It was noon when we walked through the patio doors of La Dame de Pic – and 4.30pm when we come out, half delirious with gastronomic bliss. We’re one of the last lunch room guests to leave, but our marathon of a multi-course meal – one staff member happily tells us – is not uncommon.
On one momentous occasion, a man lingered over lunch, drank throughout cocktail hour… and decided he might as well stay for dinner.
All of this to say that three-star chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s French restaurant has the enchantment of another world – one that can easily charm you for hours on end.
Located in the Raffles Hotel Singapore, the light-flooded space resembles a graceful ballroom with its arched mirrors and colossal brass chandelier. The palette of blush and plum roses is decidedly feminine, highlighted by bouquets of peonies and a pink rose on each table.
But all of that is eclipsed when our food begins to arrive, each dish served as deliciously as a miniature fall garden.
Seasonal menus are the order of the day at La Dame de Pic, with its last autumn menu available until the end of the year.
Designed by new chef and Pic protégé Francesco Di Marzio, the six-course Experience menu ($ 248 ++ per person) and the seven-course Elegance menu ($ 338 ++ per person) balance French flair with the surprisingly Asian flavors.
The drink pairings (from $ 158 ++), organized by sommelier Justin Wee, reflect this fusion with a blend of sake and French wines highlighting Madame Pic’s birthplace: the Rhône Valley.
We start our Elegance menu with not one but three appetizers, each a work of art in its own right.
There are cherry candies that burst on the tongue like chocolate bubbles, letting out an intoxicating explosion of cherry juice, Campari and sake.
Next comes a brioche the size of a pebble, so expertly sprinkled with matcha that it evokes a stone freshly dug into its veneered “soil”.
To complete the trio, a superb honeycomb cracker sprinkled with paprika and spinach powder, accompanied by a kueh pie tee oozing cognac yogurt and sweet Gambero Rosso shrimp.
We gasp when the Hokkaido sea urchin lands on our table.
This sweet sable tart is carved into a gorgeous crescent curve and dressed like a colorful garden with dollops of nutty sobacha cream, tangy sudachi, nori jelly – and of course, creamy uni Hokkaido.
Everything harmonizes like a symphony on the palate, and it’s even better paired with one of Justin’s sake finds: Yamamoto Midnight Blue Junmai Ginjo, a rare bottling with notes of ripe rock melon.
In the fall, matsutake mushrooms are one of Japan’s most popular delicacies, and we can taste the first fruits of the season in Matsutake mushroom.
Cooked in foil, this jewel is fleshy, woody and dipped in ginger mushroom consomme. Coffee and mushrooms might seem like strange bed companions, but here a surprising touch of Bourbon Pointu coffee sabayon helps accentuate the mushroom’s nutty flavors beautifully.
The accompanying coffee waffle is a bit more bewildering – it’s delicious on its own, but doesn’t seem to gel with the other textures in the broth.
In Berlingots, we get a revival of Anne-Sophie Pic’s iconic pyramid-shaped pasta infused with matcha, inspired by her favorite childhood sweets.
Stuffed with a light French cheese fondue, each satisfying piece is bathed in herbaceous dashi and finished with smoked leek.
Rightly so, this nostalgic dish is accompanied by a branded wine, born of a long friendship between the Pic and Chapoutier families: Anne-Sophic Pic & Michel Chapoutier Saint-Peray “Lieu-Dit Payrolles” 2016.
This Rhône white has a rounded mineral frame of tropical fruit, which sounds great with herbed dashi.
Taking the fusional flair up a notch, Brittany blue lobster is a blend inspired by three cuisines.
The broth here mixes three liquids that you would never have thought of mixing: shellfish bisque, genmaicha and Madras curry.
Still, one way or another, it works – the blue lobster shell umami broth, enhanced by roasted genmaicha and rich curry spices, blends into a deep, almost coffee-like concoction.
Floating in the bisque, a bed of yuzu-infused koshihikari rice, set with the dish’s crown jewel: blue lobster seared on binchotan to smoky perfection.
Our choice for the meat dish is Le Pigeon de Bresse – because where else in Singapore could you eat pigeons?
Our blood red pigeon breast cut is firm and smooth, smoked with sobacha for a nutty depth. We also can’t stop pouring the pigeon juice fillet – it’s infused with Bourbon Pointu which gives the meat a bitter and flavorful touch.
Between the appetizers, the bread basket and the generously sized dishes, we are stuffed at this point. But how can you resist the cheese cart when it’s out, wearing a parade of funky and fragrant curated cheeses ($ 38)?
If you are a fan of blue cheeses, get a slice of Bleu d’Auvergne and Fourme d’Ambert; Otherwise, don’t miss the nutty, earthy beauty of a 30 month old Earl.
The selection of desserts includes new creations such as Tulakalum chocolate.
This show features a graceful pair of crescent curves: one of green pepper panna cotta with a surprising kick, and the other of peppermint mousse enlivened with shiso, both generously adorned with chocolate mousse and of chocolate cake cubes.
Equally stunning is the fruity option, Williams Pear and White Tea.
Think of the delicious slices of caramelized Reine de Reinettes apple tarte tatin style and the chestnut blossom honey mousse, arranged to imitate a shiny apple.
To accompany, we are back in the Rhône Valley with a dessert wine from Monsieur Chapoutier – a silky 2018 Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise with a sweetness of tangerine.
The fall menu will evolve to include seasonal white truffles in mid-October and black truffles in December, as well as nods to the holiday season ahead.
If you’re up for a four-hour feast of the senses, trust La Dame to make it one to remember.
The Lady of Pic is located at the Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673, p. +65 6337 1886. Open Tue 6.30 p.m.-8.45 p.m., Wed-Sat 12 p.m.-1.45 p.m. & 6.30 p.m.-8.45 p.m. Closed Sun and Mon.
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This article first appeared in Nomads of the city.