PASTEL HUES La Dame de Pic’s interiors are decked out in shades of pink, and flower motifs.
TWO GRAND DAMES
Opened in partnership with celebrated chef Anne-Sophie Pic, fine-dining restaurant La Dame de Pic anchors the myriad of options at Raffles Hotel with its contemporary French cuisine and a startling similarity to the host property – both have legacies over a century old, but have embraced lighter, more contemporary styles to great effect.
In Pic’s case, it’s a culinary ancestry that stretches back to 1889, with the family restaurant, Maison Pic. Today, she has seven Michelin stars and an F&B empire that spans Paris, London, Switzerland and, now, for the first time, Singapore.
La Dame de Pic is the chef’s “most feminine” restaurant yet, with plenty of pink pastel hues, floral motifs, and metallic accents all tied together design-wise by a central chandelier with laser-cut spades – a play on the restaurant’s name, which translates as “the queen of spades”.
Dishes have a graceful levity that doesn’t conform to common understanding of French cuisine – they are light, but cleverly flavored with a myriad of herbs and spices. Butter comes spiked with sweet star anise; while turbot – one of Pic’s favourite ingredients to work with – comes with a juice-like broth of Granny Smith apples, marigold and tarragon. The acidic, slightly sweet broth smells strangely enough like a forest, and weaves in between bites of mild, meaty fish.
In fact, some kind of botanical thread seems to run through all of the dishes. Everything, from starters to the petits fours, often comes with edible floral garnishes. Even when there are no flowers on the plate, there are. Saga wagyu, faintly smoky from being cooked over coals, is served alongside beetroot ribbons fashioned into the shape of a rose.
Efforts have also been made to contextualise the restaurant. One of the signatures is Berlingots, a triangular parcel-shaped matcha pasta fi lled with goat’s cheese and served in a consomme suff used with the fragrance of herb-of-grace, a local herb that Pic found while exploring Chinatown with Labyrinth chef Han Li Guang.
LIGHTNESS OF EATING Butter and cream-heavy sauces are eschewed for broths and jus.
ON THE PLATE Dishes are constructed in startling detail, but delicately.
The drinks are also a compelling aff air. The chef has her own range of wines, made from grapes grown in the Pic family vineyards in Rhone Valley, and vinified by biodynamic winemaker Michel Chapoutier. They’ve been working together for 12 years, producing mostly single varietals like the outstanding Saint-Peray Lieu-dit Payrolles – a 100 percent marsanne that is rich, yet balanced with taut minerality and plenty of fresh acidity. Wines, though, are only the beginning. Even after over two decades in the business – Pic took control of Maison Pic in 1997 – she still finds things that excite her, sharing that while wine is still important, “the future is in non-alcoholic and non-wine pairings”. On the cards is a whole world of possibilities: juices, tea, coff ee, and even cocktails, prepared tableside.
WOMAN OF THE HOUR La Dame de Pic is also Anne-Sophie Pic’s first restaurant in Asia
NEW TO RAFFLES
So the story goes that a tiger was once found in the hotel’s Bar & Billiard Room. A different tiger – of gastronomy, that is – now holds court in the same space as BBR by Alain Ducasse opens. The restaurant will be Ducasse’s first Mediterranean grill concept, and will feature a more casual ambience with its open kitchen, sharing plates, and a buzzy bar and lounge. Anchoring the space will be its wood-fired ovens and charcoal grill, where everything from smoked-kissed mains to pizza will be turned out. BBR will also host the return of the notoriously indulgent Raffles Sunday Brunch – so keep those belts loosened.
After 17 years spent abroad building a culinary empire, celebrity chef Jereme Leung returns to Singapore (he used to head the Chinese kitchen at Four Seasons Singapore Hotel) with Yi by Jereme Leung, a contemporary Chinese restaurant. Unlike most Asian restaurants given that definition, though, Yi will see no “fusion... or East-meets-West”. Rather, Leung will be offering everything from provincial specialities to Cantonese classics and historical dishes – all refined, rethought with seasonal and healthful produce, via modern culinary techniques.
Pleasures of the flesh
For unadulterated, carnivorous indulgence, there’s the Butcher’s Block. Single source meats are on display in a glass chiller, and prepared in an open kitchen in guests’ preferred styles. There’s also a wine library with over 100 labels.
NEW WAYS TO SLING
The Singapore Sling, unfortunately, receives no small amount of derision – no thanks to its devolution in the ’80s into a saccharine, lurid-pink cocktail (don’t get us started on the pre-mixed versions) that was mostly gin, grenadine and citrus. It was a far cry from the original gin-delivery system that was a refreshing, yet decidedly grown-up combination of pineapple and lime juices, cherry brandy, Cointreau, Benedictine and bitters – said to have been created at the Raffles Hotel some time around 1915 by one Ngiam Tong Boon. Today, the property has updated the drink, making it drier, more refreshing, and with better ingredients for today’s discerning drinkers.
Fresh Pineapple Juice The tropical pineapple puts the “Singapore” in the Singapore Sling. Raffle’s new version eschews stuff from a carton for a craft version of the cocktail.
Widges Gin A London Dry produced at the award-winning Langley’s Distillery in Birmingham, England. Forward on the juniper, oranges, and cardamom, the 41.5 percent ABV gin plays well with the cherry and pineapple.
Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco Not your usual, clear Luxardo. This liqueur is a deep luxurious crimson, having been made using sour marasca cherries and aged for two years in oak.
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao “Dry” is key here. This adds an incredible citrus depth without overwhelming sweetness thanks to its aged cognac, and curacao orange base.
Scrappy’s ‘Spice Plantation’ Bitters Organic bitters, made exclusively for Raffles. The flavours are inspired by Singapore’s history of spice production, and feature plenty of nutmeg, mace and cloves.
Crawley’s ‘Singapore Sling’ Grenadine Another component exclusive to Raffles. This Australian-made grenadine has just pomegranate juice, cane sugar and natural colours for the Sling’s iconic pink hue.
Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Not the neon-red, chemically flavoured maraschinos one finds in a dive bar, but the intense, dark-coloured gems from the stalwart Luxardo.
ALL YOUR OLD FRIENDS
Meanwhile, many of the iconic mainstays of the property remain – with fresh coats of paint both literal and figurative. The 127-year-old Tiffin Room continues to delight with its North Indian delicacies, now with a fresh look and wooden floorboards restored from the early 1900s. Out in the lobby, Raffles’ classic afternoon tea awaits, with all the quintessentials like scones, finger sandwiches, and perhaps a cheeky spot of champagne. The Long Bar will also return, with the same peanut shell policy (for the uninitiated: you can throw them on the floor willy-nilly) and a refreshed recipe for the Singapore Sling. Drinkers with proclivities for the written word will also be glad to know that the Writers Bar returns, now with a full-fledged bar with a craft cocktail programme.
TEXT WEETS GOH