Summer is our favourite time of year. Fashion is bolder and brighter, while flavours of the season are lighter and zestier. And no other time of year gets chefs this excited as summer’s harvests offer a rich bounty of ingredients that taste as good as they look.
To best savour this season’s myriad of flavours, we booked seats at fine French restaurant La Dame de Pic and French patisserie-cum-gourmet restaurant Mad About Sucre to get an overall sense of both ends of Parisian dining. Here’s what we think.
La Dame de Pic
1 Beach Road, Grand Lobby, Raffles Hotel Singapore, Singapore 189673
Contact: 6412 1816
Lunch: Fridays and Saturdays | 12pm–1.45pm
Dinner: Tuesdays to Saturdays | 6.30pm–8.45pm
Opened in 2019, La Dame de Pic at Raffles Hotel Singapore is the Singapore outpost of three-Michelin-starred Maison Pic in Valance by chef Anne-Sophie Pic. She currently holds 10 Michelin stars for all her other restaurants around the world, including La Dame de Pic which just received its first star this year.
La Dame de Pic was also awarded the distinguished five-star rating in Forbes Travel Guide 2022, an accolade that that acknowledges not only her exceptional cooking, but also the enchanting beauty of the ultra-feminine restaurant that is reminiscent of her favourite colours and materials: pastel shades and natural decorative elements such as leather or wood.
Now available till September, the summer menu, curated by chef de cuisine Francesco Di Marzio, combines aromatic complexity, combinations of flavours and textures that put us in a holiday mood. Available for lunch and dinner, the seven-course Experience Menu is priced at $248++, while the eight-course Elegance Menu costs $338++.
Like many other chefs, tomatoes are a constant source of inspiration for Pic, because of the sheer variety and impressive range of flavour profiles. For the starter, the Amela Tomato features a Japanese tomato filled with creamy smoked burrata and paired with herb of grace (also known locally as chou chao) and mint sauce vierge — offering a sublime balance of textures and contrasting flavours.
Much of the produce hails from France, such as John Dory from Brittany and Pigeon from Bresse, but Di Marzio does make it a point to add some local touches and flavours to the menu. For example, the Berlingots — a dumpling dish inspired by the French hard candy — is inspired by laksa with each of the delectable pyramidal-shaped pasta parcel filled with crab consommé and accented with an aromatic blend of lemongrass, ginger and coconut milk.
To make the bright green herb coulis, made from freshly plucked Indian borage, wild pepper, holy basil and laksa leaves, the chef plucks the ingredients fresh from the hotel’s new herb garden.
The trending fish for the season, amadai (tilefish) from Yamaguchi, spots crispy deep-fried edible scales while the meat is gently pan seared, and plated with fresh lettuce, pickled pine buds and caper leaves. A delectable yellow wine beurre blanc and trout roe sauce adds a flourish to the dish.
While the pretty desserts are chock full of textures, flavours and aromas such as the signature White Mille-feuille — perfumed with earl grey tea and Kumamoto orange jelly — we also appreciate is that La Dame de Pic not only offers curated wine pairing and sake options for diners, but also has non-alcoholic tinctures that pair extremely well with the dishes.
We highly recommend ordering the Elegance Menu as it features more premium ingredients such as Mackerel and Oscietra Caviar; Blue Lobster from Brittany; or Organic Welsh Lamb, each accented with a wide array of summer greens.
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Mad About Sucre
27 Teo Hong Road, Singapore 088334
Contact: 6221 3969
Mondays to Saturdays: 12.30–10.30pm
Award-winning French patisserie Mad About Sucre is now a Pan-European restaurant that prides itself in serving only imported seasonal ingredients to embody the true philosophy of French haute cuisine.
Founded by James Tan along with siblings Eric and Lena Chan (a Le Cordon Bleu alum responsible for the decadent desserts), the shophouse restaurant sits on the sleepy end of Bukit Pasoh Road, and boasts an intimate and immersive space filled with colour and moving projections on the walls. For the summer, we are enraptured by the hypnotic visuals of summery blooms.
To celebrate the season, the culinary team has revamped the ala carte menu to include new dishes while retaining some all-time favourites such as the Stew of Tomatoes ($14), featuring three types of French tomatoes stewed for four hours, and Baked Cauliflower ($34) lathered with a thick umami-rich miso paste.
A new starter to try is the Nordic Salted Cod Katafi ($12 for a piece), a dish inspired by Brazilian codfish balls that’s filled with mashed potatoes and cured cod from Norway’s Faroe Island, then deep-fried and topped with premium caviar.
One of our favourites is the Grilled Ox Tongue ($28) from Provence — lightly grilled to a slight crisp on the surface while remaining succulent on the inside, and served with a refreshing salad of young sweet onions with honey and lemon juice.
Another exotic treat is the Wild-caught Barramundi ($39) from Papua New Guinea, a French bouillabaisse classic reinterpreted with a grilled whole fillet of wild-caught barramundi, served on top of pearl couscous simmered in a bisque of wild Nordic shellfish fragranced with preserved fennel.
I would definitely save more space for the desserts here, which consistently bag awards yearly. For summer, the cakes are disguised as fruits like mango, peaches, apples and avocado. Slice them open, and you’ll find a gluten-free treat made with fresh fruit and unprocessed raw sugar. Hey Peachy is filled with oolong tea and juicy peach cubes; Kakao (egg and dairy-free too) is dark and chocolatey with a surprise pairing of calamansi and bourbon whiskey; while Spunky (our favourite) is an uplifting mix of mango, salted caramel and vanilla.
While a dining experience at Mad About Sucre is different from what you’d expect of a typical French affair, we quite like its progressiveness and casual feel-good vibes. The bespoke cocktails, that perfectly harmonise with the current summer theme, are a pleasant surprise too!