May 3, 2024

Another relaxing Friday lunch

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I had originally scheduled a lunch date a few weeks back with a friend who needed a break from going through some stressful times, and Caprice was the requested venue. Unfortunately I got sick and was still coughing by the time we were supposed to meet, so we rescheduled when I felt I was finally recovering. And here we are.

Hairy Le Squer isn't in the kitchen today. He's at another event outside Hong Kong, so he left instructions with Suveg on what he wanted for us. Well... it's not like he's doing any cooking in the kitchen anyway...

In lieu of the usual boîte à bijoux and the trio of bites, we had a proper amuse bouche today:

Potato espuma, balik salmon, Kristal caviar - decorated with egg yolk, chives, and lemon zest on top. Very pretty looking.

I looooove spreading things on bread, and took the opportunity to put this on the quignon of the baguette. Naturally this was very savory with lots of umami, but I did find it a little too salty.

Crabe royal d'Alaska, gelée de crustacés, huître Gillardeau et caviar osciètre prestige de ⟪La Maison Kaviari⟫ - a dish that I know well and love. I was a little surprised that I was served this today, but I guess it's a crowd-pleaser that made my friend very happy. The king crab, the crustacean gelée, the Gillardeau oysters, and of course the big quenelle of caviar together pack a big punch in terms of flavor, especially the umami from the gelée and the caviar. As usual, there wasn't enough gold.

Calamar Japonais et fricassée d'asperges vertes, sauce asperges - quelle surprise! There's firefly squid (螢烏賊) on the menu here! It's highly seasonal in spring, and came on top of a rectangular block of asparagus fricassé, along with some pretty-looking garlic chips, and surrounded by asparagus sauce. I found a surprising amount of acidity here thanks to the presence of lemon, with citrus fragrance adding a different facet. The garlic chips were very nice, too.

Brittany blue lobster, mushrooms, poached white asparagus, foie gras, vin jaune sauce - what a fantastic dish! Homard bleu is always done beautifully here, and today it's complemented by not just soft and fluffy foie gras but hearty flavors of both button mushrooms and morels. Throw in some white asparagus for crunch and cleaner flavors for balance, then add some warmth with sauce vin jaune. Doesn't get much better than this.

Kinmedai with carrot variation, dolce forte sauce - quite a few different presentations of carrots here, incluing calisson, carpaccio, baby carrot... First time tasting dolce forte sauce, which is both sweet and sour.

I've always loved the clam and scallop mousse underneath the fish, and today was no exception. Just perfect with the fish on top.

I didn't have room for beef when I came here two weeks ago to try out the new dishes for this rotation, so Hairy Legs made sure I got to try the nice hunk of Japanese tenderloin. As I usually prefer other protein for my main course, it has been quite a few years since I last had beef here.

Bœuf de Saga Japonais, courgette, sauce Toro Albalá - the A4 wagyu was just so, sooo tender... like buttah, as Linda Richman used to say. The courgette carpaccio was just so pretty visually, and the "green pea garden" was the same tart I had two weeks ago, with a little wasabi, lemon gel, fennel flowers.

I was pretty full already, so I only asked for some Brillat-Savarin when it came to cheese.

Fraise fraîche, crémeux au basilic, glace vanille et fraise - 'tis the season for strawberries, and we got some gariguettes. Very happy.

I can't believe I actually ate the mignardises given how full I was, but I guess I just couldn't resist... with the raspberry tart, chocolate with hazelnut and liquid chocolate caramel, and a choux.

Victor very kindly offered us a glass of bubbly to start our meal...

2012 Billecart Salmon Louis Salmon, myorigin 121233, dégorgée 1er trimestre 2023 - nice and fragrant nose, a little yeasty, with good lemon citrus notes. Nicely balanced on the palate, without being either too dry or too ripe.

2004 Harlan Estate The Maiden - served a little over 30 minutes after opening. Really nice nose with smoke and woodsy notes. A little savory and also leather, not too Californian and actually more French. After 1 hour this was sweeter on the palate. After 1½ hours the wine was showing stewed prunes, and with a new pour there was such huge level of concentration and richness, and even sweeter now, and minty. Finally the true Californian character was coming out.

1977 Niepoort Colheita, from imperial - very nutty nose as expected. Love the sweetness and the oxidation, but the nose was a little sharp in terms of alcohol.

This was such a wonderful lunch. Loved checking out some new dishes from Hairy Legs and Suveg, but more importantly, spending quality time with my friend who obviously needed a break from 'the usual.' We should catch up again, and sooner rather than later.

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