What? This is the first UK restaurant from chef Anne-Sophie Pic, the only current female French chef to hold 3 Michelin stars.
New? Yes, it opened at the start of this year with the opening of the new Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.
Where? Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AJ, www.ladamedepiclondon.co.uk
On the Menu: Showcasing Anne-Sophie’s distinctive cooking style, the menu features classic British ingredients brought together with more exotic and unusual flavour combinations. Dishes include the likes of beetroot and bourbon pointu coffee baked in a salt crust with foam and barberry; Challans chicken marinated in sake with hispi cabbage, razor clams, Gilou lemon and sauce supreme and Brixham Dover sole with braised endives, green apple, celery and green anise emulsion.
First Impressions: Unlike the bar, which seemed unusually quiet, the restaurant was busy – a good sign because when you enter the rotunda at the front of the hotel, you wouldn’t know that the restaurant was there. Admittedly, it isn’t the sort of restaurant that you’d just walk off the streets for, but clearly Anne-Sophie’s name is drawing the customers in.
The Look: Designed by Bruno Moinard of Paris-based architects, 4BI, the room is both open and intimate. White walls, high ceilings and mirrored columns give the feeling of space, but the black booths, terracotta banquettes and low lighting give it an intimate feel. We sat in the private dining area, which is still part of the restaurant but can be closed off. Were I to visit again, I’d want to sit in a booth, a little more privacy but less like you’re out on a limb.
What We Ate: From a series of amuse bouche that are brought out, it’s the cashew and curry marshmallow that has us talking, don’t think of it as a marshmallow, you’ll be fooled by its nutty, savoury flavour. A cauliflower consommé topped with grilled Mimolette cheese that follows is heavenly.
The signature starter of Belingots, is made up of green pasta parcels filled with smoked Pélardon cheese and surrounded by mushrooms, grated tonka beans and voatisperifery pepper – if you’re not up to speed on your peppers, it’s a Madagascan pepper with notes of pine. It might look delicate, but it’s a surprisingly substantial dish with a rich, smoky flavour.
Cornish crab is served with steamed sobacha (a tea made from roasted buckwheat) and hidden in a creamy dill panna cotta with Corsican clementine, mikan jelly (orange) to contrast with crunchy celeriac.
The biggest, plumpest Scottish scallops were served with a nepita (a Corsican herb) bouillon, shavings of black truffle and root vegetable parcels filled with a root vegetable puree, which had a distinctive amaretto flavour – not something you’d think to put with root vegetables, but the sweetness worked wonderfully with the nuttiness.
At £41, the Hereford Beef is the second most expensive dish on the menu (if you’re going all out, you want the Cornish Wild Turbot) and is served with roasted with Monts Amaro coffee – coffee is a key feature in Anne-Sophie’s cooking, you’ll find it in infused in the butter too. Accompanying it were cinnamon leaves, celeriac in brown butter with gin and sobacha and rounds of potato. The beef was cooked perfectly, but for that price it needed something green just to lift the dish and give a splash of colour.
I’m predicting that the white millefeuille will be one of 2017’s most talked about and most recognisable dishes. A white cube is both structured and delicate at the same time and flanked by more voatsiperifery pepper, this time in the form of foam. Breaking through the Tahitian vanilla cream you are met with thin, crisp layers separated by a light jasmine jelly – you must order it.
The dishes are imaginative, adventurous and bring together flavours that at first wouldn’t seem like they work, but Anne-Sophie has a way of weaving them together beautifully.
What We Drank: We stuck with a dry white wine – Assyrtiko from Santorini.
Go With: If you like your food simple and your flavour combinations classic, then this isn’t for you – this is for the more adventurous. You don’t want to fall at the first hurdle if you don’t like coffee-infused butter with your bread.
Final Word: With starters around £22 and main courses around £35, La Dame de Pic might not become a regular haunt, but it is well worth visiting, especially if it is a business dinner and your company is picking up the tab.