La Dame de Pic — London, UK
The proprietor of a handful of restaurants, a cooking school, a deli, and with a number of cookbooks to her name, it is clear that Anne-Sophie Pic – one of the few female chefs to hold three Michelin stars – does not do things by halves.
Which is why, for her first London outpost, she chose to set up shop within the grand Grade II-listed former headquarters of the Port of London Authority, now home to the new Four Seasons hotel, one of the city’s most anticipated openings.
Inside the restaurant, designer Bruno Moinard has been guided by the Beaux Arts bones of the building, dressing the original sculptural embellishments with tactile, toffee-coloured leather and tinted mirrors; while a central chandelier, designed to evoke the French card game La Dame de Pique, is a nod to the restaurant’s name.
Divided into sections – possibly to counterbalance the room’s soaring ceilings – the arrangement is arguably more isolated than intimate, all the more pleasant to savour the finer points of Pic’s elegant cooking. A concise menu celebrates her signature dishes, from ‘Berlingot’ – a light-hearted take on the tetrahedral-shaped candy – presented as delicate, triangular pasta parcels filled with gooey smoked Pélardon cheese and served with wild mushrooms; to Challans chicken, marinated in sake and dressed with hispi cabbage and diced razor clams.
These dishes form the backbone of the tasting menu – an obvious option especially when paired with matching wines, that include a few surprises such as Spanish ice cider, suggested by the informed and upbeat, leather-aproned sommelier.
Finish off with the rightfully celebrated mille-feuille, which arrives shrouded in a sweet white edible cloche, followed by a postprandial tipple in the hotel’s lobby bar under the dome of the building’s rotunda.