At her first Asian outpost housed within the iconic Raffles Singapore, Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophic Pic waves her culinary magic wand to conjure up a spellbinding melange of novel yet impressive flavours.
Acclaimed French chef Anne-Sophic Pic – who has seven Michelin stars under her belt – made her debut in Asia with the opening of La Dame de Pic at the restored Raffles Singapore earlier in July.
The 46-seater in the main hotel building took over the space that once housed the Raffles Grill. Gone are the wooden chairs and stiff white tablecloths of yesteryear, all of which have been updated with plush maroon armchairs and black-topped tables rimmed with metallic accents.
Pic follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, hailing from a long lineage of chefs. Her great grandmother started Maison Pic in Valence in 1889, which was succeeded by her grandfather André, who earned the restaurant its first three Michelin stars in 1934. Pic’s father Jacques took over the business in 1956 and helmed the company’s operations until his death in 1992. After which, Pic’s brother ran the restaurant briefly before she decided to continue the family business.
The third-generation chef-owner runs two other La Dame de Pic restaurants in Paris and London.
Over the course of a languid three-hour lunch, every canapé, amuse bouche, and dish that was placed before me was gorgeously plated, brightly coloured, and light on the palate. Cuisine-wise, evident is the creativity of Pic and her prodigy of eight years, chef de cuisine Kevin Gatin, as they added a local twist to contemporary French dishes.
For instance, her signature berlingots – pasta parcels adapted to reflect its own locale in all three of her restaurants – have been given an Asian twist.
Here in Singapore, the pyramid-shaped pasta parcels was matcha-flavoured, filled with molten French cheese fondue, and covered in a consommé derived from green zebra tomatoes and infused with the herb of grace or chou cao (literally translates to “stinky grass” from Mandarin). Apparently, Pic chanced upon the local medicinal herb while strolling through one of our wet markets!
Some of the snacks served also demonstrated Pic’s boundless creativity, and revealed how she wields her flavour combinations like a sharp-edged knife, constantly surprising my palate. Think curry inside liquid chocolate balls; a cracker topped with lemon confit and mushroom gel; and yoghurt dollops on basmati rice chips.
I also noticed that all of our main courses came graced with a consommé. Without fail, every time a consommé was poured into the dish, its delicious aroma would waft lazily to my nose, helping to whet my appetite. Pic values aroma complexities, which is something she tries to bring forth in all of her dishes.
More Asian influences could also be found in the Wild Turbot where the dish’s apple-based broth was infused with marigold; and the pièce de résistance, the Saga Wagyu Beef – a juicy, roasted slab of Japanese Wagyu paired with smoked beetroot and an osmanthus-infused mushroom broth.
Even the dessert wasn’t spared the gentle touch of an Asian herb, with the White Mille-feuille, another of Pic’s signatures, featuring a ginger flower light cream, confit grapefruit and Litsea cubeba emulsion. The dessert, which resembled a wobbly block of tofu, proved an intricate and complex work of art when sliced apart. Definitely do not judge a book by its cover, or a dessert by its appearance, for I was astounded by the number of layers and textures contained within its unassuming white shell.
As a teetotaller, I was pleasantly surprised that La Dame de Pic offered a tea pairing. I opted for the Bo Hojicha Coffee Tea, a smooth, roasted tea with a green tea base, that was refreshing and absolutely delightful. The tea is one of two blends, the other being Chamomile Oolong, that chef Pic has created for her restaurant here.
Splendid. It was an impeccable five-course meal – peppered with numerous canapés and palate cleansers – in an iconic hotel on a lazy afternoon.
Here’s a tip: Try to get a window-side table. Not only will the natural sunlight make your food photos look fantastic, the palms and grassy courtyard that the window opens out to will put you in a relaxed mood.
Despite the plethora of options crowding the Singapore dining scene, only a handful are founded or helmed by female chefs, which is another solid reason why this restaurant stands out.
Rates Set lunches start from S$128 (US$93) per person, with an extra S$58 for wine pairing.
There are three menus (Exploration, Experience and Elegance) for dinner, which differ by the number of courses. Menus are pegged at S$198, S$218 and S$328, respectively, with an extra S$98, S$118, S$158 for wine and sake pairing. These three menus are also available during lunchtime.
There’s also an optional pre-dessert cheese course at S$30.