PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2006, 12:00am

Four Seasons

8 Finance Street, Central

Tel: 3196 8888

Open: noon-2.30pm; 6pm-10.30pm (last orders)

Cuisine: Modern and traditional French.

Ambience: Dining for the moneyed crowd, with tables of tai-tais next to banker-types. The elegant, gold-coloured, split-level dining room is fitted with crystal-and-mirror chandeliers and a large open kitchen. A green lit pathway that looks like a catwalk divides the restaurant.

Price: Staggering. Our three-course meal was $1,100 per person, including 10 per cent service charge and one glass of the least expensive wine (it ranges from $100 to $230 per glass).

Pros: Floor-to-ceiling windows show off a stunning harbour view of Kowloon. The service was flawless, and the knowledgeable staff were attentive.

Cons: Given the prices, we were expecting fireworks from the food, but most of it was just OK - and the portions were small. The servers freely poured Perrier - then added $95 to the bill for a large bottle. The roasted Challans duck with caramelised endives and smooth chestnut puree ($360) was bland.

Recommended dishes: For starters, we ordered the ballotine of French foie gras ($290). It came as a disc of creamy pate, with a slightly bitter pomelo marmalade and sweet blackcurrant puree adding an extra layer of flavour. We enjoyed the spring vegetable fricassee ($140) - sauteed vegetables such as string beans, peas, capsicum and carrots paired with tiny bits of pickled carrots, cucumber and gherkins - but thought it would have been better as a side dish than an appetiser. The winner was the sea bass with baby artichoke sauce, melted onions and black olive tapenade ($350, above). The perfectly cooked fish was baked and seared, sealing in the delicate flavours. For dessert, the coffee-flavoured tart with Arabica ice cream and shot of frappuccino ($130) was sinfully delicious. The coconut and pineapple dacquoise (layers of nut meringue) and pistachio creme brulee ($130) topped with rice crisps, and sorbet was a fresh, fruity finish.

What else? There's an eight-course tasting menu ($1,050) and a four-course set menu ($780). For special occasions, reserve one of three private rooms (up to 12 people) or a spot by the kitchen at the chef's table.