It was a full house when I stepped into La Dame de Pic at Raffles Hotel Singapore one pre-holiday evening. It has been about a year since the renowned chef, Anne-Sophie Pic made her first foray in Asia by opening a branch of her popular La Dame de Pic restaurant in the Lion City. The reception so far has been quite positive, judging from the crowd that I saw and the feedback from friends and colleagues who have already visited. Not only do you get the exquisite classical ambiance of the Raffles Hotel Singapore as a backdrop but you also gain an understanding of Chef Pic’s culinary philosophy without having to fly to France – collectively she has 7 Michelin stars under her belt. The Singapore outlet of La Dame de Pic is helmed by Chef Kevin Gatin who has worked with Chef Pic for eight years before coming to Singapore.
To get to La Dame de Pic, enter via the hotel’s grand lobby. However, owing to the current situation, hotel staff members will instead usher you via a side gate. If you are coming on foot or by car, the drop-off point is still via the hotel main entrance.
La Dame de Pic in Raffles Hotel Singapore offers a couple of set menus. The lunch set starts from S$128++ per person and is served from Fridays to Sundays while the dinner set starts from S$248++ and is served daily. Wine and sake pairing is also available from S$158++. If you are an Accor Plus member, do note that dining discounts of up to 50% off do not apply to La Dame de Pic.
During this particular occasion, I tried the Experience menu, which at S$248++ is the entry-level dinner set at La Dame de Pic. It differs from the higher-priced Elegance menu (S$338++) in terms of the first appetizer and fish course.
When it comes to places like La Dame de Pic, the main consideration is perhaps the experience and the cuisine rather than being value-for-money but judging from the myriad of appetizers that came before the dinner properly started, I would have to say that when it comes to fine dining experiences in Singapore, you do get bang for your buck here as well. I had lost count but I believe we were served no less than five types of amuse bouche, some so exquisitely prepared that you’d need a magnifying glass just to see the dish’s level of detail.
Some consistent themes I perceived were the usage of refreshing ingredients like yuzu, lime, etc as well as the preponderance of elderflower – apparently a signature ingredient in all the La Dame de Pic outlets worldwide.
Small bites such as green yuzu spheres, Chinese crackers with smudges of mushroom jelly, fluffy muah-chee and mini tacos with mackerel and a “floral arrangement” on top are some of the treats to expect. They’re not only visually stunning but also provide that refreshing teaser to the palate.
The bread basket is another highlight at La Dame de Pic. I particularly enjoyed their cranberry-studded wholegrain bread. It went nicely with the house butter which had an unmistakable herbal blend.
The first proper course of the dinner is the Tomato Myriad. Nothing signifies summer more than the taste of delightfully sweet heirloom tomatoes, so brightly arranged and with a small scoop of burrata ice cream at the center. A staff member later came to pour a serving of tomato consomme (lightly infused with elderflower) to complete the ensemble. The latter was quite addictive and I could not help but tilting my bowl just to gulp down the whole thing.
Berlingots are one of Chef Pic’s signatures. These are essentially little pasta parcels – like ravioli – filled with French cheese fondue. Like the dish preceding it, this one also comes lightly drenched in a broth. This one’s made from herb of grace. Our server made a purposeful attempt to explain what “herb of grace” is called in Chinese – chou cao. All it takes is one small bite of the dumplings for the full flavor of the cheese fondue to burst open and explode in your mouth. Similar to my experience with the yuzu sphere and in one of the petite fours that was to come later, I came to realize by the end of the meal that this “mouthful surprise” is another theme that comes with the dining experience here.
Tuna Belly from Hokkaido
One of my favorite dishes during my dinner experience at La Dame de Pic is the Tuna Belly from Hokkaido. The fish is marinated with ginger flower, Tasmanian pepper and pandan. Cooked to the right tenderness, the tuna had the juicy consistency of a steak done medium-rare. I would have been perfectly contented even if the meal ended here.
For the main dish, diners get to choose either the Saga Beef or Pigeon from Bresse. Being the red-meat lover that I am, I naturally chose the beef even though loyal customers of La Dame de Pic who saw my Instagram stories that night told me that I should have chosen the pigeon instead.
Well, I have to say that I had no regrets with my choice whatsoever because the beef which comes from its namesake prefecture in Japan had an almost melt-in-your mouth quality to it especially towards the center. Salt was sprinkled lightly in all the right places, giving the meat a dreamy quality when consumed. Best of all, it’s marinated with Kampot pepper.
Brie de Meaux Cheese with Vanilla
Most fine dining outlets come with the optional cheese trolley but at La Dame de Pic they go one step further by truly incorporating a cheese course into the dinner. The Brie de Meaux Cheese with Vanilla is a nod for soft cheese lovers and acts as a dessert in its own right. There’s a palpable competition here between savory and sweet, with a slight inclination towards the savory side. I loved the custard-like consistency of the cheese. As it was served slightly warm, the pungent aroma of brie was also wafting in the air, adding to its appeal.
Ahh…the customary cheese platter. If you are a cheese lover, you will be spoiled for choice at La Dame de Pic. I am not a cheese expert and I typically stick to my reliable array of soft cheeses like camembert. But they do have some rare cheeses here as well. Their curated cheeses can be had for an additional S$38++ per person.
There are at least three choices for desserts here. However if it is your first time at La Dame de Pic, the recommendation is to go for the White Mille Feuille. When it was served, the first thing that came into my mind was – where is the mille feuille? Turns out it’s well hidden inside the white cube. Cut it open to reveal the well-defined mille feuille layers. Despite the obvious cream base, the mille feuille carried a prominent plant-based flavor brought about by the intermingling of ginger mixed with the cream and the grapefruit confit found within the layers of the pastry.
We ended the meal with petite fours. The calamansi bonbon brought to mind the other items we had earlier that had a similar concept, from the green yuzu sphere and even the Berlingots which simply exploded with flavors once you bit into them.
My dinner at La Dame de Pic was probably the longest dinner I have had in recent memory. We started at about 7:30PM and lasted well beyond 11PM. This was mainly due to the sheer number of courses that came with the dinner even though service was rather prompt. I would recommend booking an earlier slot.
Going back to the question I posted in the title – is La Dame de Pic worth it? For this level of dining and using other comparable French restaurants in Singapore with Michelin accolades, I would definitely have to say yes. There was a lot to take in during the 3+ hours dinner and even with their “entry-level” Experience set, I could see the impressive level of detail that went into the preparation of dishes. La Dame de Pic offers a heightened dining experience, no doubt about it. But on days I don’t need to impress – there are four dishes I would really love to go back for if a la carte orders were possible – the beef, tuna, mini tacos and the brie de meaux cheese.
La Dame de Pic
1 Beach Road
Raffles Hotel Singapore
Daily except Mon and Tues
12PM to 1:45PM (last seating)
6:30PM to 8:45PM (last seating)