topped off generously with black truffle.
The pigeon in particular, which hails from Chef Galliot’s home region of Loire Valley, was first shown to us in its cocoa pod before being carved up. The presentation was exquisite, the smell sublime. For the final finish, an outrageous topping of truffles went hand-in-hand with the juicy, full-bodied flesh.
All too soon, it was time for dessert but the culinary delights continued. Courtesy of esteemed pastry chef Nicolas Lambert, we enjoyed a pre-dessert yuzu parfait-meringue concoction with basil syphons and lime jelly drops on a crispy polenta that had the lightness of being. The combination of the different textures also contrasted beautifully at first bite, to the last.
Last but not least was a Joe-inspired treat featuring coffee ice cream, walnut tuiles, laddie fingers soaked in coffee syrup and caramel drops that looked too good too eat, but one that I practically inhaled during the conversation. By the time our teas and mignardises arrived, the restaurant had emptied out before we realised.
Judging from this experience, Chef Galliot truly flexes his classically trained French muscle while blending in his own influences from working around the world. His creations are evidently thought-out and intriguing, making the entire affair memorable. Though Caprice lost a Michelin star from three to two after a change in leadership in 2014 — with Chef Galliot maintaining the two-star ranking since he’s come onboard — we predict a triumphant return to its former status sooner than later.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
8 Finance St, Central, Hong Kong
Phone: +852 3196 8888
Note: The critic was invited by Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong but all the opinions expressed herewith are her own