La Dame de Pic is in the very swish Four Seasons Hotel just opposite the Tower of London. It opened in 2017 and is part of the restaurant empire of Anne-Sophie Pic, whose three Michelin star flagship is in Valence. La Dame de Pic was awarded a Michelin star in the 2018 guide and a second star in the 2020 guide. The head chef here now is Marc Mantovani, who, after training with Michelin-starred Bruno d’Angelis at Hotel de Europe in Avignon, worked for several years at Pic in Valence before moving here. Sylvain Goujon, who trained at three star La Pinede in St Tropez then at two -star Chabichou in Courchevel and then Pic, has headed the pastry section here since 2016. Three courses at lunch were £45 and four courses £55, while at dinner there were tasting menus from £105 - £175. For comments on the wine list, see my previous review.
A trio of canapes began the meal. Crisp laced carrot tuile with liquorice cream and coffee powder was pleasant enough but unexceptional, and did not seem to be freshly baked. Taramasalata tartlet with lemon caviar and decorative leaves suffered from a pastry shell that was a bit undercooked and doughy. Bonbon of gin cucumber and blackcurrant had a cocoa butter spherical shell, which was well enough made, but this would not have been my choice of flavours, and one could argue that the cocoa shell idea seems a little dated now (14/20 for the canapes).
Heart of beef tomato was a much better dish, flavoured with whiskey and tagette marigold flowers (which have a slight citrus taste), the tomato stuffed with burrata cow milk cheese and korerima (black cardamon). The tomato had lovely flavour and went really well with the burrata, while the citrus of the flowers and the gentle spice of the cardamon just lifted the dish nicely (17/20).
Daurenki caviar from the large supplier Petrossian was served on creamed rice pudding flavoured with sake, rose and jabara (Japanese citrus) along with lightly pickled cucumber. Daurenki caviar is a hybrid of kaluga and shassetra, a bronze egg with creamy texture. The jabara and the touch of sourness from the pickled cucumber was a good combination, but it seemed odd to combine the somewhat similar textures of rice with caviar; surely this would better with a textural contrast, whether a blini or some kind of crisp texture? (15/20). The bread incidentally, made from scratch here, was really excellent. The other starter that we tried was smoked wild pollack with marinated egg yolk, beetroot tartare, lactic vinaigrette and mint, which was good. Langoustine tails were nicely cooked but appeared to be frozen rather than cooked from live. These were served with French beans, sage dashi and absinthe pepper. The beans were carefully cooked, the dashi was good and the langoustines were tender, but they were not the very best that I have tried (15/20).
A classic Pic dish is “berlingots”, named after a pyramid-shape caramel candy. In this version they are pyramid shaped pasta parcels filed with Baron Bigod cheese, watercress and smoked pine oil. The original version at Pic uses Banon goat cheese from Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, along with matcha, bergamot, ginger and watercress. I preferred the Pic version, but these were certainly very good, the pasta having lovely texture (17/20).
Shoulder of Cornish lamb had been marinated in green chartreuse and caraway, served with pak choi and broccoli. This was very tender, the vegetables nicely balancing the richness of the meat (16/20). Mackerel was glazed and grilled, served with leeks, sherry vinegar and matcha dashi. Although the skin was charred, the mackerel itself was cooked well and had excellent flavour, with the touch of sourness from the vinegar nicely balancing the natural oiliness of the fish (16/20).
Valrhona Alpaco single origin chocolate from Ecuador was combined with cherries as well as pine buds and absinthe pepper. This was beautifully presented, a three-dimensional structure with chocolate leaves hanging off a chocolate branch, the acidity of the cherries cutting through the richness of the chocolate, the gentle touch of pepper lifting the dish to a higher level (19/20). Raspberries with chamomile, olive oil and green anise ice cream was also impressive. Coffee was the very enjoyable Brazil Yellow Bourbon from Difference Coffee. Apricot tart mignardises were also impressive – this is a really class pastry section. Service was very slick indeed, with charming staff.
The bill came to £217 per person, The cost per head will vary substantially since the menus range from £45 for three courses at lunch up to £175 for the longest tasting menu at dinner. If you opted for the shorter menu at dinner and shared a modest bottle of wine, then you may be able to eat for around £160 or so per head. La Dame de Pic presents a slick overall experience, with a superb pastry section and high-quality main courses at the meal today, somewhat let down by the canapes and some of the early dishes, which were fine but not to the same level. Still, this was certainly a very interesting experience, and actually quite tolerably priced for the food if you compare it to some other fine dining experiences in London.