“One of the most enchanting elements of La Dame de Pic’s dining experience is the obsessive attention to detail,” wrote Sofia Tindall in Country & Town House, who encountered “gastronomic fireworks flying” at the restaurant set in the former Port of London Authority headquarters. Here, ceilings are soaring and mirrors sparkle.
Given the original restaurant is in a garden at Valence at the heart of the Rhône corridor, it seemed natural for Lüneburg-born Jan Konetzki, wine director of 10 Trinity Square and ambassador for Artémis Domaines, to focus on wines stemming from the land around the mighty river at the London sequel, itself located on the banks of another historic river – the Thames. “A vast map of the river unfolded in my mind,” says Konetzki. “From the glaciers to the Mediterranean Sea, there is so much to discover.”
Together with head sommelier Elise Mérigaud, Konetzki wants to “own the Rhône crown for the UK” at La Dame de Pic, championing Cornas, Côte- Rôtie, as well as smaller appellations like Saint-Péray. And then there are the vinous “cousins”, which reference the cépages of France when encountered elsewhere, such as John Duval’s Plexus from Barossa, a Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre blend, which is compared to the Southern Rhône.
Alongside, the sommelier team have been building an array of “beautifully nerdy and artisanal handmade wines showing the slightly wilder side of winemaking”, such as Somm In The Must Zweigelt Rescued; and Jolie- Laide Fanucchi Wood Road Vineyard Trousseau Gris from Sonoma; as well as the “rare and refined” – hence the inclusion of highly gastronomic Coteaux Champenois (Timothée Stroebel and Jacques Lassaigne), which “offers a great new story to tell”. The latter may dovetail with Cornish lamb scented with sakura leaves and tonka with seaweed and broccoli tartelette and combawa citrus, devised by Anne-Sophie Pic, who is known for marrying distinctive spices, herbs, coffee and tea. Dishes are realised by Marc Mantovani, “an enfant terrible from Maison Pic”, says Konetzki, who enjoys taking field trips with the chef, “from caviar houses to cooking omelets of foraged mushrooms over a camping gas stove in the woods”.
Meanwhile, Mei Ume, next door, is the go-to place for whole Peking duck served across two courses, first with pancakes, leeks and cucumber, then as a crispy duck salad with cherry tomatoes and juicy tonkatsu dressing. “You eat family-style here,” says Konetzki. “We have Germanic varieties, including lighter reds from Baden. We developed a non-dogmatic, highly seasonal hero drink selection, such as Sakura Bouquet sake with the Japanese cherry blossom menu, or Domaine Mittnacht Gewürztraminer Gentil made by a French husband and Japanese wife team, made to go with Japanese food.”
Score: 95.6 Value: 93 Size: 94 Range: 97 Originality: 97 Experience: 97
This piece was originally published in the 2022 Wine List Confidential guide. To pick up your copy, click here.