La Dame de Pic debuts its autumn menu with a new chef de cuisine
Herbs, herbs and more herbs take centre stage for Francesco Di Marzio, the newly instated chef de cuisine, as he pays tribute to fall.
by Lu Yawen /
October 14, 2021
Ushering the winds of European autumns, the seasonal menu at La Dame de Pic comes alongside the restaurant’s new chef de cuisine, Francesco Di Marzio. New to Singapore, the young, heavily inked Italian lad has quite a reasonable number of Michelin-starred tenures under his belt and was also one of the few nominated for the San Pellegrino Young Chef Award in his region for three years.
He’s no stranger to working with Anne-Sophie Pic. He first met the mild-mannered chef at a private members club in 2017 then got an opportunity to work at Pic’s 132-year-old family restaurant, Maison Pic in Valence before assuming the role of acting chef de cuisine for the PIC Group. Coming out for a post-meal chat after, he tells us he’s excited to be entrusted with bringing to life Pic’s direction for Singapore and to see more of the country.
The menu comes with two options — Elegance menu comprising seven-courses and the Experience menu of six-courses — and the former offering more premium produce such as Matsutake mushrooms and uni from Hokkaido. The assortment of internationally-sourced ingredients are further complemented by the crown jewel of fall season — the truffle. White truffles make their way into the menu come mid-October, whereas black truffles show up later in December.
On its own, the autumn menu is a vivid spectacle of colours, flavours and aromas as one would expect from La Dame de Pic. They waste no time in jolting the senses and by the third appetiser, a reiteration of prawn kueh pie tee and kuih loyang (rose cookies), we’re treated to an invigorating smoked paprika powder that gets our appetite roaring to go.
Flavour intensity steadily builds up with an amuse bouche of tart vinegar-compressed French melons between dollops of burrata cream surrounding a heap of shiny bottarga spheres, all swimming in a herbal lapsang souchong tea.
It’s a gentle lead in to the Berlingots, a mainstay on the menu that are essentially triangular pasta parcels, which are given an autumnal update. Stuffed with French cheese fondue, they come in leek dashi infused with green cardamom and matcha. The latter, unfortunately, fades into the background as the woody notes of cardamom and cheese are thrust to the fore with shavings of cherry wood-smoked then dehydrated leek added tableside.
The dish is a lot to take in at once but thankfully the Anne-Sophie Pic & Michel Chapoutier Saint-Péray Lieu-dit Payrolles 2016 that it’s paired with helps curtail the bolder flavours with its minerality and oak.
The mains next, a Turbot from Brittany cooked “meunière” and Pigeon from Bresse, are both perfectly done but don’t benefit from the accompanying herbs that just seem to overwhelm the proteins. A geranium, tarragon and sage sauce with the delicate fish feels a bit heavy handed and distracting as does the fennel with the pigeon.
We are surprised to find that a combination pairing of alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages the likes of kombucha and tea, worked in favour of the dishes more so than the full alcoholic pairing. Fermented in-house, the kombucha is punchy enough to stand up to the herb-heavy dishes and also works well as a palate cleanser between courses.
By the time the cheese trolley rolls over, you might be pleading for mercy with the ever gracious wait staff who’ll convince you to overcommit to a few slices of pungent soft cheeses. And if there’s one thing you can’t fault, is that you’ll leave La Dame de Pic with a full belly.
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