Chef Anne-Sophie Pic is a third-generation Michelin-star holder. If that sounds like an incredible feat, Michel Troisgros comes to mind as another, but after that…
Chef Pic has 10 establishments and seven Michelin stars to her name, with her father and grandfather before her also helming acclaimed kitchens. She has finally graced Asia for the first time with her new opening at the recently renovated Raffles hotel. The chef has said that she feels an affinity for Singapore, having spent time here as a university student and being inspired by the city and its ingredients, which she has neatly incorporated into her dishes. Chef Pic is known for using much less butter, cream and milk than typical French chefs, and this gives her food a completely contemporary feel, both on the plate and the palate.
On arrival at Raffles Singapore, we were ushered inside by the liveried doormen. You already feel like you are experiencing a little bit of history as you enter the elegant lobby, which manages to be both intensely nostalgic and bang up to date at the same time. Walking into the elegant dining room of La Dame de Pic, it is unashamedly feminine – oyster-hued walls, dusk-pink alcoves and smoky velvet banquettes – a masterclass in elegant girl power.
As we took our seats, specially selected Billecart-Salmon champagne was poured, and our eyes were drawn to the exquisite cutlery; a flat-bottomed butter knife stood to attention, ready to plunge into the ellipse of Bordier butter by its side. Very soon our first taste of Chef Pic’s cuisine arrived in the form of a micro-thin shell of white chocolate encasing an explosion of yuzu juice. This mini mouth bomb was an encouraging sign of things to come – a sweet yet tart hit acting like an aperitif within an edible sphere. There was even an underlying base of coffee in there, which didn’t hit until the very end and made the tiny globe feel like a mini meal of discovery in itself.
Next up was a fascinating ode to Singapore with the muah-chee-inspired French marshmallows – fluffy squares on a stick dusted in peanut powder that felt like a a very ritzy version of the city’s glutinous rice balls.
We were most excited to try the the berlingots, Chef Pic’s signature pasta parcels shaped like the French candy of the same name. She adapts them for each restaurant she opens, incorporating local flavours within. These matcha pyramids were indeed beautiful to behold, artful yet fragile and managing to hold a substantial interior of French cheese fondue. They were semi-submerged in a fennel broth of lovage, absinthe and red Kampot pepper. The flavour was unique, and the ingenuity and cleverness of the far-out combination won us over.
Our Japanese sommelier, Hiromi, returned, brandishing a large bottle of exquisitely delicate sake to accompany the next course of the menu, samegarei (rough-skinned sole) from Hokkaido. This was prepared meunière style with celeriac and an apple broth infused with cinnamon and green anise. It was balanced and aromatic yet bright and bold.
When the winsome ingot of Wagyu arrived, we were naturally excited to taste it, and there were audible gasps after the first bite – it was so devastatingly perfect. It was the kind of mouthful that makes you feel you should never order steak again or you would only be disappointed. Cooked sous vide and finished over hot coals, the cuisson was beyond perfect, accompanied by fine-spun parcels of geranium-stuffed cabbage, with the zesty, floral aroma of Buddha’s hands mingling temptingly with the beef jus. If you’re going to make meat an extravagance to be occasionally enjoyed, this is where you should spend your carnivorous dollars.
And let’s not forget the wine. Accompanying the beef was a triumphant Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2014 from Mas Saint-Louis, a producer of premium Rhône wines local to Chef Pics’s flagship restaurant, Maison Pic, in Valence, France. It goes without saying that it perfectly complemented the beef.
With such delicacy of execution in the dishes so far, we were all absolutely up for the dessert course. Chef Pic has won many plaudits for her incredible dessert creations, including her famous white millefeuille, an architectural triumph in the form of a creamy cube of Chantilly cream whipped with gelatin. It hides layers of puff pastry and grapefruit jelly that, whilst undoubtedly impressive, are just pipped to the post taste-wise by the most incredible raspberry sorbet topped with a creamy beer and coffee foam.
We finished with a round of beautiful petits fours and a really interesting sweet wine, a Moscato Rosa from Franz Haas, one of the finest producers in Alto Adige, Italy. For any wine enthusiast, the care and attention paid to the pairings will not be lost on you at La Dame de Pic.
Happily, having devoured the Exploration menu (S$198; +S$98 for wine and sake pairings) over lunchtime, there was none of that heaviness that often accompanies a massive tasting menu. This is haute cuisine for the modern day, reflecting exactly what diners are looking for: to be wowed in a beautiful, welcoming space by exciting flavours and a lightness of touch.
If you are looking to drop jaws, along with a fair bit of cash, this is the place to do it.
Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673, +65 6337 1886, book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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