If you haven’t been back to La Dame de Pic since its debut at Raffles Singapore some two years ago, it’s time to plot a revisit. Since June, the Singapore offshoot of Anne Sophie Pic has installed a new Chef de Cuisine, Francesco Di Marzio and his background is nothing short of interesting.
Unusually for a French cuisine chef, Di Marzio is not French but an Italian who’s spent time in the kitchens of Benu Restaurant, San Francisco; The Greenhouse, London; and Amber at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. Naturally, his diverse training brings a unique perspective to his cooking but more importantly, Di Marzio has spent the last two-years as Acting Chef de Cuisine for the PIC Group and this training has given him a strong grounding in Pic’s ways. What’s Pic’s way, you ask? In my opinion, it’s contemporary French that weaves in Japanese ingredients as well as floral, sometimes mildly herbed, touches.
Although it does not currently have any awards to boast of, the Singapore offshoot of the three Michelin-starred Maison Pic in Valance has much to offer and an experience here will not cost you an arm and a leg just yet. At dinner, its six-course Experience menu costs $248++ while its seven course Elegant menu can be had for $338++. While both menus share some similar courses – namely the berlingots, Bresse pigeon, Picodon cheese and desserts selection – I would suggest the latter, which comes with lobster and matsutake, for the full experience.
You will remember Pic’s singularly iconic Berlingots, the pyramid-shaped pasta stuffed with cheese fondue and served with matcha tea, bergamot, watercress and ginger. A Pic icon since 2013, the berlingots get a facelift in Di Marzio’s debut autumn menu. Boasting a Comte cheese farce, the pasta parcels now arrive in a complex-tasting leek dashi infused with matcha and cardamom. At the table, a staff comes by with stalks of smoked and dehydrated leek and shaves the “katsuobushi” into the plate. Whether you like it or not (I do!), these berlingots will be what you remember the restaurant by.
Banking on the popularity of sea urchin, Di Marzio serves a sea urchin tartelette in the Elegant menu but not as you know it. Aptly named Sea Urchin from Hokkaido, the tartelette is served deconstructed with a crescent-shaped nori shell decorated with sudachi as well as dollops of sobacha cream and nori jelly, finished with a pour of vibrant-green nasturtium coulis at the table. Whilst wholly unorthodox, the matching of sweet, savoury, briny and citrus flavours with an earthy crust makes for a most unusual amalgamation of flavours.
Autumn brings with it a whiff of sweet cinnamon and cypress by way of Matsutake Mushroom and Di Marzi brandishes Pic’s unique style of serving these prized mushrooms. First cooked en papilotte with juniper branches, the meaty fungi arrives at the table with roasted peanuts and puddles of rosehip jam before a thick and creamy sabayon of Bourbon Pointu coffee, one of the most expensive coffees in the world, is spooned over and then finished with juniper and ginger-infused mushroom consomme. I usually prefer to eat my matsutake minimally adorned but would gladly make an exception for this luxurious preparation. It doesn’t hurt that it comes with a side of coffee-glazed waffle.
The Elegant menu demands that you choose between The Blue lobster from Brittany or Wild Sea Bass, I wholeheartedly recommend the latter because Pic’s Wild Sea Bass with Champagne sauce is exceptionally a fish course par excellence. A signature of her late father and executed to a T by Di Marzi, the fish arrives regally crowned with an army of caviar pearls and almost completely engulfed by clouds of foamy Champagne sauce. I am usually an advocate of less is more but in this case, more caviar and Champagne sauce can be a good thing.
Pic’s pristine White Mille-feuille cube has its fans but I much prefer her subtly-flavoured and utterly refreshing Williams Pear and White Tea dessert served in three parts: chestnut flower honey mousse with a veil of hibiscus jelly flanked by a Reine de Reinettes apple tatin and an ethereal scoop of silver needle white tea ice-cream.
If you can’t already tell, I am a newly-minted fan of La Dame de Pic. Save for the lobster course that was somewhat overwhelmed by the Madras curry-scented bisque, Di Marzio has knocked his autumn menu out of the park.
1 Beach Road, Raffles Singapore, Singapore 189 673; +65-6337 1886; raffles.com
© Evelyn Chen 2021
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.