Michelin-starred restaurants are in a league of their own when it comes to the entire dining experience – and Anne-Sophie Pic’s modern French restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square is no exception.
She is famously known for her understated creativity and ability to use complex flavours and techniques when making an elegant and simple dish. This is reflected within the entire La Dame De Pic experience.
The restaurant is kitted out with high ceilings and intricate white moulding, tall colonnades and carefully-placed mirrors. Seating is low and simple, with a few tan leather banquettes and stand-alone tables sparsely dotted about the large space. It is all quite stylish and minimalist.
There’s no need for grandeur here. Small touches make things extra special, not over the top theatrics. Like the appetisers, for instance. They’re not on the menu but are brought to your table while you’re waiting for your food to be prepared.
We delighted in the ornately designed beetroot crisps, made into flowers, as well as the madras curry waffles served with coffee cream and a bitter orange reduction. The fact that the intensely-flavoured coffee cream was a bright white colour instead of brown is such a perfect example of Pic’s skills at playing with your senses.
It’s a small difference but has a wonderful effect. Things are more than they seem on the surface here – and this will only become more apparent as your French feast continues.
One of Pic’s signature dishes, the Berlingots, is a magical journey of its own, too. Small pasta parcels are filled with a hot, farmyard-flavoured St Cera cheese. It packs a punch on its own, but is then toned down by fresh peas, bergamot foam and pea water sauce which is poured over the dish in front of you at the table.
We savoured each and every cheese-filled morsel, lamenting more and more as we got closer to finishing the dish. Mopping up the sauce with extra sourdough bread was all but mandatory.
But, before you know it, you’ve licked the plate clean and it is promptly removed by the highly attentive staff. The sommelier will then appear before you with a selection of perfectly paired wines not long before the next course arrives.
It’s all a perfectly timed dance. And what a treat the main courses are. The most luxurious option would have to be the sea bass, which comes covered in a thick Champagne foam and topped with a hefty potion of Ossetra Petrossian caviar. It is then complimented with vodka-soaked potatoes and even more caviar. Because, why not?
It is the definition of glamorous. But nothing here is done purely for the sake of it. Everything on the plate has a carefully curated purpose. The acidity of the Champagne balances out the saltiness of the caviar without overpowering the flavour of the fresh fish itself. The vodka potatoes then work to cleanse the pallet as you go in for another bite.
And even the simplest dishes, like the lamb, are brought up to another glorious level. The organic Welsh lamb is incredibly juicy. And the accompanying jus is mouthwateringly good, being light of colour but rich in flavour. This is served alongside some seasonal spring vegetables glazed with pollen butter and topped with a deep padrón pepper purée.
But the fun doesn’t end there. You’ve still got Pic’s famous MasterChef dessert to try out; the one and only mille feuille. At first, the white cube looks so very unassuming, but as soon as you crack it all open, you discover why it’s so special.
Beneath the Tahitian vanilla cream walls, lies an architectural delight of layered puff pastry and jasmine jelly. It’s all made fresh, so that the pastry stays flaky and sturdy, and the perfect cubed shape doesn’t distort. It’s simple and restrained – much like everything else.
Each element of every dish has a purpose and is just that little bit different and intriguing. You won’t be knocked back with powerful flavours and enormous portions, but you will be quietly challenged by superb food and truly impressive wine pairings.
10 Trinity Square EC3N 4AJ