Anne-Sophie Pic is bit of a chef legend that has created her own legacy, cemented in modern French cookery. She moves away from heavy cream and butter laden sauces synonymous with French dishes, into light, more elegant styles, with lots of infusions. Her family history isn’t shy of provenance either, as her father and grandfather both achieved three stars at their family restaurant in Valence. She too was awarded three stars of her own there in 2007, helping the restaurant regain their 3rd star after losing it in 1995, which was the same year her father passed away. This spurred her on to do big things. Her repertoire isn’t short of big names such as Maison Pic, Restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic in Lausanne, La Dame de Pic in Paris and now La Dame de Pic in London. Sounds like I’m blowing wind up her tunnel, I am, deservedly. She wasn’t in the restaurant when we dined there, but our waitress spoke of her fondly, embodying her aura which we felt!
The decor is lavish, really, really lavish – being here definitely gives you a sense of occasion, a deluxe one at that.
A la carte and a lunch menu is available when we arrived for 2pm. My dinner companion is looking enraptured when reading Anne-Sophie Pic’s menu.
Chef’s negroni and a mescal negroni – both were well crafted.
Amuse bouche of tapioca crisp.
Butter with stout was served at room temperature, so slathering was made easy.
Brown and white sour dough – there is so much to love about warm bread, especially when it comes with the crispiest crust and a chewy centre. And when the basket is empty, they bring more, no questions asked. The stuff was so hard to resist, especially with the stout infused butter.
Another amuse bouche they call ‘The Garden” was a delicate composition of a ragu mushrooms, pickled mushrooms, a crumble of cacao & hazelnut, cream of camomile Royale, quinoa crisp and pistachio sponge. I’ve covered a lot road over the years, eating stunning amuse bouches’ along the way, but this one firmly tattoo’s itself in my memory – it’s seriously evocative to look at and to eat. The play on the texture, taste and technique really gets the palate going, especially when a pop of chocolatey cacao comes in un-expectantly!
Scottish langoustine seared in shellfish butter, with heirloom carrots, bouillon infused with pine tree buds and geranium £28. I’ve never known a langoustine dish steal my heart and if it wasn’t for our maitre’d recommending it, I wouldn’t ordered it! What you get is the most intensely sweet langoustine and an aromatic bouillon that has hours of respect put into it – I could really tell by tasting it. It was a magnificent piece of work.
“Scottish scallop with a smoke beetroot rose with grapefruit, Batak pepper and hibiscus emulsion £33”. I think the menu under played how fascinating and cohesive this dish actually was. The scallop carpaccio was as sweet as can be, married well with the smoked eel ice-cream and the salty caviar – the whole dish was a mighty fine one.
Onto the the main
Our waitress recommended a glass of Saint-Joseph Cuvée du Papy £15 and boy did it go well with the next course.
“Venison and foie gras pithiviers, likoula pepper, lemon Meyer with Nikka whisky and crispy autumn salad £43”. Seemingly, it’s the theme of the restaurant to be covert in the sheer amount of skill that goes into making their dishes. This plate is no exception – the venison, cooked to a perfect medium is kept moist with little cubes of lardo and the foie’s decadence is made even more so when all of the ingredients are expertly wrapped in cabbage, keeping all the juices within. This is Jedi level pastry cookery, so therefore we had to accept the hefty price tag that came with it. But I’m ok with that.
The side of crispy autumn salad of Jerusalem artichoke purée, Jerusalem artichoke crispy leaf, radish, black truffle and crispy spinach leaf was special too.
The meal was hefty so fitting desserts in was a tall-order, but we couldn’t resist a look.
To help us celebrate 200 Grubstance posts – the kitchen were so kind to gift us a tarragon infused lemon tart, fenced with cigarette butt shaped meringue, permeated with Batak pepper, sitting nicely on a disc of buttery short bread. It did of course have its own wax plinth embossed with decorated white chocolate. It was a shining moment and a testament to the chef’s magnificent pastry skills.
We didn’t care about the blue tac.
To complete the meal we had the lightest of petit fours I’ve experienced – marshmallow studded with a dainty blob of green chatreuese and apple.
A huge shout out goes to the maitre’d that took us for a little tour of where all the magic is created.
When did I go? Dec 2018
The damage: Expect to pay £130 per head with drinks
The good: Anne-Sopie Pic is a culinary icon that truly deserves a bit of a fuss. Not only the food but the end to end experience and everything besides, rendered us speechless. The menu is intuitive but the technique and the grandiose effort that goes into the dishes is relentless. My fawning might seem a bit OTT, but try it for yourself and see.
The bad: There’s not a lot to complain about
Would I go again? I dream of doing so.
Address: Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square, 10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ